Elena Avdeeva talks to Tony Stanton about ink, art and Slavic folklore. Photo: Saskia Koerner.
Elena, where are you from and how did you grow up?
I was born in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Kazakhstan. I grew up in pretty wild conditions, but I’m happy with exactly how it was.
When did you start Babayaga Tattoo and what’s the story with how it was born?
Babayaga Tattoo was founded in November 2015. It was my husband’s idea to create a studio where people could get a piece of body art with a unique design and perfect quality that would remain so for a lifetime.
What does Babayaga mean?
In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is an ugly old woman who lives in the forest and eats babies. She lives in a wooden house that stands on chicken legs, and she’s both good and bad, sometimes helping those who seek her out, and sometimes hindering them. So she’s in the middle.
What are the current trends in ink?
Good art is always in trend.
How many artists do you have at Babayaga? Where are they from?
We have three artists at the moment. Kim Angel from Sydney, a really cool guy with a unique style which he calls his divinely inspired geometric patterns. Sod-dog from Kalimantan, he is the best at all kinds of mandalas and dot work, and Arthur Kim from Moscow, he has amazing old school style. All of them are absolutely unique and very, very handsome!
What’s the usual process from start to finish for a Babayaga tattoo?
Our clients book via email, Facebook or Instagram or directly in the studio. After that they come down for a session with the artist who draws them custom design, then they put the stencil on the skin and if both the artist and the client are happy with the size and placement, they start work. Once the tattoo is finished, our manager offers some information on aftercare. It’s all done to the sound of music and everyone enjoys the process.
What’s the worst tattoo you have ever seen?
I have never seen bad tatt! They are all great; each of them has a story and memories.
What’s the best you’ve ever seen?
My tattoos and my husband’s. He has a portrait of me on the inside of his under arm :).
Have any of your artists ever refused to do a tattoo?
No, we love our clients, and always try to do the best for them.
What is Mamayaga Tattoo?
This is our second project, sister of Babayaga. We had so many great artists we needed more space for them, as we really wanted to show their amazing work to our clients. So we opened Mamayaga Tattoo in Seminyak, on the second floor above the wonderful shop Skull.
What’s next for Babayaga?
A happy life.
Amen to that.