INTERVIEW: RITA ALVAREZ
Directly from Russia to Portugal, Maria came to spread paint on Portuguese lands. She brought with her the love for botany and scientific drawing, and these are precisely the themes that she most explores in her work. She tattoos with a technique called "stick and poke", which does not require the use of a tattoo machine, making everything by hand. It is this singularity that stands out in Maria's tattoos.
1) MELANCIA: Who is Maria?
M INSPIRADA: I am a tattoo artist, a creative person “from head to toe”.
2) M: Tell us: what made you come from Russia to Portugal? How did all this journey in the world of tattooing began?
MI: I love the nature of Russia. I was born and lived in the Urals, it is a beautiful area with lots of lakes and mountains but, over the past couple of years, the environment has changed a lot and this is one of the main reasons why I moved to Portugal with my family.
3) M: Your tattoos have a big difference from the majority: they are hand poked. What is the purpose of this technique? Explain us the concept.
MI: The journey began with my first @sashatattooing tattoo, it was a gift from my twin sister @ann_pokes - she also makes tattoos. I was watching the successful growth of my sister’s career and 4 years later, I decided to try to make tattoos. Behind my back is 15 years of a long art education. So it was easy enough for me to start. I do the same thing as other tattoo artists do but with just one needle and without a machine. This tattoos heal faster and are less painful. It is a manual work, very laborious, as I do all the movements (poking) manually.
4) M: Have you always done hand poked tattoos or did you start by using a tattoo machine?
MI: I began with handpoke, my sister taught me.
5) M: Is there any difference in the results achieved by this technique? What about the level of pain?
MI: The results always depends on the skin and on the caring of the tattoo after the session, during the healing process. Sometimes, of course, correction is required. I do it for free.
Almost all of my guests say that handpoke is less painful than a tattoo made by a machine.
6) M: As far as we can tell, your portfolio is mainly tattoos of natural elements, made with fine black lines. How would you describe your style?
MI: Botany! I love everything related to plant elements.
7) M: As a tattoo artist, do you try to respect your artistic imprint or do you try to do what the client asks even if you don't identify with the request?
MI: I only do what is in my style and what is interesting to me and I never duplicate sketches, I always come up with something new.
8) M: Which tattoo are you most proud of?
MI: I really love making my sprigs with shading inside the leaves, I may say this is my distinguishing mark.
9) M: What’s the most embarrassing situation you've ever had with a client? Tell us!
MI: It's hard to even remember, but sometimes the sketches are so full of small details that the session lasts for a very long time, I apologize for it, because I try very hard and want to do my job well.
10) M: What makes you happy?
MI: When everything is for love! When you just do what you like.
11) M: Leave a message to MELANCIA and its readers.
MI: Always do what you love and do not force yourself to do things you don’t like. And dream!
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