Tattooist Baris Kiymaz aka NAKKAB creates incredible tattoos that flow with his client’s bodies out of Dada Fuku Tatu Club, Berlin. We caught up with the artist to find out more about his style, process and plans for the future…
How did you get into the industry?
I got into it the old school way I would say. I was young and full of energy! You know; cleaning around the studio, making tea for clients, setting up the stations, taking bookings etc. That’s when I learned most about tattoo equipments and hygiene, and of course how to tattoo. I was an apprentice for about seven months, by the end of my apprenticeship I was already tattooing clients.
I’ve now been tattooing for around eight years and I enjoy every year more than the other.
What made you want to become a tattoo artist?
When I think back, I can say that the roots took hold back in my childhood. I was working as an apprentice at a barber shop between the ages of 10-12. I remember one evening when our boss got a tattoo inside the barber shop! It was a wing tattoo on his neck. I was fascinated by the process as it was pretty badass and looked very cool to me. Just as I turned 18, I got my first tattoo and that day I decided to do my research on how to become a tattoo artist in Turkey.
How would you describe your tattooing style?
To describe it quickly we can say abstract tattooing. But of course this is not enough so I named my technique as “sernakkab”. This is where I use the possibilities of traditional Turkish marbling (ebru) and blend them into the individual’s skin by taking their muscle and bone anatomy as a reference.
It’s a combination of traditional paper marbling and contemporary tattooing with a minimalistic approach.
What inspired your unique style?
I studied fine arts and painting when I was in Istanbul. There we had a class called “Traditional Turkish Arts”. It was optional to take the class but I went for it to grow my vision, since we were mostly taught about contemporary art and Bauhaus school disciplines. I was so inspired by that class and I wanted to blend it into the lineworks I was working on then. At first it was a bit experimental, I was showing my designs to our professors and they were giving me constructive comments. In time I got more and more conscious and deliberate with what I was doing.
Can you tell us more about performing humanity in an artistic way?
That has been written in my bio for years now. I don’t even know if it’s gramatically correct but it sounds poetic. It means that with my artistic identity, I am actually performing as a human, rather than just being one.
What’s the process behind your pieces?
In my atelier I have a corner where I create shapes through marbling. I usually spend time there and work on new designs on different papers. When my clients ask for a design, I search through these papers and pick the one that fits their vibe. Then I study the individual’s body part where they want the tattoo.
In the end I blend the design with the anatomy of my client so that it flows on them. On the tattooing day we make slight adjustments if necessary. Sometimes I go freehand on some parts of the tattoo. Eventually we end up with a tattoo that is organic and unique for each individual.
How long do they take?
Smaller works usually take about two to three hours. Bigger works mostly vary from four to eight hours. Even though I do big works sometimes, I use a lot of space in my designs to emphasise the anatomy, that’s why some very big tattoos might take less time. My longest tattoo took 16 hours, of course we completed it in three sessions.
Do you prefer working in colour or black ink?
It depends on the individual’s vibe. Sometimes I make suggestions when I believe some colours would look good on the design, even if my client had black in mind. Mostly they give me the freedom to go with whatever I have in mind. I appreciate it a lot and do my best to come up with a design that we both love.
What tattoo projects have you been working on?
Lately I have been studying traditional Turkish calligraphy (hat) and interpreting it with my tattoo designs. I am looking forward to sharing it with my followers very soon!
What’s really been getting you excited?
I am excited about the future. Meeting new people, doing new projects, being part of fun collaborations and inspiring the newcomers!
What do you want to do in the future?
I want to start a YouTube channel and share the experience I have with people. To this day I have learnt a lot of things online, and made too many important decisions with the help of people on the internet. Well, I want to give back to the community whatever I can!
Where’s been your favourite place to travel and tattoo?
So far, it is Paris. Whenever I do a guestspot there, I fall in love with the city again. It gives me colourful vibes when I compare it to other cities I have visited. I enjoy looking at the old, less minimalistic city palette. I sometimes touch random city objects like the lamps, the metro sign, the benches… I think I’m so romantic when it comes to cities. I have an invitation to work as a guest artist in Tokyo this winter, I’m very much looking forward to that!
What’s been your proudest moment?
The sernakkab works came out as my final project when I was studying at university. Being the only one in the university who did artwork with tattooing was a proud moment for me. I always love to play around with the limits of the materials, give them different purposes to bring out anything progressive. Finding a sweet spot between traditional marbling and contemporary tattooing was one of them.
Make sure to follow @nakkabdoesit for more outstanding tattoos.
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