Nowadays especially vegans hesitate about having tattoos that may contain animal derived products. In that case, there are some confusion about it. Due to explain about that complicated subject, we interviewed with the vegan tattoo artist Ilkim Koc…
Hello Ilkim, can you talk about youself and your work please?
Hello, I was born and grown up in Istanbul. In 2011, I started my job in a tattoo shop as an assistant. The end of 2012, i finally start tattooing. In 2013, me and my partner opened our very first tattoo shop. After we became vegan, we decided to turn to our studio completely vegan. By this way, we became the Pioneer of the vegan tattoo art in Turkey. Because there was no other. We kept working as a vegan tattoo shop till 2019 when we decided to move to Bodrum. I am now currently working in Bodrum and Istanbul.
What is Vegan tattoo?
When people think about vegan tattoos, first thing that came to mind is “ink”. But there are other equipments and products are used during the tattoo process. For example; The stencil stuff, the papper that helps us transfering the stencil and some others like that. To sum up ; if we are talking about vegan tattoo, it means not only tattooing also to the other elements, products that are needed to tattoo should be cruelty free; not having any animal derived products or not animal tested. No animals should be harmed or used during the process.
As a tattoo artist, where do you stand now and where you would like to be in the future?
My interest about tattooing led me start my job. There were some achivements and deams that i would like to reach. My dreams didnt come true yet. There are always more desires in people’s life. I do the tattoos the style/ way that i want. I must say; There are lots of practice and experience needed to get to this point. Nothing happenes instantly. Lots of hard work and sacrifices should be given. That’s what i did and still doing. I am still learning in every tattoo that i made.
Are there any success/award that you won?
In 2014, with my tattoo shop, we had an invitation to Sofia Tattoo Convention. I had the 2nd place of “The Best Oldschool “category
Beside deciding a tattoo and the artist, Hygiene factor is also an important point. What is your advice about it?
It is good to question about it. When my clients ask me “do you get angry or bored when we ask questions about it” my answer is always” no, this is what everybody should do”. That is an important point. When you want to get a tattoo, it is important that the needles must be disposable. Clients should ask how they disinfecte the working area.
As a tattoo artist, do you have any criteria such as “ I dont do all kind of tattoos” or do you say “ how the clients choose me, i have right to choose the tattoo” kind of questions.
Yes, absolutely. Otherwise, there is no possibilty to create something unique. Sometimes a client finds Google images and asks for the same stencil. Yes it can be done, no problem but that wouldnt be original. It is going to be a “copy and paste”. So there wıll be no “art”. Just beacuse people think if they present/Show a well-done stencil or image, they think there will be no tolarenace or mistake. But that is totally a wrong way to think. If you find a real tattoo artist and trust them, there will be always pleasure.
So, finally what style makes you who you are?
When i first started tattooing, I was interested in “ oldschool” style. I also won the award on that category. But in the mean time, i have more interest on “linework, geometric or minimal” styles. I really like to work on that styles. On the other hand, if a client wants to have a tattoo that is not my style, i do not ignore them. I like to do new things and put more experiences on my tattooing career.