Black & Grey tattoos – Denis Torikashvili |

Denis Torikashvili (TDAN)  has been tattooing since 1997, he currently tattoos at Vatican Studios in Lake Forest, California. We chat to Denis about what inspires his realism tattoos and how he got started in the industry…

sailor kiss tattoo

The first time I saw artistic looking tattoos was in American movies in the 90s, before that I had only seen military or old prison tattoos. These weren’t interested to me and didn’t really affect me, but I was encouraged by what I have seen in movies, it was like a glimpse into the future. I was so impressed I began sketching.

corpse bride tattoo

Speaking of drawing, from an early age I was interested in art and everything to do with it. Art was something exciting and new for me, of course I would always get carried away by my sketching. My friends found out what I had been doing and talked me into giving them tattoos, those guys were my first customers. In those years I didn’t have a professional tattoo machine, so I made one out of materials and things I found at home. In 1997 I bought my first tattoo machine, a Micky Sharpz and one thing led to another. In 2005 I took part in the St. Petersburg tattoo convention for the first time and in 2006 I won a prize. I worked in some tattoo shops in Rostov on Don and then I opened my own tattoo shop.

black and grey

I work in different tattoo styles. I used to make some Japanese tattoos that weren’t bad, as well as ornamental, American traditional tattoos and realism. This continued until 2014, when I moved to Moscow. After that my tattoo career really started taking off. I had a lot of trips working as a guest artist, attended loads of tattoo conventions, got some trophies, met wonderful artists, who also became my friends and whose advice has helped me many a time. In 2017 I got asked to work in London at NR studio, where I lived and worked for two years and I formed a serious client base. I didn’t want to leave but in July 2019 my temporary visa expired, after that I’ve decided to try my luck in America. I’m very fortunate to be here, at Vatican Tattoo Studio headed by great man and amazing artist Franco Vescovi.

realism sleeve

I work in black&grey realism style. I’m always trying to think outside the box and ask customers to believe in me and leave the tattoos and design in my hands.

Those who haven’t been afraid to trust me have never regretted it because I’m always about elegance and beautiful harmony when it comes to design.

I get my inspiration from movies, music and art photography. Everyone says I would have made a good photographer.

face tattoo

For anyone who wants to become a tattooist artist, I would advise them in the beginning to visit a major tattoo convention and see how highly skilled artists work, choose your favorite and get a tattoo from them and take advantage of this by asking them questions. The ideal outcome would be to find an artist who would then agree to take them as an apprentice

I came to the USA seven months ago and it is still too early to judge which country’s tattoo scene is better. The tattoo scenes in Russia and in the USA are generally very similar, but there are some key differences. The profession of the tattoo artist is not listed on state registries in Russia, our existence is denied, which doesn’t prevent us from working, while in America tattoo studios operate under the State supervision. Russia is filled with tattoo artists, who will do whatever is necessary to get to the top of this business. Tattooing is a very competitive sector.

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