One of the newest tattoo studios in Gdansk located literally 3 meters from the train tracks also makes it one of the most unique. After studying in London at the University of Creative Arts, owner Tomasz a.k.a. Rico returned to Poland where he actively worked in Gdynia Tattoo Studio. He now has his own studio drawing mainly in the contour, neotraditional style, in color, grays, and black. We met up with Tomasz for a chat…
Hi mate. So why the name Rico Artist 44?
The first job I got after graduating from art college in Poland in 2007, was a cleaner in Ricoh Arena in the UK. The impact that had on me was so strong that I picked that name as a graffiti tag.
Even stranger is since I stopped doing graffiti I counted how many pieces I have done since I came back to Poland. 44! In total though it’s more than 500 since 2004.
How about this…from the moment I arrived back to Poland and opened my own studio it was 44 months!
Your bullshitting me!
I swear it’s true. It’s crazy.
How about your shoe number?
44. Sometimes 44 1/2
How old are you? Dont tell me 44!!!
Hahaha. Not yet. Im 32 this year.
Are you expecting something to happen when you are 44 years old?
I dont know. Maybe I will die or I will be rich. I prefer rich though ?
Your studio is literally 3 meters from the train tracks. Why here?
I used to spray trains for 10 years so maybe I feel comfortable here ?
You know thats illegal right?
Grafitti on trains is illegal?
Whats the buzz about grafitti?
There is a big competition between grafitti
Your biggest fine?
I don’t know. A couple of thousand pounds maybe. I never counted it because money wasn’t important for me back then.
Kind of. They let me pay in installments but I returned to Poland before I could pay it all. hahaha
Is it easier to get girls when your a tattoo artist?
Sometimes. I heard about it. I’m in a relationship for 10 years so I’m not on the market. hahaha
But you had propositions?
Sure. Artists even get stalkers sometimes.
Why become a tattoo artist?
I studied Graphics & Illustration in the UK and when I got back to Poland I got a job as a graphic designer. I got bored of sitting in an office all day looking into a computer so I decided to build my own tattoo machine.
Yes. It was back in 2015 and I remember experimenting on fruits. It took me 2 days to build.
Is it similar to a real machine?
It’s homemade so it’s not so precise but it still works.
What is your preffered style?
I work mainly with contours, neotraditional style, in color, grays, and black.
Did you get inspired by anybody?
Yes. Tony Donaire who is based in barcelona was my inspiration from the beginning.
Did you train yourself?
I remember training for a week to set up a sterile work station. I did it hundreds of times! I already knew how to draw so I just needed to practice
When did you make your first official tattoo?
I advertised some cheap deals on Vkontakte which is like a Russian Facebook page because I knew there was a big community of Russians and Ukrainians in Gdansk. I wanted to build my portfolio plus I can speak some Russian so it worked out well.
Have you tattooed yourself?
I have 7 tattoos on my body and 5 are mine ? They are not brilliant but I keep them for sentimental reasons.
It has been a pleasure to meet you. Finally, tell us the truth. Have you ever fucked up a tattoo?
Sure. Many times. All tattoo artists have. But these things you can fix ?
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