Interview with Maria Margolis – A Spanish tattoo artist in Amsterdam
She just turned 23, however her humble attitude towards art, nature and people give her tattoos a richness and maturity. She fell in love with the city of Amsterdam and spreads her ink with pure delight. How did this Spanish manga-beauty become a professional dotworker in such a short time? What inspires her and why did she choose to work with James Nidecker. An interview with novel resident tattoo artist at New Amsterdam Tattoo Studio, Maria Margolis.
Is drawing in your nature?
Yes, I’ve been drawing all my life. I express what I feel in pictures. When I was studying fine arts in Barcelona I got my first tattoo, about 3 years ago. However, fine arts didn’t inspire me, the tattoo world did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing the course, I met a lot of people that are now still my friends. But I didn’t learn what I wanted to learn. Off course I loved classes like photography and history, but I hated that we all had to draw the same thing. I prefer to do my own style. I missed a kind of freedom during my education. Creating tattoo’s gives me that freedom.
How did you learn to tattoo?
It started with that first tattoo. I was so interested in how my tattoo artist was working. I asked him loads of questions, about how the machine works and what he does to create the best pieces. Soon I bought my own starter kit, just the basic stuff and began experimenting on oranges and bananas. I’m a vegetarian so I wouldn’t experiment on pig’s skin, as many artists do in the beginning. Then I moved on to tattoo on myself. My first lines were of an alien on my ankle. It’s obviously imperfect, but it shows my tattoo artist journey and how I’ve grown since then. You quickly learn in this way. You can immediately feel how much pressure you should use. I noticed after three months that my lines got better and better. I felt ready to move on to the next step.
What was the next step?
My friends. I asked them if anybody would like a free tattoo so I could practice. I’m forever grateful to them. They gave me confidence and trusted me. They knew the tattoo wouldn’t be perfect, but they made me feel relaxed anyway. Because of them I learned a lot. Gradually they started asking for more tattoo’s and my career as an artist began.
What’s your style?
Blackwork and dotwork are my favourite styles. If the client lets me, I prefer to add dotwork to the design. I don’t really use colour, mostly black ink, hence blackwork. Japan has always had a great influence on me, the way they view and respect nature is inspiring. I’ve been to Japan a few times and I’ve studied the language. They use pictograms to explain a meaning. It’s a very artistic way of approaching communication. I try to add Japanese culture in my work too, mostly organic drawings. You can also see me use geometry in different designs. I mix all these styles together. And within that I use contrast by adding dotwork to the blackwork.
How does Amsterdam inspire you?
I admire how James Nidecker does his geometric work so perfectly. I saw the studio website and really wanted to work there. I came from Spain and met with James in Amsterdam, the rest is history. He’s also my first mentor. James teaches me the technical side of tattooing; how to fix my machine or what all the small parts are for. The city of Amsterdam inspires me too. There is so much nature here. You would think, because I’m from Barcelona, that I miss would the beach. But I love the rain, the sound of it and how it makes everything so green and lush. And it’s not too warm here either, I’m not sweating all the time.
What are you most proud of?
One of my favourite pieces was for a lady in Spain. She wanted a picture of her mother tattooed, her mother was suffering from cancer. The lady wanted the tattoo as a gift for her mother. In the end, I gave her the tattoo for free. It wasn’t as much the piece that I loved the most in my career, but the story behind it, so personal and emotional. In that way, I love my job. I get to help people express their feelings.
Interview was done by Emily @rebelcopywriter