Friends told her she needed to become a tattoo artist or at least try this profession. But back in 2017, she was sure it wasn’t for her. Times change. Today, Asya Teryaeva collaborates with tattoo studios in different corners of the world – Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Hamburg, and London. Catching a free slot to book a session with her is a stroke of luck. Her friends were right. She’s truly a professional in her field. And she has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
We met Asya in Amsterdam, where she had another guest spot. Guest spots are what tattoo artists call their work at a specific studio, other than the studio where they reside. Asya admits she loves Amsterdam and has come here many times before. All her clients are girls. There’s nothing special about that, it just happens that way. Asya says: “I do tattoos with flower motifs and very delicate lines and light shadows, it’s mainly a feminine theme”. It’s worth noting that Asya started specifically with botanical motifs, and always in black and white.
“To be honest, I never worked with color. I fell in love with graphics and minimalism in art school. I preferred drawing with pencils over watercolors or crayons. When I was an apprentice I started making designs with flowers. Yes, I tried different things at first – ornaments, inscriptions, images of animals, but botany inspired me the most. In the end, after a year, I dived into this theme completely.”
But before becoming a tattoo artist, Asya changed several jobs. She was still living in St. Petersburg at the time. After graduating from university, she became an office manager. First in a logistics company, then in an interior design studio. She still remembers the second job with warmth, as the management was very supportive when Asya started working in a tattoo studio combining it with work as an office manager. She couldn’t quit her main job right away.
“In the design studio, they supported my decision and eventually even allowed me to reduce my working hours. I spent free hours at the tattoo studio, and when I realized that I had too many clients, I left the design studio and focused only on tattooing. By that time, I had already been to several guest spots in Europe and worked in Hamburg and Amsterdam. In all cities, I had full booking. And every time I was convinced – this is my dream job.”
The first serious difficulties for Asya began during the pandemic, as for most tattoo studios. She had just returned to St. Petersburg from another guest spot when COVID-19 hit and all the studios were closed. While the lockdown was in effect, she stayed at home and came up with a new plan — to open her own studio. Meanwhile, the number of people interested in getting a tattoo from her grew every day. It became clear that as soon as the restrictions were eased, there would be a lot of work. A lot. Asya began looking for a suitable location.
“I didn’t have a goal of opening a big tattoo studio. I thought I just needed to create a space that would be comfortable both for me and for my clients and I knew exactly what this place should look like. I had traveled a lot by then and seen what studios in Europe looked like. I wanted to do something similar in my hometown — white walls, lots of air, and minimalism in the interior. I found a space right in the center of St. Petersburg. Just imagine — high ceilings, wooden floors, a view of the Petersburg roofs. Of course, I signed the lease and started to furnish everything inside. I didn’t need to do any construction work there, I just painted the walls. I had never done that before, but I watched a video on YouTube and I managed.”
It took Asya only 10 days to prepare the studio for the opening. In that time, she managed to prepare all the necessary documents, and buy furniture and equipment. By that time, the lockdown had already ended and the flow of clients resumed. Asya worked alone in her private studio for about six months, then one of her friends, also a tattoo artist, started to look for a place to work. Asya agreed to help. Firstly, it was her close friend whom she could trust. Secondly, the studio was spacious enough to fit two artists. Asya equipped another working station and the girls worked side by side for another year, accepting other artists for their guest spots at the studio. Asya still has her studio in St.Petersburg and continues to collaborate with tattoo studios in Europe and UK. She also hopes to work in the US someday.
“I came to the US as a tourist. During my vacation, I had a chance to talk to colleagues. From their stories, I know that the US is always open to talented tattoo artists. There are opportunities to grow, and therefore, to build a successful career.”
In addition, black and white minimalistic tattoos are becoming more and more popular around the world. And the heroine of this article is a great example of that. There are a lot of people waiting for Asya in different parts of the world and her schedule is fully booked several months ahead.