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ChaChaChats: Simona Borštnar – Tattoo Artist

Updated: Mar 7

TCB: Hi Simona! Thank you so much for joining us here at The ChaCha Blog! To start things off, can you tell us about yourself?

SB:  I would say I’m pretty boring, I spend most of my time drawing and tattooing. I also love hiking and spending time outside in the nature, it gives me energy and relieves stress.

TCB: What led you to a career as a tattoo artist? 

SB: It was all really unexpected. I never planned to be a tattoo artist, however I always loved drawing. I decided to study graphic design, it was something “normal” and it was supposed to get me a “proper” job. Later I met Sašo Dudič, we started dating when he was just starting to learn to tattoo and I was there helping him with a design here and there. He encouraged me to draw more, he was the one that saw a potential in me.

Later, another tattoo artist contacted me and said that they were looking for another artist to work at their shop, that he saw my drawings, and if I’d consider working for him. That was the point when I actually started working and made my first tattoo on Sašo. Never in a million years I thought tattooing would be something I would ever do, but I am so grateful it found me.

TCB: Your work is absolutely stunning and your style is so full of life. What inspired your style and aesthetic? Has it changed at all through the years? If so, how?

SB: Thank you so much! My inspiration comes from many different things, such as music, books, nature, animals, and of course other artists.

I think my style is still not defined and I don’t think it will ever stop evolving or changing. When I started tattooing 5 years ago I only made small and simple tattoos for a year or so, only later I started working on my personal touch and experimenting with different elements and techniques. So I would say yes, it has changed a lot and it’s still changing.

For me the most important thing is to keep challenging myself to be better, to try new things, learn new techniques because that’s the only way to improve your technical skill and your style. I always try to design a piece based on the placement on the body.

TCB: How would you describe your tattooing style?

SB: I think my style is still developing but I would say it’s mostly a collage of watercolor illustration and realism. I also like to play with different shapes or sketchy elements that add that extra something to the piece.

I think these new tattooing styles are hard to define and I think it’s important to keep my options open and experiment with new things, there are no limits.

TCB: What are your favorite subjects to tattoo and how do you keep your ideas fresh and innovative for your clients? 

SB: My favorite subjects to tattoo are definitely portraits. Not the classic ones but a bit more creative with some of my watercolor/graphic elements that tell a story. Sometimes my clients are my inspiration, sometimes it’s all my ideas so it depends on a project. I also love tattooing animals and Harry Potter inspired pieces.

TCB: Can you tell us about the first tattoo you got?

SB: It was a small black Deathly Hallows sign on my ribs. It was really painful and I said to myself “never again”.  Of course this wasn’t true.

TCB: I personally have not been to Slovenia, but it looks gorgeous. Does your atmosphere inspire your work?

SB: Of course, it is beautiful here. I always say I never want to leave this country, it’s my favorite place really. We have a shop in Bled that is especially breathtaking with its lake, island, and a castle. You should definitely visit if you get the chance. A lot of beautiful nature, rivers, lakes and mountains, perfect for inspiration.

TCB: What has been the craziest tattoo request you have received?

SB: That’s always a hard question for me because the craziest to me means the most exciting and unique. So I would say it was a pot of boiling water. I’s from a Slovenian rap song that says “life is good, the water is boiling”. You can take that as crazy, but I took that as something super fun and innovative.

TCB: With our current climate not only in the United States but globally, there has been a lot of focus on the need for gender equality. Do you feel like there is more difficulty being a female tattoo artist since the industry is so male-dominated? 

SB: I did feel that pressure at the beginning for sure. I got some comments about my looks, how can a blonde, innocent-looking girl be tattooing? But I was stubborn and for me it was just another reason to improve and to prove myself. I didn’t want to be noticed because of the way I look but because of my work. However, I always had support from people who mattered the most to me and that’s the important thing.

However, I feel like things are changing and more and more women are starting to work in tattooing and also getting really good at it, and people are getting used to that idea too. It’s not only bearded men on bikes now. Actually some of my favorite artists in the industry are female.

At the end of the day I have to add that if you want to be any good in tattooing, you have to work really hard either way, regardless of your gender. There’s a lot of struggles, long hours, sacrifices you need to make. To do that you have to really be in love with it.

TCB: What has been your biggest success so far in your career? 

SB: I am always very focused on my work and how can I improve, so I would say the best feeling and the biggest success for me is when I do a tattoo that I am proud of, when I know that I’ve overcome myself. Of course I do go to tattoo conventions and guest spots and it’s always a great feeling when you get invited to work alongside an artist you respect or get an award for your work.

For me, my favorite experiences were winning my very first award after only one year of tattooing at Slovenia Tattoo Convention, meeting Timur Lysenko and working in his shop, guest spotting at Heaven of Colors in Zwickau, and now getting an invitation to work at Brusseles Tattoo Convention and New York Empire State Expo.

TCB: We like to keep it real at The ChaCha Blog and not hide our faults or struggles, so with that, have you experienced any pitfalls or struggles so far? If so, do you mind sharing what that struggle was, and how you bounced back?

SB: That’s a great question. And yes, of course! I think it’s absurd how everyone appears perfect and just happy all the time, it’s nonsense. I’ve struggled with many things on my path as a tattoo artist. First of all it was this “woman in a man’s world” problem when I felt the pressure to prove myself. I overcame this by accepting myself, my “feminine” style and by saying this is who I am, I don’t have to please everyone and try to be something I’m not.

A very important step for me was also when I learned to say no to some projects I didn’t want to do. That meant the world to me because only then I was able to focus on developing my style further and only taking on projects I was really passionate about.

I also think every artist struggles with an occasional creative block. Sometimes it’s hard to be creative all the time but you have to do it when you have clients waiting for you. From time to time when something like this happens I think about quitting. But at the end of the day I know this is my dream job and I am so grateful I get to do what I do.

TCB: What does the future look like for you? Do you plan on traveling and guesting at different shops any time soon?

SB: Yes of course. I love to travel for guest spots and conventions but I don’t want to do it too often because we have a dog here and a shop that needs to be taken care of. For this year so far we are planning Ljubljana Tattoo Convention, New York Empire State Expo and Brusseles Tattoo Convention. I’m sure something else will come up during the year.

TCB: Does tattooing differ at all from country to country?

SB: I would say yes, I think in every country there are some different trends or peoples preferences. In some countries people prefer realistic motives, some prefer more graphic designs, others something else. But you can find every style in every country I think.

TCB: Last but not least, where can people find you to stay up to date on your work?

SB: My favorite social media is instagram: @simona_tavcitattoo . We have a Facebook page for the shop where you can also keep up with my work and travels: TavciTattoo.

Thank you so much to Simona for sharing her INCREDIBLE work with us and her story.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on ChaChaChats, please reach out to us via email. 

#art #design #badass #tattoo #simonaborstnar #slovenia #bodyart #inspiration #tattooartist


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