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Tattoo Artist: Giannis Karampetsos Sake
Born in Athens Greece, Giannis Karampetsos realized he had the talent for art around 1994 when involved with Graffiti Art via Bombing Graffiti. It was not until this time that tattooing had crossed his mind, when he began sketching and designing art at Barcode Tattoo for Andreas Marnezos. It was Andreas’s suggestion that he should give tattooing a try, and since Giannis was curious about this particular form of art, he decided to give it a try. “And so it was at that time when I did my first tattoo, and I knew I was hooked up and wanted to be a part of the tattooing family.”
Beginning his apprenticeship in 2001, Giannis was under Andreas Marnezos of Barcode Tattoo studio, and then for Manos Rempoulis, owner of Live in Colour studio, both located in Athens, Greece. “The man who contributed with his advices to what I am today is “Mike the Athens”, my “Artistic Father” who I believe is one of the best tattoo artists worldwide, ever.”
Life, animals, plants, flowers, sculptures, paintings, and photographers provide inspirations for Giannis’s art, leading him into the capability of developing a mental picture inspired from every type of elements around him. Using these inspirations and elements he is able to decide how he wants to project them using different styles, different atmospheric twists using various cultural and artistic characteristics of several decades throughout the history and present times.
The list of inspiring artists is long for Giannis, and includes not only tattoo artists, but also from the general art culture. Some of the artists he finds inspiration from include, Bob Tyrel, Nikko Hurtado, C. Rojas, C. Torres, Bris, Xoil, Camila Rochas, Wendy Pham, and Jeff Gogue. From the Graffiti art world, artists included are McKlein and Belin. Giannis also finds inspiration from painters like Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, and Leonardo Da Vinci. He also finds inspiration within Gian Lorenzo Benini’s sculptures.
Through his apprenticeship, life experiences, and inspirations, Giannis has developed an extraordinary talent for photorealism, focusing on color as well as black and grey work, sometimes even combining them with Graffiti art and vintage elements, creating truly unique, breathtaking work. To create his work, Giannis is not afraid to use different inks, but usually uses Internal Ink, and prefers using coil machines because they are more flexible for him to use. This is not to say that he only sticks with coil machines, as he tends to use Dragonfly, Hawk and Bishop Machines as well, due to their light weight.
Using positive thoughts about his life, family, and friends when tattooing, Giannis can tattoo in a happy mood, enabling him to really hear the client’s story and reason behind their choice. “Their stories and why they want to get the tattoo is what inspires me to do my best.” This mindset allows him to understand that every tattoo is meaningful for the person who asks for it, that way he can offer them the best work when transforming an idea into skin art. It was during one of these sessions where Giannis was tattooing a portrait of a child on his father, where he felt inspirational compliment. “The smile on his face and the hug he gave me when the tattoo had finished was the best compliment I could ever get.”
Giannis and his shop feel it is important to help people as well as charities. “We try to seize every chance to support big causes including natural disaster survivors and animal shelters by holding special days where all the shop’s income goes to support those causes.” One of the biggest causes Giannis’s shop supported was during the Tsunami disaster in 2011, where they designed collectable t-shirts featuring “Save Japan” on them in order to raise money to help the victims suffering from the Tsunami. “The t-shirts were sold out in just 5 days.”
It is important to future apprentices to have love and respect for the art and industry involved in tattoos. “Always keep a low profile, be polite and humble no matter how good you think you are, and get credit for the good quality work and professionalism more than anything else.”
Next time you’re planning a visit to Greece, make sure you stop by Giannis’ shop in Athens, so you can make a memory permanent with phenomenal art.