First Saint Petersburg, now Essen. Valentina’s path has just begun in her tattoo art adventure. Read the interview to find out more!
(cover photo by @dominicana.photobyanya)
One of the most outstanding modern day Russian tattoo artists, after a long stay in St Petersburg, Valentina Riabova (or Ryabova) has just moved to Germany (Essen) continuing to amaze her countless fans with astonishing pieces in the style of Realism, with elaborate detail and breathtaking artistic figures.
Tattoo Life met up with her. And asked her a lot of questions…
You started tattooing some time ago: how have things gone for you over the years?
I actually started tattooing in 2012. I was a tutor of painting back then. I saw a lot of artistic mistakes in the best tattoos I could find on the internet. So I decided to try working on skin myself.
Your Realistic pieees are really creative. You’ve done portraits of Liam Gallagher (ex-Oasis), Tom Hanks, Ivan Moody (the Five Fingers Death Punch frontman) and Jamie Foxx. Have you ever received social feedback from some celebrity who is fascinated by your art?
Yes, but to be honest I can’t remember any precise case. But it was mostly from women for sure…
That Albert Einstein tattoo mashed up with a bodybuilder is a lot of fun. How did you come up with such a weird idea?
It was an image already done by someone that I came across on the internet. It was nice and I just added tattoos, which made the picture look more ironic and attractive. I like the idea of male sexuality which is not really appreciated that much in modern culture.
Also neurobiologists say that intelligence is rooted in sexual instinct if you dig deep enough, so it’s a cool visual combination.
Right. I know that sexuality is a driving force in your way of tattooing. Would you like to elaborate?
Yes, aggression and sexuality play a big role in how I see the world. There is probably not much to clarify, just a high libido thing. I can’t be something I’m not.
You have done portraits of some famous musicians like Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley who were famous last century. Do you like old times music or are you interested in any new artists?
Yes, of course I like it. But I can’t say I know music history all that well.
I prefer to accept the pure product of an artist without focusing on his biography. This meas I can leave way more room for my own interpretation and imagination.
Are you still working in Saint Petersburg?
No, I’m based in Germany now. At ‘Art Faktors Tattoo Studio’ in Essen.
Do you have guests or conventions booked for early 2019?
I try not to book more than a month in advance. Because I like to be spontaneous with other parts of my life.
Last question: do you feel like you’re a “superstar tattoo artist” or do you still feel humble iside?
Of course I really enjoy and appreciate how lucky I am to be noticed and loved. But tattooing is not the biggest thing in my life, so of course being good at something doesn’t mean you can decide that your life is satisfying in every way. I like to challenge myself in many directions.