Since I was a child, I have had a huge interest in tattoos. In the years, I have noticed that most of the tattoo artists are male, both in Turkey and around the World. Later on, I had a chance to know an incredible woman, one of the top talented tattoo artists in Turkey. I met Tuğçe Türksoy for the first time in her studio in Ankara for a tattoo appointment of a friend of mine. From the moment I have seen her and her studio, I immediately fell in love with her style and originality. At that point, I was so proud to see such a successful and talented young woman tattoo artist in my country. Since that time, I am eagerly waiting for my first tattoo to be done by her either in Ankara or İstanbul (I am willing to go wherever she is 🙂 ) however, things went wrong with a global pandemic. Waiting to have the opportunity to have a masterpiece of her on my skin, due to the COVID-19, I have found a chance to interview her. Tuğçe Türksoy, with whom I made this interview, is one of the great examples of how successful and, talented women make our planet better.
1.What was the most universal symbol you have done as a tattoo?
Anarchy and peace symbols.
2.What kind of differences you have observed while people of different nationalities choose a tattoo?
People who come to my studio from abroad or in my guest spots abroad generally know my style and work, so I don’t feel any differences actually. But I become happy when they reach me to get tattoos, afterwards we often become friends.
3.How does it feel to be a successful woman tattoo artist in Turkey? Your profession and your style are marginal according to some people in Turkey. What is the reflection of this in your life?
When I first started to do it, approximately 10-12 years ago, the fact I was a tattoo artist as a woman was strange to some people. Because in the period I started to do it, there were only 3 woman tattoo artist including me. However, nowadays, with the popularity of this profession, it is no more like this. In Turkey, there are a lot of women doing it. Of course, I can feel that being an experienced tattoo artist brings respect from people within, so it makes me feel quite good. Except for tattoo, some worldwide brands are in collaboration with me, that’s another fact showing that I have proven myself. If I need to talk about what I do; Oldschool is a category that is very assertive and not so many people dare to have it. I guess people are still not used to that style yet. To generalise, people see it as a caricature or cartoon, or they are afraid of its being too colourful. It is also common that people think their tattoos can fade away quickly. Strangely, people are more interested in realistic tattoos in Turkey and sometimes it might create a perspective that what we do is simple and toyish. On the contrary, old school style designs mean interpreting something real and creating more free and authentic designs in my opinion. Nowadays, everybody wants to have a tattoo and they fulfil this desire with minimal tattoos. Old school is more peculiar to subcultures. It has never been a fashion and it won’t be, however, it is a style that will never vanish. But it is a situation in our country, we cannot say the same things for other countries obviously. A lot of talented friends of mine and I tried to spread this culture as much as we can.
4.Is there a story behind the name of “King of Ink”?
It was a name we found with a friend of mine from the university while we were turning back home from school on a school bus. I liked how it rhymed and I said “Aaa, perfect, this!”. It has been a good brand too actually, however, nowadays it doesn’t appeal me so much as well☺ Constantly I hear questions like “Why is not Queen of Ink?”.
5.For your designs, what are your muses? From what or whom you take inspiration? What are the things or people that inspire you most?
Even if my style is American, my inspiration is the lands we are living in. We are in a very wide cultural heritage and I benefit from this heritage so much. I want to have a sense of humour in my designs in my own way, and that material is available in abundance in our country ☺
6.This year I gathered all my courage to have a tattoo finally, and everything happened in the World but the Apocalypse. What awaits those who want to have tattoos like me after this extraordinary pandemic situation?
It was a very hard moment for tattoo artists like us. From the beginning, I quarantined myself and my family, and I have never socialised. I can even say I did not even go to market. We missed our jobs. In the days which we are in the “normalisation phase,” so many studios started to work starting from 1st of June. I am thinking to take appointments with cautions and strict rules. I guess we will have to learn how to live with it.
7.What do you think about the general idea where the tattoo is associated with marginalism? Do you think is there any changes with the new generations about it? Do you think tattoos will be something more accepted than before?
If we look at the history of tattoo, we know tattoos are done by some specific groups. A tattoo is such a taboo that there was an era when people with tattoos were thought to be the objects of the circuses. People were used to buying a ticket to watch these people with tattoos. Sailors, prisoners and bikers often had tattoos. Also, the fact that Islam is a religion that bans having a tattoo, in Turkey tattoo became a negative concept. However, with popular culture, we see that it is changing. I am talking about a change that a mother can have a tattoo with the name of her children, a doctor can cover all of her/his body with tattoos, a lot of footballers, singers, actresses and actors are shown on the screens with tattoos and people are tolerant about it. It shows that people think less strict about the idea of a tattoo, in fact, it is slightly becoming the fashion.
8.What would you like to say to all the tattoo lovers around the world from here?
Protect your tattooes from sun, please! ☺