We visited Fahrettin Demir, the successful name in realistic tattoo style who can use the body as if it’s a canvas, at Pin Tattoo Gallery.
Hi Fahrettin, most recently you hosted us at Pin Tattoo Gallery’s first year party. We liked the studio a lot then too and now we got more chance to look around, everything looks very pleasant.
Thank you, I am glad you like it. It turned out to be unusual. I wanted a concept where the tattoo studio coexisted with the art gallery. The studio already had painting exhibitions continuously. As you know, we hold special exhibitions and parties occasionally.
You are a graduate of Anadolu University Faculty of Fine Arts. How did you get into tattoo business? How did you start doing tattoos?
I have been a student for 8 years and I have not graduated yet and do not plan to either 🙂 I started the tattoo thing when I was a student at the painting department. My cousin Oktay used to go to Ankara frequently to get tattoos done. The tattoos he got done were usually bad tattoos. As far as I remember, I always liked tattoos. Later I told my Oktay bro to by a machine together instead of spending all this money on tattoos and I will make tattoos for you as much as you want. I started doing tattoos this way.
What year did you start in?
It was the beginning of 2009, it has been 8 years.
Well then, how is your story about moving from Eskişehir to Istanbul?
When I was in Eskişehir, I used to hear about a tattoo artist. Whoever I ran into, I used to see a tattoo by Cemil Uzun. Later on, through common friends we became friends on Facebook. Cemil brother had moved to Istanbul at the time, working at a tattoo studio. He told me during the summer of 2010; come over here, there is a lot of work during the summer season, I can’t keep up, let’s work together. It sounded very logical to me as well. Previously, I had never seen a professional tattoo studio. I accepted thinking that I could earn money and at the same time hang around and develop my manual dexterity. So, I arrived at Istanbul to work for a few months. Once I was there, I could not return to Eskişehir again and my studies were left unfinished a result 🙂 it’s good that I have acted such 🙂
As far as we know, you received awards at different international tattoo conventions, could you elaborate a little on these?
I received the “Best of Show and Best of Portrait” awards in 2012 at the first convention I participated in (Istanbul Tattoo Convention) and the following year I had received the “Best of Healed” award. In 2013, I had gone to the Amsterdam Tattoo Convention and Berlin Tattoo Convention, however I experienced bad luck and my own callowness. In Berlin, my customer could not attend due to their child’s sickness and I got wasted 🙂
In 2014, I received the “Best of Sunday” award at the Brussels Tattoo Convention. It was the best organization I had participated in and we had lots of fun. In 2015, I had gone to Rio Tattoo Week in Rio and it ended up with lots of beautiful memories and friendships for me. And this year we went to the Amsterdam Tattoo Convention as Pin Tattoo Gallery and again bad luck found me. After starting the tattoo I had prepared myself for, the person I was doing the tattoo on could not bear the pain after 2 hours and we had to stop halfway. Nevertheless, we believe it contributed a lot to us.
When did Pin Tattoo Gallery start exactly?
I opened up Pin Tattoo Gallery in 2015. Initially we started as a very small group and now we have a very successful team.
As far as we see, you are a big group. Who else is on the team?
Together with Sinan Şahin, Onur Zafer, Fırat Kurtkan, Alev Sarı and our manager, Oktay Taşpınar we are 6 people. Sinan and I met each other in Brazil. Fırat and Alev are already my friends from Eskişehir Anadolu. Onur, on the other is from Marmara Painting.
We heard that new people will be joining the team.
Yes, things are moving well and very talented well-known names in the illustration community are joining the team. Şerif Karasu joined and Hüseyin Özkan will also join. Our team will expand and get beautiful, hooray 😀
As you also know, large number of tattoo artists has gone abroad from Turkey. Do you also have a plan to expand abroad?
In fact, in 2014 I had such a desire and made a decision to move to Denmark and had an unfortunate adventure that lasted for 6 months. As a result, I returned Istanbul after getting ripped off. At this point I still have plans for abroad however instead of going and working somewhere, I want to pursue going somewhere with more means and open up a studio and continue on. Until this is realized, we will be participating in tattoo conventions and we will decide on the place we like the most as guest artists and settle there. I don’t want to settle by making a final decision like it was done in Denmark. It was an important lesson for me.
We know you as one of the leaders in realistic style of tattoo in Turkey. How do you define your own style?
I love playing with colors and color games. I experiment with hyperrealism and also surrealism. And sometimes by using mass colors I create form with pentur flavor. In fact, it depends on my spiritual state at a given time. Anyway, style changes in time, it settles and then changes again. In short, we can say it is realism with color. Naturally, I do black and white work occasionally as well.
Who else, other than you, do realistic tattoo in Turkey?
Reşat Gül, Sinan Şahin, Onur Zafer, Fırat Kurtkan, Alev Sarı, Engin Koç, Mert Mutluer, Recep Altunkılıç, Okan Timur Doğan do. There are some newcomers who do a good job but I cannot recall them all and please forgive me if I missed any.
In regard to the subject of tattoo where does Turkey stand?
In a very interesting spot 🙂 Both bad and also very good. Always in extremes, there is no middle. For example when we look at the world, Turkey produced many successful names in illustration work. However it lags in other styles. I see the reason as such; for example someone who wants to develop himself/herself in the realistic sense, needs technique, infrastructure, labor and materials more. The tattoo materials in our country is quite more expensive in comparison to abroad and variety is not available as it is abroad. So naturally, it is easier to create a combination comprised of black ink and 5 liner and keeping busy. When this is fed by the modern trends rising worldwide lately, minimal/lineal tattoos have skyrocketed. However, I don’t believe this period will last long. According to me, it is something like the tribal tattoo in the 90’s and will go out of fashion. This does not mean lineal work is bad. I have good friends who engage in this style and they are very successful in their work. There are so many talented people in our country however worldwide impact cannot get achieved due to only lack of opportunities and foolish egos.
What do you see as the most popular trend in the world currently?
Lineal, geometric and cute tattoos are very fashionable nowadays. When you take a look, the world is developing very well in terms of realistic tattoo as well. Brand new names are emerging. For example, the Russians are a legend.
Ok, who are the tattoo artists you appreciate in the world?
I believe Dmitriy Samohin to be the best tattoo artist ever. However, nowadays it deteriorated somewhat, I don’t know the reason or maybe that’s how I perceive but I have utmost respect. Denis Sivak, O’kharin, Valentina Ryabova, Den Yakovlev, Nikko Hurtado are some of the others.
Has there been some names who inspired you before you started tattoo?
Of course, there were. I used to follow a few of the aforementioned names already with admiration. Painters and illustrators outside of him that I was inspired by; for example, I like Phil Hale a lot and Michael Hussar, Sergey Kolesov, Gottfried Helnwein, Salvador Dali, John Singer Sargent are the others that come to my mind now.
When someone wants tattoo done by you, how does the process of getting a tattoo progresses?
If it is in Istanbul, first I invite the person to the studio. We conduct the initial discussion concerning the tattoo they want to get done. I get the information. We talk about the location for the tattoo. I take photos of the location from different angles. If the person does not have a visual then we talk about what kind of thing he/she wants. I have standard questions and ask those. For example, the person who first looks at your tattoo what should he/she see and feel? I ask if it is going to be colored or black and white. Nowadays I try not to do too many black and white, I don’t enjoy it much. Later on we move on to the design phase. I create a collage from the photos. We continue as such.
What do you suggest to people who want to get tattoos done for the first time?
The biggest problem is that people do not know what style of tattoo they want to get done. Primarily, they need to determine the style they will wear and then find the most appropriate artist to do the tattoo with that style. For example, I have some people come to me and ask for lineal work. First they need to know what they want accurately. They should not just say I want a tattoo and show up. Also, do not get very little tattoos done. They look like birth marks from a distance of 10 meters 😀
Which materials do you use?
I use Inkjecta Nano as a machine. Power source is Critical. I get the needles from Dragon. I like Eternal the most as paint. I use all, Fusion, Intenze etc. However my choice in black is Dynamic.
Finally, we would like to hear one of your interesting tattoo stories you have experienced?
One day a woman came in. She wanted to get her tattoo covered. “fu*k me” was written just above her hips. She said that it could be seen underneath of her pants when she bent over. It caused her discomfort among people. I covered it once.
Another time, when I first arrived at Istanbul, a woman around 70 came in. She said, “I want to get my husband’s name written, today is our fiftieth wedding anniversary”. I asked her, “Where do you want it to be”? She said, “It has to be a place to get him feel excited, I want our love life to be livened up a little.” In the end, we decided to have her husband’s name written near her nipple.
We thank you a lot. It was a very pleasant conversation. We expect you for a cup of coffee at TATUMAG very soon.
I thank you. See you.
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