For millennia the indigenous people who were making tattoos were also practicing shamanism, the oldest human spiritual religion. They allowed us to gain a glimpse of a culture that connected tattoo, ritual, religion, myth, and nature. Today many people are getting tattoos, age or career is no longer relevant. Some of them get inked for the aesthetic reasons, some use body as a diary of important events, others wants to have a work of their favorite artist. I look at tattooing as spiritually uplifting and empowering process. With all my respect for the ones, who started - I'm happy to continue the tradition of magic tattoos.
From the peaceful shamanic tents the art of tattooing moved to the cities, to the tattoo shops, and today we have all kinds of different styles, techniques, as well as attitudes towards tattoos and that's great. Each of us can chose what suits personal desires and needs.
Shaltmira tattoos a medicine student at INK INC studio in Puebla, Mexico. 2017
TATTOOING IS A RITUAL
When it came to their tattoos – the Aztecs were by far the most advanced in design and artwork. At a time when other cultures were merely tattooing rudimentary designs, the Aztec culture had developed incredible patterns with depth and detail on a massive scale. This devotion to body artwork comes heavily from the basis of the culture, which focused on tradition, education, and the arts.
The Aztecs took tattooing to a new level. Similar to the those tribes of Ancient Briton, the Aztecs were proud of their body art and created intricate, dazzling designs that still appear in modern tattoo culture to this day. But unlike the Ancient Britons, who tattooed for many reasons – including battle pride, worshipping, and recreational activities – the Aztecs’ tattoos had one sole purpose: ritual.
Each deity had its own specific symbolic pattern which helped attribute to the worshipping factor of the ritual. In addition to individual styles, each and every tattoo placement was well thought out, with every location on the body holding its own ritualistic meaning.
It is very interesting now to be in Mexico and get to know more about it, as well as inking ancient symbols and drawings.
These tattoos I did at INK INC tattoo studio in Mexico.
GUESTS' SPOTS & TATTOO SHOPS
Some tattoo artists work at tattoo shops, some at home and others like to travel a lot. Though while working in tattoo studio you can get tips from other tattoo artists and also trade tattoos! Last summer I've been living and working in Berlin, tattooing at Amor De Madre Tattoo Studio. This year I am working at INK INC. And recently visited Bogota, Colombia and been tattooing at Dr.Calavera's. As for self-taught tattoo artist I found it very useful to spend some months in tattoo shops, I learnt things this way much faster than it would have taken to discover on my own.
Dr.Calavera Tattoo Studio in Bogota, Colombia, where I was tattooing earlier this year.
Maybe because of my magical approach towards tattoos - I really like to tattoo at my home studio. Let me describe it, imagine... So here we meet, a tattoo artist and you, a client. But I prefer to call you my New Friend. We spent time discussing your tattoo online and now we are ready to do it. I play some music, binaural beats or techno, whatever we feel like into, and you can smell the incense burning. I'm a big fan of copal. Copal incense is one of the oldest forms of energy clearing. Using copal is one of the best methods for energetically cleansing the space. There's no hurry. We have a chat, a drink of choice and then, when feeling comfortable, start the ritual of tattooing. We can have as many pauses as we need. Then, when tattoo is finished, we take pictures, laugh and feel how this experience was both bonding and energizing. We smile. We know we have a connection for life. Do you feel it? Haha
In tattoo shop time is more limited, because tattoo artist has a long list of appointments. One session is maximum 5 hours. Luckily, whenever I was working - it was all great experiences and it taught me a lot of discipline, as well as other artists' tattooing 'tricks'. One of my favorite tattoo shop of all times is the one I work at now - INK INC, here in Mexico. In the picture above you can see me and my friend Mario, who already has 4 tattoos done by me! We stand in front of the mural I did at INK INC shop at Dr.Mora 9. It's called 'The Return of Santa Muerte', all done with acrylic markers. Feel free to visit and have a look yourself, it's huge! I'm happy to work with people, who appreciate 'out of the frame' art, like my boss at INK INC tattoo shop, he showed the green light and funded the mural and we even talked about expansion in the future! How cool is that?!
In the end, you need to answer for yourself: what you prefer? What kind of experience are you seeking? If you have clear idea and want get things done fast - go to tattoo shop. If you want more one-on-one experience with the tattoo artist, magical atmosphere, flexible hours - I would recommend the artist's studio.
Most of us practice the magic on a daily basis. How? The fact that most people on Earth know how to write or speak a language is a proof! Did you know that each letter of the English language was created using sacred geometry? Or maybe you are familiar with Gematria? A Kabbalistic method of interpreting the Hebrew scriptures by computing the numerical value of words, based on those of their constituent letters.
When our subconscious mind hears words phrased in a way that seems positive, it does its utmost to make sure we bring that idea into our lives. Every day we create the most powerful spells that will determine our future. Once we become aware of this - we can literally harness the power of words to transform our lives.
Words are magic spells. The way we phrase or use words create our future and getting a lettering tattoo is a chance for growth and empowerment.
From traditional to experimental fonts - options are unlimited.
NEVER TOO OLD
I have tattooed many older people, first was my 60+ year uncle. Don't listen to outdated stereotypes - it's never too late to do anything!
FIXING AND COVERING OLD TATTOOS
Sometimes we change our minds, change our lives and feel like old tattoo no longer represents our inner reality. Or maybe you still like it, but want it to look more fresh - it is time for a change - tattoo update!
Some old tattoos can be fixed, some new meanings could be added. But sometimes it's better to do new, bigger tattoo on top. If you have similar questions - feel free to send me an email, adding photo with your tattoo and we can discuss the best solution for your case.
Each tattoo artist has a bunch of tattoo designs waiting for their owner. Sometimes it has happens, that you see a drawing and immediately feel the connection. Lots of times people told me, that they felt as if my drawing was meant to be tattooed for them. Feel free to ask me if I have any new tattoo designs or check out TATTOO DESIGNS gallery here, on my website.
COMMISSIONED TATTOO DESIGN
You were thinking about getting a tattoo, but you don't want to have something you saw on internet, or what is now trending. You want something special, something what has a meaning for you, what represents you, stands for what you believe - then it's time to reach out to the tattoo artist and ask to create unique personal tattoo design. Even if I am far away from you and can not do the tattoo myself - you can hire me to create a unique tattoo design and then go to your favorite local artist to get it inked.
How it works? I will ask you to describe me your ideas and visions, or if it is still blurry in your mind - you can give me some keywords, for example: time, key, journey, geometry etc, and using them I will create the drawing. We will discuss the best size, location and before seeing the final version of your tattoo design - you will be able to have a look at the work in progress.
How much it costs? Depending on size and complexity the price can vary from 100 to 500+ dollars. For additional fee I would draw the tattoo design with ink on paper and later will send you the original artwork via traditional mail. Or, if it is digitally created tattoo design - I can send you the big resolution image via email - so you can print it and frame it, hang it on the wall or put on your magic altar - up to you!
An example of commissioned tattoo design. Work in progress and final design, turned into the illustration.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TATTOO SESSION?
A: Make sure you are well rested, well hydrated, and have eaten recently. Aside from that, take a shower, charge your phone.
Q: WHAT TATTOO MACHINE YOU USE?
A: LaceNANO! I pre-ordered it soon after it was invented and been using it all of the time! I love it and recommend it for those, who work with precision, thin lines and small details. The inventor, Peter, now is my friend and supports my work, so happy! Go check it out, it’s future: www.lacenano.com
Q: DOES GETTING A TATTOO HURT?
A: The tattooing process requires the application of pigment under the first epidermal layer of the skin. Receiving a tattoo is a painful process, but each of us have different tolerance for pain. The larger the tattoo - the longer it will take to do, so small tattoos hurt less. But remember, people wouldn't get a second tattoo if the first one hurt that bad.
At the moment I'm tattooing in Mexico City, at INK INC tattoo studio, where you and also find a huge mural I've done recently.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET SHALTMIRA’S TATTOO?
A: The cost varies on the size of the tattoo, the complexity, and where you put it on your body. My prices start at $50.00 (for a symbol, sigil) and go up from there. For example, for big tattoos I charge 100$/hour. Feel free to send me an email with your idea and I will tell you more precisely. Tattoo shops have their prices, and usually takes 50% from the tattoo price you pay, leaving the rest for the artist. So if you are getting tattooed at the shop - ALWAYS tip the artist!
Q: HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NEW TATTOO?
-Leave bandage on for 3-5 hours.
-Remove bandage, wash with warm water & soap, pat dry.
-Apply Bepanten+ (healing cream) 3 times a day.
-Stay out of chlorine pools, salt water, and only minimum sun exposure while tattoo is healing.
-DON'T PICK AT SCAB. Tattoos will heal in 10-15 days.
THE MOST PAINFUL SPOTS
Getting tattooed in an area where your bones are closer to the surface of your skin (your foot, ankle, knee, ribs, etc) could be more unpleasant than a meatier part of the body. It doesn't necessarily hurt more, but many people don't like the “tapping” feeling of being tattooed over bone. However, I did an experiment with my friend, and first time tattooed the very unusual spots, inside of the belly button and the nipple. Check the videos below to see his reaction!
Q: WILL IT FADE?
A: I use the highest quality pigments found in the industry, but if you spend lots of time in the sun, or have specific skin condition, it will fade. Tattoos fade with time as your skin is changing and renewing constantly. Those who say that tattoos don’t fade are simply trying to impress you for commercial purposes. Usually after a while you might want to refresh your tattoo. Sometimes tattoos crack, specially in areas which bend, also fingers' and hands' tattoos need repetitive sessions, till they finally settles in. But good news are here - if you ever got a tattoo from me - I'll fix it and refresh it for you for free.
Q: CAN I BRING MY OWN DESIGN?
A: Just about any design you can think of can be made into a beautiful tattoo. Feel free to show me all the images that inspire you and tell me all the ideas you have. After careful examination of your inner real I will be able to create the most suitable tattoo for you. If you already know what you want and want this idea to be inked by me - great! I'm honored, but have in mind, that I give priority for my own created tattoo designs. If you want to get something that anybody can do - why you come to me? If you come to me - you must be craving for something special!
Q: CAN YOU FIX MY OLD TATTOO?
A: Old tattoos can be fixed or reworked into a fresh (although larger) work of art.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL AFTER A TATTOO?
A: The majority of your new tattoos healing process will be done within the first two weeks. However, the skin is still working to heal and rejuvenate and you need to plan on a 4-6 weeks for your skin to be back to its previous state.
Q: WHY DO TATTOOS START TO ITCH WHILE HEALING?
A: As the skin rejuvenates itself, usually about a week after the tattoo was done, the itch sets in. This is normal. Good moisturizers will help immensely with this. If lotion isn’t helping, run it under cold water for a few moments and you should be itch free. Do not scratch!
Q: WHY DO YOU REQUIRE DEPOSITS?
A: I will have hours of work, drawing and preparing for a tattoo before you sit down in my chair. Deposits help to ensure you will make it to your appointment and that I haven’t done hours of work for nothing.
Q: SHOULD I TIP?
A: You should ALWAYS tip those who provide services for you. Whether it’s your hairstylist or waiter - if they provide you a service you should tip them. This includes your tattoo artist as well.