Artistic Excellence – Tattoo Ideas, Artists and Models


There are an endless number of colors in our universe, and Ivana Belakova’s mission is to use all of them in her tattoos. Born and raised in a small town in Slovakia, Belakova grew up in a country where tattooing was almost non-existent. Yet despite her education, she has made tattooing her life’s work and her career has taken her across the world. Today, she lives in Los Angeles and has drawn some of Hollywood’s biggest stars to her tattoo chair, from rappers to world-famous adult performers. We chatted with Ivana to learn more about her unique signature style, her famous first client, and what sets her apart from the pack.

Tell us about your upbringing and how you were first exposed to tattooing.

I grew up in a small village called Kostolné in Slovakia. There were about 200 people and it’s in the middle of nowhere – you need a car to access anything. I grew up in the great outdoors, playing soccer every day, playing and dreaming big. I also grew up in communism, which was a very interesting time for me.

The first time I was exposed to tattooing was while watching MTV and seeing all these heavily tattooed musicians. I was fascinated by Guns N ‘Roses and used to draw Axl’s tattoos on me and my brother.

When I was 16, I got a tattoo for the first time in a bar in Slovakia. We didn’t really have tattoo shops all over the country and I was also a minor so that was the way to go. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that this was something I was going to do with my life.

What made you decide to become a tattoo artist and how did you learn? When I finished college, I moved to a small town called Trenčín where I started tattooing. One day my friend asked me if I wanted to try a tattoo and I agreed. From the first time I held the tattoo machine in my hand and the needle touched the skin, I was hooked. I knew there that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I started by tattooing my brother and my friends without gloves or professional equipment. My friend bought me a tattoo machine from Canada and I found out after a while that it wasn’t even a real tattoo machine. It was a cosmetic tattoo machine, but I could do small ornamental tattoos with it.

I learned the hard way and it took me longer to figure it out, but I am very grateful for the way I learned. I didn’t have to follow any rules on how to tattoo – what to do first, what not to do, how to apply color, etc. It was perfect and I’m pretty sure that’s what helped me develop my own unique style. .

What was the tattoo industry like back then and how has it evolved over the years?

In Slovakia, tattooing was taboo. He has been associated with bikers and prisoners for a long time. No one wanted to teach me how to tattoo. We had two tattoo shops across the country when I started. The past 10 years have been completely different. There is this new generation of artists who are on a whole new level, pushing boundaries and breaking stigma. Nowadays, it’s all about art. There are tattoo shops everywhere, and we have amazing tattoo artists with some really unique styles. It makes me really happy to see him.

How would you describe your signature style?

My style mixes a few different elements, but what makes me unique as an artist is all the energy I put behind my tattoos. I see colors all around me. Each person is unique and gives off a different energy, which I apply to my work. Today my tattoo style comes naturally to me. I don’t really follow other people’s work, I only tattoo what I feel. After so many years honing my skills, I have developed my own unique style which I continue to create and improve every day.

I would describe my style as a “funky color”. I am inspired by street art and graffiti, coupled with haute couture. When I was little, I spent hours sketching and cutting out magazine pictures to create collage tapestries. In addition to using bright colors, I incorporate graphics, geometric shapes, and scribble ornaments into my tattoos. This is why I describe my tattoos as organized chaos because nothing is perfect just like life.

What are some of your favorite animals to tattoo and why?

I love them all. I love animals with funny expressions, weird faces, funny colors, and interesting shapes. For example, I love to tattoo exotic birds. I love how colorful they are and I love their different layers of feathers.

Tell us about some of your experiences tattooing celebrities. Who is the first celebrity you tattooed?

I have tattooed many celebrities all over the world, but my first big was Chris Brown. I also tattooed Lil Wayne, Quavo, Lil Twist, Rich the Kid and A Boogie wit da Hoodie. It’s a great experience for me to meet my favorite hip-hop artists. I like being able to listen to their new music or their new albums before they’re released yet.

The tattoo you did on Mia Khalifa was particularly meaningful. What is the story behind this piece?

It’s my tradition with Mia to give her meaningful tattoos. Mia’s latest tattoo is a portrait of Asia Ramazan Antar. Asia was a fighter in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit who defended Syria against ISIS. She died at age 19 while working to free the city of Manbij from Islamic extremists. The other pieces I have made for her are inspired by hope, change, acceptance and love. The first tattoo I did on her was part of a fundraiser for the Lebanese Red Cross, where she raised over $ 100,000 for charity. She is one of my favorite celebrities for tattooing, I love her energy and sense of humor.

What types of tattoos would you like to get more of in the future?

Children’s drawings, whimsical tattoos and playful pieces. I would also love to work on large pieces of art over multiple sessions, such as animal pieces or flowers mixed with my funky design elements.

Apart from tattooing, what other artistic mediums do you like to work in?

At the moment, I paint bags for Louis Vuitton and it gives me a lot of joy.

What else should our readers know about you?

I am the only woman in the world whose tattoos are certified Contemporary Fine Art by the Macro Museo in Rome.


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