HIMALAYAN TIMES: Please explain the specialty of your tattoo work.
MAÏKA ZAYAGATA : I call the work I do industrial or organic geometry, industrial for the urban sometimes cyber look of some of my design and organic for the flowing movement on the body of the geometry on some of the pieces. But ultimately what it’s called doesn’t matter, I guess a style name is useful for people to Identify the work when they want to ask for it or talk about it…but technically what I do is based on my evolution as an artist and the inspirations I get on an everyday basis, through other artist whether they are a tattoo artist, an architect or any other kind of art I stumble across. And tomorrow, I could do something totally different, the idea is to keep searching to make each piece as unique as the last. Of course after a while the work of an artist will have a “direction” but the evolution of the next piece isn’t limited by it. It’s the artist’s job to push it further each time, or at least that’s how I think.
HT: How did you start tattooing? Who is your inspiration?
MZ: It’s an interesting question because, when you begin, you don’t just pick up a machine and start doing it…well at some point you have to of course, but it entails so much more, and you don’t realize the extent of it until you are deep in it. At the beginning, you think you know how much work it’s going to be, but you really don’t.
So, I begin slowly, first I gathered as much information as I could on how to do my first tattoo and of course there was a lot of drawing involved. Actually there’s been a lot of drawing involved in my life, which was obviously very helpful. I had help from a couple of tattoo artist’s friends, to guide me through my beginning process. They weren’t my mentors, because I wasn’t following them on a regular basis, but they were there ready to respond to my questions if I had some. Safwan, from Imago Studio in Montreal was one of them. Then I found a job in a street shop, which was a great learning place…mostly because I was tattooing a lot everyday, then slowly I made my way to where I am now, keeping the focus on never sitting down on what I learn. But I must say that the constant travel and meeting of different artists and visiting different studios, watching them work has been the best school I’ve had.
I try to find inspiration in different type of art, I find that if you stay within your area of skills you are limited by it, so I expend my search, for example, in Architecture. Mostly when I visit other country, I like to have a walk in the different cities and look at their different Architecture, filling myself with the vibes of each places. Fashion, inspires me as well. Of course I am inspired by other Tattoo Artists within my own style but I think it’s also important to expand outside of your own style in order to learn or be inspired. The inspirations within my own style are (but is not limited to them): Gerhard Wiesbeck, Kenji Alucky, Marco Galdo, Cory Ferguson, Matt Black, Alvaro Flores, Guy Letattooer, …to only name a few. And the inspirations outside my own style are (again, are not limited to them): Jay Marceau, VeroImbo, Jay Freestyle, Melanism, Claudia Desabe…again to only name a few…In that regard, I also try to expand my search on an everyday basis, looking at what’s out there, often discovering more artists that I love the work of and get inspired by all the time. Some of these guys I met, and we’ve became friends over time. Meeting the person and getting to know them and how their brain works is amazing and very inspiring.
HT: What is tattooing for you? How long have you been into it?
MZ: Tattooing is pretty much my life, It’s very present all the time. That’s probably why we call it a “passion”. But again, for me, it’s all about finding balance. To be able to live with it so intensely all the time, you need to find balance by finding time elsewhere, and I do that more often at home. I have a group of friends that aren’t part of the tattoo community and that is my relaxing time, and I need that as much as I need my work. Snowboarding, Surfing (I’m terrible at it, but I don’t care…ahaha!) and Scuba Diving if I can, is what helps me keep the balance as well.
I’ve been tattooing for 10 years now…but honestly, it feels like it’s been less then that, the more I get into it the more I realize the potential of it, and the less I feel experienced…but I know, it’s not necessarily true, because when I look back and see the evolution of my work, I can say that “something” has been happening!! What I mean to say is that sometimes you feel like you are going backward, but it takes those backward moments to then step even further.
HT: What style of tattoo work will you be doing in the upcoming 6th International Nepal Tattoo Convention?
MZ: I’m looking forward to do more of what I do, better then the last one I did!! Come and see me at my booth, I should have some designs ready! 😀
HT: Why did you choose to take part in the tattoo convention in Nepal? What are you look forward to in this convention?
MZ: Coming to this convention is nothing like going to any other convention, just because of where it is! There’s a special vibe to Nepal that’s very particular to it, and that’s the vibe we come to when taking part of this convention, and you know that you will meet like-minded people. Unfortunately, I’ve only experienced it halfway, as last year was my first time participating in it. And the terrible earthquake happened. So I’m visiting again this year, hoping to re-new the sad vibe I left with last year, with a happier and more peaceful one. I am taking this opportunity to talk about that at the Convention, I will have Bags with an art print, I did in collaboration with Sonja Punktum in Hamburg, Germany, also a tattoo artist. We are selling them 15€ and all of the profit will go to risefornepal.org, an organization that helps the victims of the earthquake where the NGO and the government doesn’t, so anyone that wants to help they can come and buy one at my booth at the convention. 😀
HT: Have you participated in International Nepal Tattoo Convention before? If yes, what are the changes you have experienced over the years?
MZ: I think the response of the last questions answers this one! 😉 Thank you for this opportunity! 😀