This April 2024, we have a good occasion to get to meet her, a majestic lady who is in love with art. We’re peeling back the curtain to get a glimpse into Margarita’s world—from her beginnings to her inspirations, and everything in between.

Margarita Zelenina

For the readers who are not familiar with you, how would you introduce yourself?

I’m a nerdy tattoo artist who roams freely, exploring new horizons with ink-stained fingers and a curious heart.

Where did your fascination for tattoos come from?

I have an unwavering fascination with the convergence of science and fiction, which is precisely why my tattoos are richly adorned with intricate steampunk motifs, geometric patterns, meticulously crafted small details, and subtle nods to engineering blueprints.

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

How and when did you start tattooing?

I set out on an exciting adventure to travel across Asia seven years ago. I quit being a director and decided to switch my career, which involves using brushes and a buzzing tattoo machine.

Where are you based?

I am currently based in Danang, where I work. I am tattooing at Dragon City Ink Studio.

How would you describe the tattoo scene in your country these days?

There are many talented tattoo artists in Russia who create tattoos in a wide variety of styles. I can spend hours looking at colleagues’ portfolios… However, a lot of them are moving on. Vietnam just started its own tattoo culture. Not very diverse; I’m still learning how important individuality is, but I believe I’m picking it up quickly.

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

How would you describe your tattooing style?

I am into detail-oriented graphics; I like to pay close attention to the little things. That’s why, when it comes to tattoos for my clients, you’ll often find them rocking that same detailed style that I love.

You seem to have an extremely well-curated Instagram page. How much does this impact your business?

My Instagram page really does wonders for my business. It’s like my online portfolio, where folks can check out my work, see what I’m all about, and even reach out for tattoos. It’s super handy for building trust and showing off my style. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with people and keep them updated on what’s new.

The tattoo culture has changed a lot in the last decade, becoming widely more accepted almost anywhere in the world. What do you think about this big cultural shift?

I think that we are born naked and deprived of the opportunity to choose what we want to be, and a tattoo is an opportunity to express our individuality and always have our symbols with us. So I’m glad that tattooing crosses borders and reaches all corners of the world, and there are fewer stereotypes. The main thing is that both artists and clients do not forget the simple thesis, “do well, be well.”

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

What’s the main source of inspiration for your tattoos?

What are the things that really get my creative juices flowing for my tattoos? Well, I’m all about soaking up the vibes from steampunk culture, the coolness of engineering, the magic of alchemy, and the wild beauty of abstract nature.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a tattoo artist in 2024?

Hailing from Russia, life’s definitely an adventure 🙈. Honestly, if I had to pinpoint the toughest part of being a tattoo artist in 2024, I’d say it’s dealing with all the visa formalities. They can really throw a wrench into the works, you know?

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a tattoo artist?

It’s the feeling you get knowing that your art sticks with your clients through thick and thin, becoming a part of their story for good. It’s awesome to think that what you create will be there, reminding them of the good times and the bad, for years to come.

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

What’s your experience at tattoo conventions so far?

I’ve been to two tattoo conventions: the Moscow Tattoo Convention and the Saigon Tattoo Expo. The one in Moscow was really well put together and felt more cozy for me, probably because it’s my hometown. There’s just something about being in familiar territory that makes everything feel easier and more chill.

Do you remember the first tattoo convention you have ever been to?

My first-ever tattoo convention experience? Yep, that was definitely an introvert’s nightmare for me 😅. Don’t get me wrong, I wish these conventions were not only more profitable but also more engaging for artists from a professional standpoint. It would be great if there were more opportunities for meaningful connections and fruitful collaborations in addition to just showcasing our work.

What’s your primary reason to attend a tattoo convention?

The main motivation driving me to attend tattoo conventions is the opportunity to participate in competitions and strive to win awards.

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

How do you think tattoo conventions could get even better for artists and the public?

Thinking about how to improve tattoo conventions for artists and the public, I’d say it’s all about making the space safer for artists, stepping up cleanliness, giving artists more chances to try out different gear, throwing in some cool master classes, and really hyping up the winners to celebrate their talent and keep the excitement going.

What advice would you offer to someone considering a career as a tattoo artist?

If I were to give advice to someone contemplating a career as a tattoo artist, it’d be this: Make sure you’re taking care of yourself while you’re on this journey. Don’t shy away from asking questions; give everything a shot, and then figure out what really lights you up. In other words, it is to explore various techniques and styles and to continuously seek out your own unique path within the industry.

Who are the people you admire the most within the tattoo community?

I’ve got major props for folks in the tattoo scene who are all about sharing their experiences. It’s seriously cool to see people being open and passing on what they’ve learned to help others out. It really adds to the awesome vibe of the tattoo community.

What’s your biggest accomplishment as a tattoo artist?

I’ve got to say that one of the coolest things for me as a tattoo artist is when I get to do ink designs that I’ve been dying to have myself. It’s like bringing my own visions to life and rocking them on someone else’s skin—a total win-win!

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

What are your favorite tattoo products and brands to achieve the best possible results for your tattoos?

Here’s the lowdown on the tattoo gear and brands I rely on to nail those perfect designs:

For machines, nothing beats the reliability and performance of Bishop.

When it comes to needles, I always reach for Kwadron and Mast for their precision and quality.

And for ink, my go-tos are Allegory and Radiant; they deliver rich, vibrant colors that really make your tattoos pop.

Do you do other forms of art besides tattooing?

Yeah, for sure! Apart from tattooing, I dabble in a bunch of other art forms. I love getting my hands dirty with murals, playing around with digital art, slapping some acrylic paint on canvas, and even letting loose with watercolors. It’s all about embracing different mediums and having fun with the creative process!

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

What are your goals or dreams for the near future?

In the near future, I’m all about two things: decking myself out in as many tattoos as I can dream up and hitting the road to explore new places. It’s all about turning my designs into wearable art and experiencing the world one adventure at a time.

Margarita Zelenina • A Science Fiction Tattoo Journey 9 April 2024

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Without a clear technical specification for the design, the result is that nobody knows.

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