“The art of tattooing is a living process, and each new piece of work can be a step towards discovering new facets of your creativity”. With this sentence, the tattoo artist we present in this interview, Robert Shteinberg, describes the vision of the work and art he creates with passion in his studio in Nuremberg, where he brought the baggage of emotions and memories of his life in Siberia, his elective affinity with dark images, expressions of the human soul, and with the macabre that is the basis of his works on skin marked by black and by light and shadow effects that give life to the protagonists of his tattoos.
Hello Robert, where are you from and where do you work?
In the deep hollows of the Siberian expanses, where the breath of winter wind draws patterns of snow covers, my homeland – the small village of Chany – is enclosed. Here, among boundless fields and mighty forests, my childhood is permeated with the scents of pine needles and mixed with the living pulsation of nature.
Chany is like an enchanting picture, cozy and familiar in every corner. Every house is a witness of time, every path is a road to the past. Here I was born and grew up, taught the secrets of the forests and the labour of the land. Sunny days, soaked with the smell of freshly baked bread from the local bakery, and starry nights, saturated with the songs of Siberian constellations, remained in my soul forever. However, life, like an unknown river, carries its waters in different directions. And here I am, intertwined by the threads of my past, I find myself in distant Germany. The city of Nuremberg is my new home, where every street, like a page of history, tells its unique story.
Nuremberg is a harmony of antiquity and modernity, where the stone walls of ancient buildings whisper the secrets of the past, and the lights of modern offices flicker in the night of the future. Here my footsteps sound in unison with the steps of time, in this multifaceted city where cultures intertwine and architectural masterpieces become the culmination of human creativity. And so, in this woven pattern of fate, my life has become a bridge between two worlds. From Siberian expanses to Nuremberg streets, I carried with me my roots and many colours, smells, and melodies, creating a unique kaleidoscope of my existence in this world.
When did you start to tattoo?
Halloween 2023 marked not only a mystical celebration but also my seventh year of immersion in the art of tattooing. In the beginning, like a night, the first two or three years were full of challenges. My tattoos, like clumsy ghosts, came out crooked and unsuccessful.
But in this darkness, I found light in the study of drawing, like stars twinkling in the sky of my creativity.
The first few years were like a foggy eclipse where nothing got away with anything. But each mistake became a building block of my experience, and my quest for perfection, like a spooky Halloween costume, grew stronger every day. During this time, I learned not only how to create beautiful images, but how to put a piece of my soul into them.
My initial lessons were like dancing with ghosts, held under the darkness of misunderstanding. The master I chose to learn, like a foggy guide, didn’t know how to work himself, and pushed me into uncharted waters, repeating: “Do it! You’ll figure it out later!” My mental map demanded a different understanding, and I began to figure out the world of tattooing in my way.
My training, like a mysterious story, took the form of tattooing bananas, where I would transfer my skills to that fruit like an alchemist.
But after this obscure period, I found my tattoo tribe. In this collective, where we drew like we were in the heyday of Renaissance art, I found support and a source of inspiration. We were like artistic knights sharing knowledge and painting our pictures in the embrace of tattoo art.
Do you have a background in art?
My art grew alongside my drawing studies, like a lush garden growing from the roots of my creativity. But studying in the tattoo industry was like a mystical journey. The master who entered my life like a mysterious guide pushed me into uncharted waters, where even bananas became part of an artistic experimental studio.
The experience, like painterly colours, led me to a collective where tattooing became not only an art but a way of life.
We, like creative knights, gathered together, and drew our ideas into a single image, exploring the vast expanse of tattoo art. Thus, I became a part of this multifaceted world, where tattooing became not only ink on my skin but also an expression of my artistic spirit.
How did your attitude for dark/horror tattoos start and how did you develop it?
My macabre tattoos took on deep emotional and symbolic meaning, becoming a reflection of my personal experiences, interests, and philosophy. As a child, I faced hardships emphasized by the loss of my mother and my father’s alcohol problems. The year spent in foster care left its mark, morphing into the darker shades of my soul and influencing my artistic style.
I saw monsters in my artwork, but they were not the essences of fantasy worlds, but reflections of the darker sides of human nature. My tattoos became my way of expressing the struggle with my demons, their shapes and appearances became symbols of the hardships I experienced. Each dark image becomes a paint on the canvas of my life, on which I reveal my inner dark labyrinths and share parts of my story with the world.
What are your main references for these kind of subjects?
My main recommendations for topics like this are based on my personal experience of the art of tattooing. It is important to delve deeply into your own emotions and experiences, finding in them a source of inspiration.
Experimenting with symbolism and dark motifs can give your artwork uniqueness and depth. Also, keep in mind that dark imagery can have a strong emotional connotation, so it’s important to approach it with respect and attention to detail.
Use your creative process as a way to express yourself and your unique experiences.
Finally, be open to constant growth and development. The art of tattooing is a living process, and each new piece of work can be a step toward discovering new facets of your creativity.
I suppose that you like horror movies. Is that right? What are your favourites?
Yes, that’s right. Horror movies for me are not just entertainment, but an immersion into a world of intrigue, surprise, and atmosphere that gives me goosebumps. My preferences range from classic horror films to more modern creations, but I always appreciate movies that can evoke real awe and make you think. Dark and unexplored plots, uncertainty, and an air of mystery all create a unique experience that draws me to the world of horror. I don’t have any favourite movies.
Let’s talk about the technical aspects of your tattoos. How do you work to give power and three-dimensionality to your tattoos?
In my creative process, technical aspects play a key role in giving my tattoos power and three-dimensionality. I focus on using light and shadow effects, creating depth and detail to make each of my pieces come to life on skin. Experimenting with different shadow play techniques and color transitions allows me to create three-dimensional and realistic images.
Working with a tattoo machine becomes my tool for realizing my ideas, and I strive to ensure that every line and every shadow is painted with maximum precision. Also, in the process, I interact with the client to capture their traits and characteristics that can be embodied in the tattoo. In this way, the technical aspects become part of a unique collaboration that gives my work not only beauty but also deep meaning.
Why just black?
I prefer to use only black color in my tattoos because it is a force of history, depth of emotion, and a mystical atmosphere. Black is not just a shade, but a whole palette of dark nuances that allow me to express the power and energy that is inherent in my art. This monochromatic color choice allows me to focus on contrasts, shadows, and details, making each tattoo expressive and memorable. Black is like a kinescope in which I create my unique world full of mystery and intrigue. It is my way of emphasizing the mystical nature of the art of tattooing, giving each work a special visual impact.
To end this interview, would you like to tell our readers your programs for the next months, where they can find you and if you are working on any special project?
I can be found at my tattoo studio, which is located at Hans-Vogel-Straße 59, 90765 Fürth, Germany. I also actively participate in various tattoo conventions where I meet interesting people and find inspiration in the diversity of the tattoo community. Currently, in addition to tattooing, I am also practicing clay modelling, which has become a fascinating creative process for me. My goal is to create my art show to share my art with a wider audience and immerse people in the unique world of my creations. So, stay tuned to follow my new projects and events!
Thank you all who read, I hope you were interested.
Facebook: Robert Shteinberg
City: Nuremberg – State: Bavaria – Country: Germany