INKED : When and how did you get started as an artist?
MAÏKA ZAYAGATA : As far back as I can remember being an artist has always been part of the plan. The question was what kind of artist I was going to be. My mother had introduced me to painting from an early age (nine-years-old), being a painter herself, so she, of course, has always encouraged me to walk that path.
Did you grow up around tattoos and what was you first memory of seeing them? I grew up, not necessarily around tattoos, but definitely in close proximity. I lived in a small city where bikers and heavy metal music was part of our everyday life, two worlds that go hand-in-hand with tattoos. Luckily since then tattooing has grown into a much richer medium.
Have you always been in to art? Yes! My mother being a painter is certainly part of why I first got interested in art in the first place. And the more I learned about art, whether it was about music, dancing, painting or film making, the more I wanted to know. The amount of amazing artists out there in all the different existing art forms is phenomenal and is a never-ending source of inspiration.
What drew you to tattooing? The culture behind it and the idea of creating permanent art onto a living canvas.
You’ve been travelling around Australia, what are the advantages of travelling as an artist? Definitely the exchange of knowledge between artists of different background and the beautiful friendships that emerge.
What are your favourite countries to work and why? There’s something about Australia because I came here many years ago, as young adult, I was not even a tattoo artist. And last year coming back after so many years and winning my two prizes at the Sydney Expo, as a tattoo artist, was certainly special. I do have also an attachment to Germany for all they bring to visual art in general.
What are you most proud of? I am someone who chose from a young age to focus on my art and to give all that I have. Being the artist I want to be doesn’t only include my work but also the human being behind the work. So far I must say that I am very happy to be where I am. I feel lucky and will keep doing everything I can to follow this path.
What makes you want to get up in the morning and go to work? The fact that I get to do what I love most each day and enjoy the freedom my clients give me for their projects. I feel blessed and immensely grateful for that.
What are your plans for the future? I feel like I need to settle down on the travel for a little bit. I want to give more attention to creating new projects and I am always searching for something new in my work.
Who helped you along the way to further your work? There are so many people that have helped and still inspire me today. I wish I could name them all! Jay Marceau gave me a great push at the beginning. Then there are guys like Safwan, Gerhard Wiesbeck, Kenji Alucky, Orge Kalodimas, Melanie (Inky und Stretchy), Mia Tattoo, Marco Galdo, Alvaro Flores and so many more…
What kind of clients do you love the most? The ones that give me the freedom to do what I love, in search of something different. I like to be challenged so my artistic evolution stays in constant motion.
Is there a piece or kind of piece you’d most like to create but haven’t been given the opportunity yet? I’m at the point where I’d like the challenge to create a full body piece.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the tattoo industry at the moment? Everything is going really fast with the Internet and all the tools we have access to now. It will not slow down! Therefore we need to learn to adapt without loosing our own integrity and authenticity and remember where we come from.
What are you most looking forward to while in Australia this time? Working with Alvaro Flores and the crew at Korpus (Melbourne), with Dean Carlyle and his crew at Hibernia (Sydney) and being at the Sydney Expo. Plus, I’ll be travelling with my boyfriend, Yann, who has helped to plan the trip. I am looking forward to surfing, diving and enjoying the beauty of Australia with him.