Mike Rubendal Tattoo

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I orami's unquenchable thirst for tattooing knowledge continues but not to be selfish, he is more than ready to impart some of his knowledge to his No Regrets cohorts, helping them with their tattooing careers where he can. Tommi seems most at home with bright and vibrant full-colour tattoos but is equally adept at black and grey tattoos too. In fact he is a very competent all-round artist who with 11 trophies to his name so far, I'm sure we have not seen the last of by a long clialk. Wot bad for a guy how used to build tattoo mactiines from toy parts! Tommi gave us a small insight to his tattooing career so far...

When I was a child I was always distracted from my school work. 1 was the kid who was constantly day dreaming and looking out of the window. My mind was elsewhere all the time. I was only ever thinking about drawing and creating "things from day. I could never pay attention to the books that were in front of me, so from the age of 10,1 found myself drawing with a biro on my friend's skin, creating dinosaurs and eagles amongst other animals and monsters. My first experience with tattooing was when I noticed people creating tattoos by hand, as professional tattoo mactiines weren't readily available in Poland at the time.

As a young teenager, I started creating tattoos on my own skin, building my machines out of old toys, which allowed me to create a machine that was very similar to a rotary machine. The tattoo culture in Poland at the time wasn't very popular at all and we were looked down upon constantly. I never had

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a proper apprenticeship, which meant the only way I could learn was through my own mistakes and discussing everything with other people who were also doing the same and were happy to discuss these issues. I grew up in a small, traditional Polish town, which was very isolated; therefore getting any tattoo-related information was next to impossible.

The tattoo industry in Poland is very limited in comparison to England, so when I decided I wanted to take my tattooing to the highest level I could, I decided it was time to move to somewhere new, so I came to the UK. It was always my dream to become a tattooist and have my work seen by as many people as I

could, but I was always being told to forget about it and do something more sensible. Not a chance! In England there is a high demand for tattoos everywhere so if you are good, you will always have work, so I had to come here to further my tattoo career. There is a great atmosphere in Poland amongst the tattooists,

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IT WAS ALWAYS HIT DREAM TO BECOME A TATTOOIST AND HAVE MY WORK SEEN BY AS MANY PEOPLE AS I COULD, BUT I WAS ALWAYS BEING TOLD TO FORGET ABOUT IT AND DO SOMETHING MORE SENSIBLE.

although they are very competitive, they are also very friendly with each other and I think this has helped to keep pushing the boundaries and has led to some of them becoming really well known tattooists in the world.

I arrived in England in 2006 in Colchester {Tattooinc), where I worked for the next three years and was quickly introduced to the British sense of humour. The guys in the shop soon took advantage of my small knowledge of English and I found myself at the local shop asking for an air guitar and when they sent me for lunch at the pasty shop and I asked for a pixie, I realised that I had better start learning English pretty quickly or there would be lots more embarrassing {andfunny) situations!

My time in Colchester was a big step for me, I had chance to start work with equipment that I had never seen before; I didn't realise how important it was to try out other machines and styles and during this time I had the chance to meet other artists that I had only ever seen in tattoo magazines before. It was like one of my dreams had come true. 1 am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to work there. I got the chance to get many different perspectives 3

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on tattooing when working with other artists from many different nationalities and the knowledge we all exchanged was of great benefit all of us.

Although I enjoyed my work, 1 found that I was doing a lot of flash designs and not getting to do the custom work that some of my friends had started to do back home and 1 began to get itchy feet and, to be honest, a little jealous. At this time I felt that I wanted to go back to Poland and see if things had changed since I'd left. I was almost ready to leave. I gave 6 months notice about my decision and I was prepared to go home, but at the last minute, I was contacted by Wo Regrets in Cheltenham and offered a job in their studio. They really liked my work and I decided to meet them. When I visited the studio, I met the owner Ben, who told me that he wanted to build a unique shop that people, would recognise for producing some of the best work around and wanted me to help.

The situation at Wo Regrets works well for everyone because the art comes first and I am able to have full freedom with my work with time off to go to conventions. We have a

FOR ME, I HAP CHANGE TO START WORK WITH EQUIPMENT THAT I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE; I DIDN'T REALISE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO TRY OUT OTHER MACHINES AND STYLES.

young team at the shop and I love that I am constantly getting fresh ideas irom them. I work along side Meehow, who is producing some of the best black and grey portraits I have seen, so I leave those to him. I find it amazing that someone who has only just got into portraits can produce such outstanding quality with his work. Marcus is the newest member and has a very unique style. He has a background in animation and it is amazing to see how he can transform this into his tattoo work, he is moving forward very quickly. Lastly we have an apprentice, Jen whose drawing and painting portrait work is excellent. She has done just a few tattoos on friends but shows a lot of promise. I love to help out the guys as they are learning and I am just showing them techniques and encouraging them to stick with their styles. We are still a new team but we are very motivated and get along very well. We recently opened a photography studio in the shop where Elanie is helping us to commemorate our work; It also enables us to create completely new tattoo designs where we can play with light and shadows like we never had a chance before, I think that I have a very different style to many other artists. 1 am a big fan of all of the styles of tattoos but I like to give them my own twist, I am largely influenced by fantasy artwork and this can often be seen in some of my work. When I meet a customer, it is very important to sit down with them and find out O

WHATEVER HAPPENS AND WHEREVER I GO I WOULD LIKE TO BE RECOGNISED AS AN ARTIST THAT LIKES TO DO THE BEST POSSIBLE TATTOOS WITH THE MOST DETAIL RATHER THAN A FEW SMALL TATTOOS WITH LES;

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Mike Rubendal

a little about why they want the tattoo, as this can help me to produce the best piece for the customer and give them an idea of what I can do for them as well. I am also a large fan of cover up work. Many people find this strange, but I really enjoy the challenge it presents and I think that it helps improve the rest of my work. There is a large demand for cover up work and 1 like to show people that just because it is a cover up it doesn't mean it has to look like one. I really enjoy it when people have no idea that there used to be an older tattoo underneath.

I have a few plans for the future but none of them are definite because you never know where this industry may take you. I would like to go and work in Japan at some point because it was the first place where tattooing became an art form from the old tribal styles. I think 1 could learn tilings from a whole different perspective over there and that is something that really appeals to me.

I would also like to go back to Poland at some point and open my own studio, I have been away from home for 4 years now and although I enjoy it here, there really is no place like home. Whatever happens and wherever I go, I would like to be recognised as an artist that likes to do the best possible tattoos with the most detail rather than a few small tattoos with less.

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WHATEVER HAPPENS AND WHEREVER I GO, I WOULD LIRE TO BE RECOGNISED AS AN ARTIST THAT LIKES TO DO THE BEST POSSIBLE TATTOOS WITH THE MOST DETAIL RATHER THAN A FEW SMALL TATTOOS WITH LESS.

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again has shown why it is the WesUnas P-er ^ of, , a lot of the other convent,on ■ [0.0[ganizer Hohtaka puts Th,s

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1 t is this focus on tattooists tliat makes the San Jose Convention stand out from the rest. Absent are the endless rows of t-shirts, jewellery, and other distractions. Those booths not dedicated to ■ making tattoos are kept at bay, with only 10% of available space being set aside for vendors. Other then that, it is strictly down to the business of putting ink in skin.

The weekend was kicked off Thursday night just down the street from the convention hall at The Anno Domini Gallery with San Jose's own Analog Tattoo Arts Kolectiv unveiling their newest book project: BloodWork: Sleeves. Produced by Analog founder Adrian Lee, the 350-page, 12 pound volume contains photographs, made by Max Dolberg of Full Coverage fame, showcasing 67 sleeves by 30 of the world's pre-eminent tattooists. Wames like Guy Aitchison, Horikitsune (Alex Reinke), Yutaro, Aaron Cain, Filip Leu, Mo Coppoletta, Mick Tattoo, Marcus Pacheco, Todd Noble, Matt Shamah, and Joel Long only begin to scratch the surface of the deep, deep pool of talent contained within these pages. Two years in the making and beautifully constructed, each book is a work of art unto itself. The Exhibition featured nearly life size prints of each of the mult i-armed renditions from the book's pages as well as large projected video images of the tattoos. The turn out was heavy despite The Swingin' Utters playing a show right around the corner. After the exhibition, the festivities moved across the street to the Agenda Lounge for Analog's two-year anniversary party where the bands Ugly Winner and Panthelion rocked the house into the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, Friday, it was time to get to work. As the convention doors opened to the public, it was immediately apparent that the large crowds common to The San Jose Convention were going to be subdued this year. Blame it on the economy or maybe that it was Halloween weekend, but even what is arguably the U.S.'s best tattoo convention isn't immune from the diminished attendance that has been plaguing the circuit this year. Still, with such a strong list of internationally acclaimed artists in attendance, there were plenty of people taking the opportunity to get some ink. Contemporary artists like: Scott Sylvia, Grez, Trevor McStay, Mike tnriVM.EkitiiUep.co.uk Issue

Scott Sylvia

As the convention doors opened to the public, it was immediately apparent that the large crowds common to The San Jose Convention were going to be subdued this year.

Bling Bling Roxx

Rubendal, Tim Hendricks, Aaron Delia Vadova, Ichibay, Beppe, Demian, Lango Oliviera, Freddy Corbin, Bling Bling Roxx, Chris Trevirio, Chuey Quintanai, Dana Helmiith, Adrian Lee, Grime, Horimasu, Jason Kundell, Juan Puente, Nate Banuelos, Shige, Rob Benavides, Inma, and Steve Byrne, to name a few were all working hard along side living legends such as Thorn Devita, Bill Salmon, Goodtime Charlie, Jack Rudy, Shanghai Kate, and Kandi Everett. Sailor Jerry's widow, Louise Collins was on hand to share her knowledge and experiences. Mike Giant was also in the O

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