Erdoğan Çavdar started tattooing in 1997, thanks to the encouragement from those around him, and he did his first tattoo using the method of dipping a needle into ink. He works on every style in the studio but his prefers to do black and gray tattoos, playing around with shading. Sidar prefers color tattoos. His mother encouraged him to purpose tattooing and always encouraged him to be different. Most of Çavdar’s clients range from 25-45 years old.
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The dozens of tattoo artists in Istanbul, each with their own style, create portable works of art that last a lifetime. Perhaps it’s time to finally get that tattoo you’ve been thinking about for years.
Istanbul’s best tattoo
“I don’t like tattooing something related to a severe trauma that someone has gone through. I feel like it could deepen the wound. Tattooing the face of someone who passed away can increase the tattoo artists’ ego because it requires a certain amount of expertise but we should also consider how sad the person might feel every time they look at their tattoo,” says the owner of Ruhsel Blacksea Tattoo.
You have to go to Burak Demir prepared. He won’t accept people who come in saying, ‘I want to get a tattoo but you pick the design”, saying, “they won’t want to have something I choose on their bodies for ever.” People who come in without knowing what they want unconsciously place more importance on the price instead of the cleanliness of the studio or the ability of the artist.
Sonat Gökdel founded Diagon in 2001 with his father. Before starting to tattoo in 1998 he used to be involved with screen prints and graphics. Tuğrul joined about 1 ½ years ago and Volkan joined 1 year ago. Sonat and Volkan were both born in 1980 and Tuğrul was born in 1983. The studio is named after Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Sonat, who graduated from the Art Department at Marmara University, naturally entered into the business thanks to his father. Tuğrul graduated from the Graphics Department at Yeditepe University and received his masters in design and art in Florence. Volkan has a degree in Philosophy. They have all tattooed celebrities. Volkan thinks that tattooing celebrities has helped reduce the negative connotation attached to tattoos.
Hakan Gerçek is a veteran in tattooing in Turkey. He began tattooing in England and opened his first studio in Kızıltoprak in 1992. Hakan Gerçek usually won’t work on a tattoo for more than 3 ½ hours and says the tattoo needs at least 15 days to settle. Every tattoo artists has different suggestions for the healing process. Gerçek says, “For the first week to 10 days stay away from the sun, don’t go in the sea or tanning beds. You can take a shower in lukewarm water and use soap on the area.”
The studio with a red-white awning across from the Saint Joseph High School in Moda is Danny Garcia’s studio. Danny has been tattooing for 15 years and has had a studio for 8 years. He got his name from his father, who is Spanish. He learned how to tattoo straight on people’s bodies. He tells us that he loves old school style tattoos but has to work in every style.
Until recently Budakan Tamer’s studio was called Rumblefish but now he is operating under a new name and location. The old studio gets its name from a 1983 film. It is still located in Kadıköy but this time it is on the very top of Bahariye Street, so it is more visible. Budakan has been a tattoo artist for 12 years.
Even if you have nothing to do with tattoos, if you listen to rock music you’ll know of Çağatay Ateş. Çağatay has been an active musician since the 1990’s. He is a bassist who went on tour with, Joe Lynn Turner, the lead singer of Deep Purple and Rainbow; they also made an album together and Çağatay of course tattooed Turner as well. Çağatay enjoys realistic pieces. Therefore when he is asked to tattoo an object he enjoys tattooing it as if it were really on the skin, tattooing every color, shadow, and its different dimensions.
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