Amongst the impressive tattoo artists we met at the Brussels Tattoo Convention, was Roman Vainer.
Roman Vainer is a realism tattoo artist who has been in the industry for quite a while now – he started back in 2008! His journey however, started even earlier at just 12 years old. We decided to interview him and we’re glad we did!
His tattoo journey
When he was 12, Roman got in contact with rockstars and bands through pictures and videos, as any 12 year old does. That’s when he got inspired and decided he’d become a tattoo artist one day. Luckily for him – his mother supported him!
He took it upon himself to purchase professional tattooing equipment that he found from magazines and started practicing on himself and his brother. After a few weeks, he decided to start tattooing other people, despite the fact that his work was not very good. He didn’t care about the sh*tty works he did, because he needed to practice. Practice makes progress after all, doesn’t it?
It took ‘’2 years of horrible works’’ until another (more established) tattoo artist found him and asked Roman if
he’d be interested with working with him.
Roman agreed and that artist became his first mentor. He stayed with him for another 2 years and then decided to continue his journey on his own. He now runs his own shop in Russia with his brother.
It’s worth to mention that Roman told us he lost a lot of years in figuring out how to be professional, how to disinfect properly, types of needles, etc… So, if we can learn one thing from this is that if you want to become a tattoo artist – it might be smarter to try to land an apprenticeship. Click here to go to our guide. Work smart, not hard.
Roman Vainer on being a mentor
Roman told us that he’s taught a few people, his first apprentice being his wife – Kate Vainer. After that he taught ‘some guys’.
He found that teaching is an interesting experience, because you can learn from the people that want to learn from you.
According to himself, Roman is a good teacher, but he wont be doing it a lot. If he were to take on apprentices non-stop, it would take away from his own growing and learning as an artist journey.
As he’s a big fan of tattooing everyday with no breaks, we can see why!
Managing a tattoo shop
Despite the covid struggles almost every business in the world experienced, he’s pretty content with running his own shop. He even told us he thinks some artists are better than him, but it must be because they learned from him!
When asked the question if there’s anything that annoys him about running his own shop he told us:
‘’Sometimes customers, yeah, they drink your blood’’ and followed up that he actually is understanding. It’s normal for customers to have a thousand questions sometimes, especially if it’s their first time getting a tattoo and they know nothing about the industry.
His favorite tattoo machine
Roman also shared with us that his favorite tattoo machine is that of the brand Dragonfly. He’s one tattoo artist of many that started with coil tattoo machines, so when he used a dragonfly machine for the first time… it was like a ‘HALLELUJAH’ moment for him.
Currently he uses a flux pen simply because there’s no cables to strangle him.
An introvert artist in a social career?
Okay, he didn’t exactly tell us he’s an introvert, but he did open up about the fact that he has difficulty connecting with new people. He simply doesn’t like it because it’s hard for his mind, but he does understand that it’s a necessity so he does what he can – try.
Roman told us he really does try to be softer and open to people and customers in general. It bothers him that there’s a lot of tattoo artists that are ‘closed off’ to customers. He thinks artists should be open to everybody, even if customers come with lots of ‘stupid’ questions. As tattoo artists – it’s your job. You’re a mentor even for your clients, because not everyone is as informed. It’s a way of bringing new people into this big industry!
All in all, Roman Vainer is a really dedicated and hardworking artist, that’s always looking to improve and grow in the industry.
His commitment to his craft and attention to detail definitely make him a reputable tattoo artist and we’re curious to see where his journey takes him next.
What do you guys think about Roman’s tattooing journey? Is there anything you’d do different? Let us know down below!