Gülşah Karaca working in an extraordinary tattoo studio among her cactuses with solar energy.
You have a white studio which we are not familiar with, full of cactuses breaking the darkness of tattoo world. Where does your interest in cactuses come from?
I had always wanted to have a big cactus collection since the school years but it never became possible. What impresses me is that cactus has been varied and the diversity of its flowers. That’s why I collected that many of them. I suppose there are 50-55 strains now. Of course, the maintenance depends on the strain. Although the maintenance looks easy, it’s actually not. It’s necessary to know about the soil at least a little bit. Unfortunately, they can not survive as they start to die once.
It’s been 3 years since you started tattooing and your style is appreciated by everyone. As we know you are graduated from the biology department. How did the tattooing get into your life?
I have been into painting since I was a child. I wanted to study fine arts but my family was not so eager. “Are you going to study it and draw in the streets?” said they. Then, I started biology department at Osmangazi University in Eskisehir. I could not study biology but I loved the biology. I wrote a thesis on Biological Metal Illustrations Artificial Organ Design. I wanted to things related my thesis. I started to work for a job which was not my thing at all. Okan Uçkun (tattoo artist) is a close friend of mine. I was visiting him very often. I loved it when I was watching Okan and wanted to try. One day, he gave me the machine. “ I have never seen anyone with such controlled hands. Quit your job immediately.” Said he. The next day, I did. Once I started and has never given up.
You started your journey saying that you wanted to draw your pictures on people. What are the differences between working on paper and skin?
The things you can make on the paper and skin can not be the same in the first place. No matter how complex you can draw on the paper, it does not make any sense if you do not have the potential on the skin. The control on the skin and the paper are not the same. I was lucky that I studied biology because I was familiar with the skin.
Does being a biologist make any other contribution to your work?
People find it interesting that on my Instagram it’s written as biologist. I guess it builds a trust on people. They still ask if I’m using single use needles. However, those who know that I am a biologist do not anymore. They believe I am not an amateur now that I am a biologist.
How does the process proceed when someone wants to get inked by you?
First, we talk what styles they want. If what they want is not my thing, I direct them to my friends who can do them best. I generally require more keywords, for instance, a tree representing the happiness. Then, I design it by combining those words. I usually add things from nature even if the person does not tell me to. I inform the customer about this. People who know my style come here knowing what I would make anyway.
We know so many tattoo artists who do not have any tattoos. You are one of them too. Are you planning to get inked? If you did, who the artist would be?
I haven’t got any yet because I think I will have a lot when I start 🙂 I think I will start when I believe it is the best time. For instance, I reserve one part for Xoil.
What machines and inks do you use?
I use Cheyenne and I am so happy with that. The colors depend. There are very good and bad colors produced by paint brands. I mostly use Fusion and Radiant.
Tattoo artists recommend different ways for the care. What is your method of care? What do you suggest the people you tattoo?
I don’t recommend creams like Bepanthen. I tell them the use very little but they do a lot. Because the creams are to heal the wounds quickly when they are used a lot, the skin scabs. I usually recommend the tattoo creams which do not include many additives.
What are you inspired by life? What excites you?
Actually, I am inspired by a lot of things. First of all, nature is what inspires me the most. I visit arboretums in the countries I visit and it makes me so happy. In addition, I’ve had passion about cinema for long years. When I watch my favorite directors’ movies I get the jitters. I’ve been into music for the last two or three years. So, I spend more time on Souncloud. I really enjoy finding things which are new and undiscovered. It is really effective while working.
Can u tell us some of the tattoo artists you follow worldwide?
There are so many of them. It is important to follow them almost immediately. When I start getting inked, I would love to make appointments from them all. I follow Xoil, Ilya Brezinski, tattooer_nadi, mowgli_artist ve Expended Eye etc.
Lastly, you listen and feel the stories of different people due to your job. You must have interesting stories too. We would love to hear one of them.
There are a lot. Every human being is another story. Because I make designs with stories by combining the objects and the events, I have experienced so many of them. I guess everyone has a story with fainting 🙂 Mine was when I was very inexperienced. He fell down and I got so scared.
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