Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary. One of the largest cities in the European Union, the city is famous for its thermal baths, ruin pubs and the Great Synagogue – which is the largest Jewish house of worship in the world outside New York City. In Budapest you can also visit places like Budapest Pinball Museum (“Great for a rainy day!”, according to a review on tripadvisor.com) and the House of Terror Museum. The city has a troubled, yet fascinating history and there are plenty of architectural interesting places to see, but we didn’t go there for that. I brought my friend to Budapest, so that we could check out the Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016.
Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016
Most of the artists at the convention were from Hungary (not a big shock there), but Poland, Germany, USA, Austria, Italy and several other countries were also represented at the convention. The two-day convention took place at Lurdy Haz, a shopping mall and convention centre, but during this short time I made sure to squeeze in an interview with, in my honest opinion, Hungary’s best artist: the beautiful and talented Zsófia Bélteczky.
- What got you into tattooing? Do you have any role models or what is your inspiration?
Art has always been very important to me and I also knew that I wanted to deal with art in my life, in my career and that was the main reason I started tattooing. I started out studying graphic design and had my first encounter with the tattoo industry in these years. I liked it and started to learn it.
- Can you describe how you go about creating a tattoo, how you put your unique touch on the design?
When someone comes to me with an idea, I try to create the best options to her of his body. Because tattooing, for me, it’s like painting, but on the body, so it’s very important how you place the artwork. I try to use a unique design and not make the same tattoo twice. It’s custom work every time. It’s a basic photography or a picture, because my style is photo realistic, but the way I put it together by adding some extra background, create connections or details, makes it unique.
- Have you also experimented with different styles of tattooing?
Yes, yes of course. I always try, but it’s very hard because it’s impossible to make all the ideas in other styles. It depends on the guest, the client, but you can’t express everything in certain styles. For example in old-school style, you can’t express everything with it: you have to use a style that fits the motif. I mean, if somebody wants a portrait of an animal or a person, you can use different styles, but not every style suits it and if somebody wants a landscape I can’t make an old-school landscape, because it wouldn’t fit the motif.
- You also tattoo in England and in Germany. Is there a difference between the tattoo culture in Hungary and the rest of Europe?
I don’t know… In Hungary maybe the people are more open. I haven’t had the chance to work in so many countries except England and Germany, but in Hungary the people give me more freedom and a chance to express myself, they let me create my art instead of telling me exactly what they want. The tattoo will be best when I can create my art – I understand that it’s not always possible with every client and with every request, but you’ll get the best result when you give the artist some artistic freedom. Hungarians seem to trust me more than what the foreigners do.
Me: If they’ve seen your art, they should trust you!
Yes, they should, but they might think that I’ve made the art on request from the clients.
- What would you give as an advice to someone who doesn’t have a tattoo yet?
The significance of the tattoo should be more important than the picture itself. Let me use my sister as an example: she always wanted a tattoo, but she didn’t know what to get. She moved to America and we didn’t meet for 1 ½ year and then, when I visited her, we went to the Long Beach Convention together and for us, since we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time, it was a special occasion and she decided to get her first tattoo as a memory.
- What do you think a client should expect from you as a tattoo artist and how does a client and a tattoo artist collaborate to make it a successful tattoo?
I always give it my best to end up with the best result. I expect trust from the client and that they want an artwork from me. I also want the best for them (to make the best tattoo).
- What criteria do you think that a tattoo convention shall have to be really successful, both for you as a tattoo artist and for the visitors?
It should have quality.
- TV shows, Internet and especially social networks like Facebook and Instagram has become an extremely widely spread phenomenon recent years. Which positive and negative impacts do you think it has for the future development of the tattoo industry?
To tell you the truth, there’s no such thing as bad advertising. It’s not good, it’s not bad, this is just how the world is.
- How has the tattoo scene in Hungary developed since you first started in the business?
Very fast, very quick. A fast paced development.
- Are tattoos generally accepted in Hungary or can it be difficult for tattooed people to get job/be accepted as a husband/wife etc?
It’s getting better and better. As little as five years ago I think it was more difficult, but every year there are more and more people wearing tattoos, so it’s getting more accepted and easier.
That’s all the time that we had before Zsófia had to get back to creating art on a client’s back. If you want to book an appointment, she works at “The Tattoo Shop” in Budapest and at “Invictus Tattoo” in Berlin (see link section below tthe gallery).
Thanks for taking the time for a chat Zsófia!
Enjoy this gallery with photos of Zsófia and her work:
Thanks to Zsófia Bélteczky for being sporty and saying yes to this interview.
Thanks to Eszter Bélteczky for helping out with translating bits and pieces.
Thanks to Adrienn Judit Náhóczki & Varga Róbert for being great models.