He combines skeletons, witches, pirates, Vikings and Medieval themes in general with animals and creepy characters. And when he has carte blanche everything starts with a skull, with a dynamic touch, double outlines and an echo from the graffiti style that he likes to add to his creations on skin.
This is the style of Rasel, the Greek tattoo artist part of the Greek team of Dirty Roses, that we interviewed in Thessaloniki.
Hi Rasel, how long have you been part of this incredible team?
I became a part of the Dirty team in 2011. Over the past 12 years of my artistic journey with this incredible group, this place has become a second home, molding me not just as an artist but also as a person. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given.
How did you get in contact with Kostas?
The initial contact with Kostas was when I approached the studio to request an apprenticeship. I was just a kid carrying my sketchbooks and feeling anxious about meeting someone as accomplished and well-known as Kostas. To my surprise, he didn’t need to review my sketchbooks; Alex Gotza, the co-owner of Dirty Roses, was already acquainted with my graffiti work. Our shared mindset and perspective on art and life became evident from the very first meeting.
Your style is sometimes very colorful and at times contrasted only with black in pure new school or cartoon. Do you agree with this definition? How did you develop it?
Yes, I agree with that description of my style. My portfolio encompasses a wide range of designs, from colorful and vibrant compositions to high-contrast black ink pieces.
The diversity in my work is predominantly dictated by the specific body areas where the tattoos are placed.
In Greece, where the skin is frequently exposed to prolonged sunlight, colorful designs may not age well or appear as vivid over time.
Therefore, I often opt for black and grey designs to ensure the tattoo maintains its clarity and impact. However, while this choice is more about addressing the needs of certain skin types, my personal inclination leans towards more colorful designs. I find them more engaging, vibrant, and closely tied to my roots in graffiti culture.
You propose the most diverse subjects. Which ones are the closest to you, which ones you do when you have carte blanche?
It took me years to overcome my fear of working with a blank canvas. My style is closest to featuring creepy characters, mostly animals, which I enjoy combining with elements from nature and magical medieval themes like skeletons, witches, pirates, and Vikings. Embracing a carte blanche is always a challenge for me. Typically, I start with a small skull design and allow it to guide my creative process.
Are there any innovations or researches you have done that you are carrying over into your tattoos?
Since I started, I’ve consistently worked on improving and enhancing my style in tattooing. My research encompasses old-school tattooing, realism, and elements drawn from graffiti. As I mentioned earlier, Kostas has been a significant influence, which is why I also delve into traditional Japanese tattooing principles for theme composition and placement.
Even when creating neojapan tattoos, I predominantly adhere to traditional rules, but I infuse elements from graffiti, including double and strong highlights, powerful lines, second outlines, and dynamic movement.
This continuous exploration significantly contributes to the uniqueness of my style.
Do you often travel for guests or conventions? Where do you go and where can our readers find you?
In the past, I frequently attended conventions to meet and learn from talented artists, often joining Kostas and Alex at major events, primarily in Italy and Spain. Nowadays, I still participate in significant conventions, albeit less frequently, as I also do guests. I find it both enjoyable because I have the opportunity to spend quality time and interact closely with individuals who share a profound passion for tattooing.
It’s an opportunity to exchange experiences, mutually influence one another artistically, and foster a strong tattoo community. Most of the time, you can find me in my hometown, Thessaloniki, at Dirty Roses, but I also look forward to upcoming conventions. My ultimate aspiration is to participate in Gods of Ink, a convention that, in my view, is the top in the tattoo world.