Asya Teryaeva: Behind the profession of a tattoo artist
Women get tattooed more than men and achieve great success in the tattoo industry, as seen in the career of tattoo artist Asya Teryaeva. Her clients are all girls, and her minimalist botany designs using freehand techniques have gained worldwide recognition.
A recent McCrindle sociological study showed that women get tattooed more often than men. And another interesting result of the same report is that the tattoo industry is one of the few areas where women achieve great success and make a decent income. The heroine of our article, Asya Teryaeva, confirms both of these conclusions through her own example. Firstly, all of her clients are girls. Secondly, Asya's career is really taking off. And it seems that this is just the beginning.
Why only girls, you may ask? There is no specific reason for that. It's just that Asya works in a style that is very popular among girls. It's botany which is done with the help of freehand technique - when a part of the tattoo is done with a stencil and the other part is literally drawn by hand on the skin. As a result, the image on the body looks as natural as possible from any angle. And it's understandable why - this approach takes into account all the person's anatomical features. Asya only works with black and white images. She has always liked graphics and minimalism. And this is perfectly evident in every work. Clear, yet delicate lines, balanced proportions, light shadows, and gentle shading. Looking at Asya's Instagram account, it becomes clear why tattoo studios in different corners of the world want to collaborate with her.
"I started my career in one of the studios in St. Petersburg. I worked a lot, first of all, honing my skills in creating designs, literally drawing them overnight. Without a good design, there won't be a good tattoo, if it's a project without using the freehand technique. After two years of hard work, I received my first invitation to a guest spot in Germany. Honestly, I was thrilled. Of course, I knew that many of my colleagues travel around Europe, and work there, but I wasn't sure if I could ever do the same. My first guest spot was in Hamburg, and then invitations started coming in from other places. Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Paris, London. I even managed to visit Newcastle on the border with Scotland. Who would have thought?"
That very first guest spot in Germany, of course, was not accidental. It all started with a major project for one of her clients. It was a sleeve - from the collarbone to the wrist. Asya recalls that it took no less than five sessions to complete the work. At that time, such large-scale projects took her more time than they do now. In any case, the client was satisfied, and Asya published her work on Instagram. Just for her portfolio as usual. This publication ended up being reposted by a public page with a million subscribers. And then it went viral.
"If I'm not mistaken, it was a page of a tattoo studio in Miami. They posted my work, and then I had an influx of followers, and the growth was significant. After that, I received an invitation to my first guest spot in Germany. The client, by the way, came back to me later, and we made another tattoo on her thigh."
Asya continues to do a lot of guest spots. She notes that all communication with clients takes place online, via email. She also remembers the lockdown, which taught many of us to communicate through social media. It's clear that three years ago, Covid restrictions had a significant impact on the tattoo industry. In St. Petersburg, all salons stopped working at once, but for Asya, it was more of an occasion for reflection.
"For me, it was a good time in the sense that I was able to think about my own prospects very carefully. First of all, I started making temporary tattoos. Through trial and error, I found a supplier. There were a lot of orders, including Europe and the United States. Secondly, I understood that the lockdown was not forever and started to think about my own tattoo studio so that I wouldn't depend on anyone. It wasn't even a studio in the classic sense. I just rented a very beautiful, brightly lit space to work. I was lucky with the location - the very center of St. Petersburg. When the restrictions were lifted, there was no shortage of clients."
I'm sure there would be no shortage of apprentices either if Asya decided to teach tattooing at some point. It's difficult now - says our heroine. Asya's work schedule is tight, and constant traveling takes its toll. But requests to teach tattooing are coming in.
"It's important to note that a tattoo artist is not only someone who understands tattooing process. There are many other aspects of our profession. This includes the skill of communicating with people, working with photography, nuances of promoting yourself and your work. It's possible that someday I'll try my hand as a mentor, but for now, it's not my priority."
At the end of our conversation, I asked Asya about her plans. Of course, it was a trivial question. My interviewee thought for a moment and then answered that she would like to open her tattoo studio somewhere outside of Russia. There is no exact location yet. And that's understandable. After all, you have to travel around a lot of countries to finally understand which one is "yours." And yet, Asya left me with the impression of a person who can be successful regardless of geography. She is a professional, and that is the most important thing.
Written by Ivan Petrov