With the patience and artistry of a true craftsman, Blame Max creates incredible pieces with a tried and true ancient practice: hand poke tattooing. One of the oldest forms of human expression, Blame Max continues to evolve and flourish this art form. His portfolio is full of illustrative tattoos that are clean, bold, and sweetly poetic.
In this interview he talks a bit about how he got started, why he loves hand poke tattoos and how tattooing helped create a life that he’d always hoped for.
Can you talk about leaving the Ukraine and learning to tattoo in Austria?
I can, but it’s kind of a long and complex story. I’ll try to make it short… Every man in Ukraine is obliged to complete military service either at the age of 18 or right after college. I studied in Poland and wasn’t planning on going back home after graduation. That’s more or less when Donbass got fucked up and every guy my age had to report to the army and hit the front line. That was rather unappealing, so I stayed in Poland and ignored the call-ups. I got eight of them over one year, the last one wasn’t from the army but from prison: 3 to 5 years for desertion. I stayed and worked in Poland until my visa expired.
At that point I had a choice: stay in Poland illegally, go back home and join the army/get incarcerated or apply for refugee status on the basis of my life being in danger. I went with the last option, but to make it more interesting I decided to leave for Austria, a country I hadn’t visited before.
To read the full interview, and to see more of Blame Max’s stunning work, check out Tattoodo.