Tattoo artist Varvara works out of a private studio in Moscow, Russia where she’s known for her mystical dragon tattoos. We chatted to the ‘mother of dragons’ about her inspirations, proudest moments and life as an artist…
What inspired you to become a tattoo artist? How did you become an artist? I didn’t study art before I started tattooing, but I have always wanted to connect my life to creativity. After getting my first tattoo I knew I wanted to become a tattoo artist. I then trained in the art of tattooing at a studio and I used to practise on my friend. Now I have been tattooing for eight years.
Have you always tattooed like you do now? No of course not! My first tattoos were very funny and different. I started to look for my own style and I have developed this over the years. I’m also constantly trying to improve and take my work to the next level.
What attracted you to this type of tattooing? I like tattooing dragons because they are mythical creatures. This element of fantasy means I have complete freedom when I create their image. I also like the graphic look of black and grey tattoos, I think it looks awesome, especially the contrast between dark dragons and pink gentle flowers.
Can you tell us about the process behind your tattoos? It all starts with a sketch. I create each design during a consultation session which is based on the anatomy and wishes of the person I’m tattooing. Every one of my sketches is individual and nothing is repeated.
What would you say to someone who is worried about what their body looks like, but wants to get tattooed? I think that every body and everybody is beautiful. You just need to find a master who will emphasise your virtues. This is why I only freehand my tattoos. It allows me to create individual projects, which take into account the anatomy of the body and the preferences of the client.
What inspires you? I am inspired by the usual things: nature, my dogs, travel and of course love.
What do you like to tattoo and what would you like to do more? Of course I like to tattoo dragons, but I would also be happy to make other magical animals.
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Are you a tattoo collector? I have a lot of tattoos on my body, but I can’t call myself a tattoo collector. I have got a lot of tattoos based on what I liked at the time but now I approach my choices a lot more consciously.
What moment in your career are you most proud of? I am proud that I created very recognisable dragons and that I am able to give them to a large number of people.
You describe yourself as the ‘mother of dragons’ can you tell us more about this? Oh it is a joke! My clients would often call me that, so I decided to put it in my Instagram profile because I liked the comparison.
How have you been affected by the pandemic? I didn’t work for a while during the height of the pandemic, but then everything returned to normal. After the pandemic I’ve found that people want to let beautiful things, including tattoos, into their lives even more than before.
If you don’t already make sure to follow Varvara on Instagram for more dragon tattoos.