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Zhenya Klever

I’m 25 y.o. Actually I’m from small town near Minsk called Zhodino which is famous FOR production of the largest dump trucks in the world. This is not a town where you can find an interesting job, this is a place where people work at a factory; a place not for living, just for existing. I work in studio called Good Sign Tattoo (Minsk, Belarus). This is really wonderful because here I can develop what I really like.

Have you always been a tattoo artist? 

As long as I can remember myself, I always had a pencil in my hand. But art wasn’t the main thing in my education. I finished linguistic university with Italian and English. I’ve also been working in a boring office as sales manager when hand-poke was just a hobby. One day I decided to leave this job and it was the greatest decision in my life. Now I’m working in the greatest tattoo studio in Belarus with the greatest people from whom I can learn a lot of new skills from.

What was it like the first time you put needle and ink to skin? 

Haha. It was awful. One guy gave me a tattoo needle and said “Just do something”. It was thin line of strokes and dotes. Really bad looking. That time I thought that it was my first and last tattoo experience.

Do you have any memorable/ funny stories you can tell?

Oh, of course. This summer there was Art Picnic  in Minsk where our studio was present as a participant. We were selling our merch, and also there was a possibility to get tattooed. But no one dared to get tattooed in the open air in the midst of fun. So for us it was really boring day... so we decided to get drunk with wine (alcohol was banned there). When we realised our party was coming to the end we saw three guys from a Swedish rock band that performed their show at this party. They asked if we can give them some tattoos. Electric tattooers didn’t want to work so I said that I could do some hand-poke tattoos. (But I was drunk!) They said “That’s ok, just do it”. So I made FOUR freehand tattoos for all the members of the band. And tattoos were good!

Why do you prefer hand-poking to machine tattooing? 

I’ve been making hand-poke tattoos for 4 years. Once I decided to  try to make a tattoo with a machine but I didn’t like it. I think that hand-poke is more authentic, more soulful, sincere. Even if it isn’t perfect.

What would you recommend to someone who wanted to start tattooing? 

I think that person who wants to start tattooing has to learn a lot of this culture first.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to handpoke tattooing?

Come to Minsk and I’ll show you. 

So Single Needle Tattoo Kits, I believe that home tattooing is inherently risky, but people have, and will continue to tattoo themselves, therefore making a safe and affordable kit is the way forward... What's your take on this? 

I think that home tattooing isn’t a bad thing. But only if you're careful to disinfect everything and ensure all the working stuff will be for one use only.

Instagram: @cloverpoke



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