STILIAN SMOKOV "Drawings-to-wear"

Page 1




4


5



SMOKOV Publishing Sofia 2011


4


5


stilian smokov DRAWINGS TO WEAR First edition Publisher Smokov 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria, 1 Yuri Venelin str. www.smokov.com Design, photography, copy and editing oh yeah: design collective 1404 Sofia, Bulgaria, 6 Major Pavel Pavlov str. www.ohyeahdesign.com Copyright Š Stilian Smokov, autor, 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage or retrieval systems without written permission from the author and the publisher. Reviewers may quote brief passages and use partial previews. ISBN: 978-954-92781-1-8 A catalog copy of this book may be found in the National Library, Sofia, Bulgaria. Special thanks to all photographers and models not mentioned by name, who have made this book possible.



4


5


I

I BELONG TO THE FIRST GENERATION OF TATTOO ARTISTS IN MY HOMELAND, BULGARIA. I GREW UP IN THE 1980S WHEN TATTOOS WERE NOT ON THE LIST OF THINGS TO DO TO LOOK GOOD. IN FAIRNESS, I SHOULD SAY TATTOOS WERE NOT AMONG THE THINGS TO DO AT ALL. TATTOOS WERE AGAINST THE BULGARIAN NATIONAL TRADITION, AND FROWNED UPON BY THE AUTHORITIES. A TATTOO WAS SURE TO GET YOU IN TROUBLE, JUST AS HAVING LONG HAIR, WEARING TIGHT JEANS AND OTHER STUFF COMING FROM THE DECADENT WEST. BUT THERE’RE SOME THINGS YOU JUST CAN’T FIGHT. LIKE THE WORDS “LET THERE BE ROCK”. WELL, THERE INDEED WAS ROCK AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE. BACK THEN, MY FRIENDS AND I HAD IDOLS AND THEY WERE ALL ROCK STARS. AND, THEY ALL HAD TATTOOS. THEY WERE ON THE LOW RES BOOTLEG TRADING CARDS THAT PASSED FROM HAND TO HAND. YOU CAN’T EVEN START TO IMAGINE MY FASCINATION WITH THEM, CONSIDERING THAT BACK THEN OTHER THAN A HEAVY METAL FAN I WAS A STUDENT AT THE ART SCHOOL IN TROYAN. I WAS DRAWING ALL THE TIME: STILL-LIFE AND HUMAN BODY IN CLASS AND IN MY FREE TIME SKULLS AND DRAGONS ON THE BACK PAGES OF TEXTBOOKS AND NOTEBOOK COVERS. IN MY DREAMS FOR 4


THE FUTURE I USED TO PICTURE MYSELF AS A GRAPHIC NOVEL ARTIST OR A MOVIE POSTER PAINTER. THAT WAS UNTIL I DISCOVERED TATTOOS AND REALIZED HOW FULL OF LIFE AND BEAUTY THEY CAN BE. I COULDN’T IMAGINE MYSELF DOING ANYTHING ELSE ANYMORE. AFTER I FINISHED SCHOOL I WENT TO THE ARMY AS EVERYONE MY AGE HAD TO. THERE I PAINTED ON HUMAN SKIN FOR THE FIRST TIME. I DID! AND MORE THAN ONCE TOO! I WAS SORT OF THE REGIMENT’S FULL-TIME TATTOOIST. I WAS USING A CLASSIC TECHNIQUE – THREE OR FIVE NEEDLES TIED TOGETHER WITH A STRING AND DRAWING INK FROM THE STATIONERY STORE. IT MAKES ME LAUGH TO REMEMBER THE SUBJECTS OF THOSE FIRST TATTOOS. ANYWAY, I WAS GETTING BETTER WITH PRACTICE AND EVEN GOT PAID FOR DOING IT! ALL THIS LASTED FOR A GOOD YEAR AND A HALF AND I WAS STILL TO SEE A REAL MACHINE-MADE TATTOO. IT WAS A TIME OF CHANGE, THE FALL OF THE OLD SYSTEM LIFTED THE TABOOS OF THE PAST. THERE WAS A POWERFUL CULTURAL EXPLOSION. SO STRONG THAT FORBIDDEN LIFESTYLES AND UNDERGROUND CULTURE, SECRET TILL THEN, ERUPTED INTO THE LIGHT. SO DID 5


I. I HAD DECIDED TO DO TATTOOS FOR A LIVING. I WAS FULL OF COMMITMENT, AVIDLY SEEKING INFORMATION. THIS LED TO A POINT WHERE I WAS INTRODUCED TO RUMEN “THE FAT” FROM DOBRICH. HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON I SAW MAKE TATTOOS WITH AN ELECTRIC MACHINE AND I WAS SO EXCITED! I WAS ALSO A CLUELESS NEWBIE, SO HE HELPED ME CHOOSE MY FIRST EQUIPMENT - BASIC, BUT PERFECT IN MY EYES, WHICH ARRIVED IN 1993 AFTER SIX LONG MONTHS OF WAITING. WHEN I FINALLY HAD MY MACHINE I LITERALLY STEPPED ON THE PEDAL - I FIRST TATTOOED MY FRIENDS, THEN THEIR FRIENDS, THEN FRIENDS OF THEIR FRIENDS AND SO ON TILL IT WAS NEARLY HALF THE PEOPLE IN MY HOMETOWN OF SHUMEN. NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO MENTION HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE THE SUPPORT OF MY FAMILY WHICH CONTINUES TO THIS DAY. MY PARENTS, TO WHOM I OWE MY TALENT, NURTURED MY INTEREST AND HELPED ME THROUGH ART SCHOOL. THEY DID THE SAME FOR MY YOUNGER BROTHER KALOIAN – A WELLKNOWN TATTOOIST NOW AND MY PARTNER IN SMOKOV TATTOO - THE ONLY PERSON WHOSE PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT I TRUST WITHOUT QUESTION. DURING THE YEARS I SPENT WORKING IN SHUMEN, TATTOO STUDIOS WERE 4


5


4


5


POPPING UP IN ALMOST EVERY MAJOR CITY IN BULGARIA. WE WERE SET TO EXPLORE A PROVOCATIVE NEW UNIVERSE. OUR COMMUNITY WAS TAKING SHAPE AND THE FIRST TATTOO FESTIVALS WERE ORGANIZED. MY FIRST AWARDS ENCOURAGED ME TO TRY MY SKILLS IN THE BIGGER GAME - THE IMMENSE, DIVERSE AND EVER-CHANGING WORLD OF TATTOOS THAT I KNEW WAS OUT THERE. IN 1999 I TOOK THE CHANCE TO CONTACT ALEX NARDINI OF TATTOO PLANET IN ITALY, WHOSE WORK I ADMIRED FROM THE PAGES OF MAGAZINES. I SENT HIM A LETTER WITH A COUPLE OF MY DRAWINGS AND I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY LUCK WHEN I GOT HIS ANSWER AND AN INVITATION TO TAKE PART IN THE BARCELONA TATTOO CONVENTION ALONGSIDE HIM. I LEFT WITH GREAT HOPE AND A MODEST PORTFOLIO AND BROUGHT HOME MY FIRST INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. ALEX WAS THE MAN WHO OPENED UP A WHOLE NEW WORLD FOR ME, AND SHOWED ME EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW TO MAKE MY OWN WAY. I VISITED HIM SEVERAL MORE TIMES AND AFTER A WHILE HE ASKED ME TO WORK IN HIS STUDIO IN SAN REMO. I GLADLY ACCEPTED AND WORKED IN TATTOO PLANET FOR THE NEXT NINE YEARS. ALEX TAUGHT ME ALL THE BASICS OF TATTOOING, FROM THE SIMPLE LINES 4


AND SHADOWS, AND NEVER TRIED TO HOLD BACK A PIECE OF HIS SKILL AND CRAFTSMANSHIP AND MAKE ME LEARN IT THE HARD WAY. DURING THAT TIME I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY AND PLEASURE TO WORK WITH MARCUSE IN SMILIN’ DEMONS TATTOO IN MANNHEIM, GERMANY, LAURO AT LAURO TATTOO IN REGGIO EMILIA, ITALY, ANGELO AT QUETZAL TATTOO IN MILAN, ITALY. PRACTICE AS THEIR VISITING TATTOOIST TAUGHT ME SO MUCH MORE. LITTLE BY LITTLE, I STARTED TO UNDERSTAND THOSE OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO REFUSE TO GET STUCK IN ONE PLACE,UNABLE TO RESIST THE FASCINATION OF NOMAD LIVING. ON THE OTHER HAND, AFTER SPENDING THOSE YEARS ABROAD, FULL OF WORK AND LEARNING, I WAS BEGINNING TO MISS A PLACE THAT FEELS LIKE HOME, EVEN IF IT WAS ONLY TO BE A PLACE TO COME BACK TO FROM MY JOURNEYS. I SET UP MY NEW STUDIO, SMOKOV TATTOO IN SOFIA, BULGARIA, TOGETHER WITH MY BROTHER KALOIAN IN THE FALL OF 2009 AND SINCE THEN WE ARE DOING OUR THING BOTH AT HOME AND WITH FRIENDS ALL OVER THE PLACE. TO TELL THE TRUTH, I AM NOT MUCH INTO REFLECTING ON THE MERITS OF VARIOUS STYLES, TRENDS AND FADS IN TATTOOS. I LIKE ALMOST ALL GENRES 5


4


- I THINK THERE’S ALWAYS THE RIGHT TATTOO FOR THE RIGHT PERSON. I SEE THE PROFESSIONAL TATTOO ARTIST AS A GOOD TAILOR, CUTTING AND SEWING FOR THE PERFECT FIT - THIS IS TECHNIQUE. BUT THERE ARE ALSO INTUITION, EXPERIENCE AND INSPIRATION – THE ARTIST’S ABILITY TO BOOST PERSONALITIES, TO HIGHLIGHT SOME FEATURES AND HIDE OTHERS IN A DISTINCT AND AESTHETICALLY PLEASING WAY. THIS IS CALLED STYLE. IT IS SOMETHING COMPLEX, IT BUILDS OVER THE YEARS, COMES WITH PRACTICE, DRAWS UP THE OTHERS AND GROWS, UNCERTAIN BUT INTOXICATING, SWELLING, TWISTING OUT OF SHAPE AND FORMING UNTIL IT’S SOMETHING THAT YOU LIKE AND CAN CALL YOUR OWN. I LEAVE IT TO CRITICS AND ART THEORISTS TO TRY AND EXPLAIN IT. FOR ME IT IS JUST A PART OF WHO I AM AND I’M CALLING IT THE SMOKOV-STYLE, BROTHER! THIS FIRST ALBUM OF MINE COLLECTS A SMALL PART OF WHAT I DID FOR THE PAST DOZEN YEARS - SKETCHES, PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS THAT WILL STAY ON, EVEN IN THE GRAVE!

5


4


DRAWINGS

I HAVE A COLLECTOR’S PASSION FOR TATTOOS – I LIKE A PIECE OF ART FOR ITS BEAUTY – IT IS ALL ABOUT THE ACTUAL DRAWING, NOT ABOUT THEORIES. IT JUST HAS TO BE BEAUTIFUL IN THE END. AND YOU WANT IT TO BE BEAUTIFUL SO BADLY, THAT YOUR EYES CAN’T GET ENOUGH AND YOUR HAND CAN’T STOP DRAWING.

5


4


5


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.