Piotr: Inking tattoos for life
For years, I have visualized myself getting elaborate, full-body tattoos. Subtle, abstract, representative, or bold, I love them all. I still don’t have any tattoos. In order to better live vicariously through someone else’s tattooed skin, I visited Piotr one evening to see how tattoos are born.
Piotr enjoys the lively co-working-style tattoo shop that is full of life, energy, and people getting and inking tattoos. Piotr got his first tattoo when he was twelve and his Maori-style face tattoo (it curls from his nose down to a design on his chin) when he was fourteen. He said “I would have liked to know then that this was what I was going to do the rest of my life because I would be [really good].” I thought it looked good. Piotr, originally from Belchatow, Poland, and long-time resident in Breckenridge, Colorado, designs and paints colorful and beautifully detailed imagery. Much of his inspiration comes from Buddhist ideals of enlightenment, of a happier existence.
The evening I visited, he was inking a client’s tattoo. After rubbing the sketch onto her skin with alcohol, he inked in the most important elements. Sometimes that is shapes, or colors, and sometimes that is the negative space of the skin showing through. As the drill hummed like a cicada, I asked about how he felt that people wore his artworks around, like some strange walking portfolio. He looked thoughtful then said he doesn’t think about that much. When he is doing each piece of art, it is a signature work. “I will only do the pieces that I want because it is who I am.” Piotr and his client agreed the relationship between artist and client is extremely important. Piotr said, “I wouldn’t get a tattoo from some one who does great tattoos, but is an ass. I wouldn’t want to carry that on me.”