The beautiful tattoos by Aivaras, aka Haivarasly on Instagram, are all about the power of simplicity and the beauty of details, achieved by years of experience. Read the full interview and meet this great artist from Vilnius (Lithuania)…
Hi Aivaras, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us more about yourself?
Thank you for this interview! My name is Aivaras, I’m from Lithuania. Living and working in Vilnius city for the past 6-7 years. Few days ago I started my 34th year on this planet!
What’s your story in the tattoo world? Did you have an apprenticeship or a teacher? How long have you been in the industry?
Until my late teens I had no interest in tattoos or art in general. I was more into sports. After graduation at high school, I had no idea about what I wanted to do in life, but had some pressure from my family to take some decisions, that I didn’t feel like taking. About that time I decided to get my first tattoo. After that, something happened that I can’t explain, but all I could think of was tattoos.
At that time I had a car, (a present from my parents to start an “adult” life back than), which I sold and got both my sleeves and full front done in a few months. What was my parents’ reaction is a whole other story… This happened around 2006-2007, the following year I had a chance to work in US for summer works, while I was there I felt I’d have liked to learn how to tattoo. I bought some machines there and after coming back home, I tattooed myself for 12 days in a row and went to the local shop where I was getting my tattoos to show what I had done and ask for guidance.
You can only imagine what they saw on my legs… But they were surprised by my determination and gave me a chance, so I became an apprentice. After some time I met a guy who became my mentor, everybody called him “Rokadze”, I moved to his shop and the real journey started from there, this happened around 2008. So I’ve been tattooing for 13 years so far.
You define your style as “tribal and folk inspired” – would you like to tell us more about it?
My work in the last 6 years is mostly inspired by folk and tribal art. I love the power of simplicity and beauty of details, that is achieved by years of experience. My personal evolution felt connected with it, both by doing tattoos and receiving them. This connection and inspiration evolving alongside, with time and experience. Curious to see the result of this process in the future. I’m also always interested in doing different kinds of work as well!
How did you manage to develop your personal artistic language and who are your references in the scene?
I never thought about it. I have always tried to do my best and still doing the same, so I guess if there’s one, then it happened by itself, together with my personal evolution thanks to different experiences, traveling, working in different shops with different artists, meeting new people and places.
Most inspiring is to see someone who’s been tattooing for 20-30 years or more and still has a spark in his heart, eyes and hands about what he does. It is also great to see someone who’s been tattooing for just a few years and doing amazing work. My reference in the “scene” and life is passion!
What about your techniques?
Bold lines are what I like to do the most, if the person I am tattooing also feels the same. Solid colour as well. I can use smaller groupings of needles and other techniques too, if there’s a request for that or if I think it might look and fit better for that person. Using coil machines for lines and coil and rotary for colours, lately more rotary.
Does your deep, intense black have a special meaning for you?
The work that is done, represents the person who wears it and has a personal meaning, feeling, different states of mind, expression of inner self, whatever you want to call it, often is beyond words. The technical side is a part of the whole process. That’s the way I’m working, because I love to see and do tattoos that are done in a really solid way. It compliments the work, that is usually readable also from a distance and has a strong impact when you see it in real.
Of course it’s not for everyone, but people who ask for my help to do the work are aware of what I mostly do.
How do you design your tattoos (especially the body suits)?
Sometimes it goes smoothly from the idea to the final result, sometimes it is evolving with every session or after some time. I designed a big part of the second bodysuit, that was done on me by myself with the help of my good friends, it was evolving with every session.
Tattoos that I’m doing for other people are done in collaboration with the person who asked for the tattoo, who trusted my help to do it and is willing to go all the way until the end with whatever it takes. It’s very personal every time, following and trusting the process, until it feels right to start and also until it feels right to stop. Similar process with big or small works. Of course, it takes much more time, preparation, patience, motivation and determination with big works.
Where do you find inspiration, especially for the folk part?
Everyone of us is a little part of a local folk and folk in general, so the seed of artwork is in everyone, combined with nature, surrounding and life experience. Folk art from previous generations is the biggest inspiration, especially from crafts where decoration or pattern parts were involved.
With years, reserch and life experience, you’re starting to relate more with it and understand certain details, elements, composition, and so on…
With this relation, the inspiration comes, especially when you’re feeling confident enough to do your own version by listening to your intuition, based on previous generations’ art.
Are you also a painter and do you use other means to express your creativity?
I do not consider myself as a painter, but once in a while I like to do a painting or few on a watercolour paper with black ink. I enjoy the most the process of large size painting, takes a lot of time, patience and energy, but gives back strong feelings of achievement and satisfaction.
Where are you at the moment and what are you working on?
I’m sitting on a bench in a park in front of a river, surrounded by trees and writing this interview at the moment. Nothing else on my mind. Great moment. Would love to be able to do all things in life in this manner, but there’s some work to be done, I’m working on it!
What are your plans for the future?
In the near future, my plan is to continue doing what I did until today, learning and concentrating on tattooing and personal growth.
In the far future, few decades from today, I could see myself moving to the countryside, living with my family, doing other craft works and tattooing in a treehouse in summertime. That’s what is coming to my mind at the moment. But as we all know, the only constant thing is change, also leaving space for it.
Is there anything you want to add before we say goodbye?
I want to thank you again and thank everyone who is gonna read this interview! All the best!