It’s as if Slavia FC winning the Champions League whilst scoring 3 goals against Barcelona in the final.
“It’s hard to gauge, but for me, it’s a dream come true and the goal I wanted to achieve,” Igor Mitrenga smiles modestly – probably the most prestigious tattoo competition in the world, the NY Empire State Tattoo Expo in New York, where he collected most of the awards
He’s one of the most sought-after tattoo artists from the Czech Republic, and he goes by the nickname Im_tattoo. Therefore, getting an appointment with him is almost impossible since he’s booked for up to 2 years. And as an added bonus for him, the domination he displayed at the expo in New York has definitely opened a door to the American market.
“I usually go to the US to tattoo for about a month or two. The first time I went no one knew me, and I came back home at a loss of almost 6000 euros. After the 5th trip, I was at least even. And on my 8th trip (after the expo), I tattooed for 4 weeks, during which I saw 20 clients. The success at the competition helped me a lot.”
Mitrenga has been taking part in the New York “conventions” for some time now, as this has been his third time. However only this year he entered the ranked part of the competition. You can only get there by invite, and he was invited by the Hustle Butter Deluxe, which sponsors him.
There are several categories in the competition. Either finished tattoos or tattoos created at the convention are evaluated. Mitrenga got the first two places for the tattoos on his back and for his original style, and then he won another second place.
“There is no monetary compensation for the victory, but that’s not the point. There are people in the jury who are good at it, so it’s a sign of quality. Proof that as a tattoo artist you are good,” says Mitrenga.
The most fascinating part is that he has been tattooing for only 5 years. He first began with graffiti, but when he realised his works of art would get, sooner or later, painted over, he chose to be a tattoo artist. What he learned as a graffiti artist he now uses in tattoos.
“I feel that the interest in tattoos is growing, there’s been a boom in the last two years. Although I still occasionally encounter aversion in people for whom tattooing is a symbol of prison, this mindset is gradually disappearing as the tattoos become more and more high quality. Today, we are basically able to transfer a perfect photo to the skin, “he says.
He’s booked up for two years, and because he can’t keep up, he had to declare a stoppage in appointment reservations last year. This is despite the fact that complex tattoos over the entire back, which are usually created during ten sessions throughout the year, can easily cost you more than 4000 euros.