Myra Brodsky: “It always has to be something that really suits my client.”

Born and raised in Germany, Myra Brodsky is one of the most authentic tattoo artists, creating an unique style which consists in traditional bold designs with an Art Nouveau touch.

Myra is currently tattooing at Red Rocket Tattoo in NYC.

How did you get started and what inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

A friend taught me when I was 19. I just moved to Berlin all alone and had no idea how things work.

Being all by myself for the first time ever inspired me to do whatever I wanted.

We know you travel a lot while tattooing. Can you tell us what are you favorite locations/countries that you’ve been to and why?

My favorite city in Europe is London. It’s great to work there and to go out. I always enjoy having a drink at a bar before I go to sleep.

You started tattooing in Germany and now you’re working in NYC. What are the differences and similarities between US tattoo industry and the European one?

I started tattooing in Berlin which is a lot different from all the other cities in Germany. Berlin and New York have a lot of things in common.

People move there because of similar reasons and everyone intends to ‘be someone’ in all sorts of ways.

It can be very exhausting to exist amongst mansplainers and ego-bitches. But if you play it right you might as well get to enjoy the ins and outs of the two cities.


Berlin always seemed to me like ‘the capital of mediocrity’ where every wannabe-tattooer tries hard to be different than the other so called artists.

In the end he’s just another copycat who loves to steal from the big names. It’s very cliquey there and no one really sells anything and in fact it’s just how they say: Berlin- poor but sexy.

New York is a lot more business-oriented. Tattoo artists rarely send away walk-ups who just ask for little souvenir tattoos. They’re money-makers and we all have to pay our bills.

The best of the best work in the city so there’s definitely a lot of competition going on. But hey, it’s fun and it pushes you to get more productive. I love it!

What are your main sources of inspiration and how would you describe your aesthetics?

Well, I have to admit that men with red hair and blue eyes inspire me. My life is pretty playful. I go places, I meet people and I party. It’s a great mix, right?

I hate it when things get boring so I always need some time apart from what I just experienced. After staying in the city for a decent amount of time I love to see some nature and vice versa.

Sometimes I take a trip to a random remote place. Then I stay there for a couple days just to watch nature and make notes.

My aesthetics can be described as crude and dull by haters. Or as classic and timeless by others. Who knows?


I make American European Traditional and I love it.

What are your favorite subjects to tattoo and what is your process when designing a piece?

I like to get to know my clients and create something personal. Everyone who meets me is welcome to get a custom piece. I cannot tell you what specific subjects I tattoo.

It always has to be something that really suits my client. I always come up with a few suggestions and then we figure out things together.

The process of designing a piece is very regular. I draw on paper. And always will.

What’s been your favorite moment in your career, so far?

Moving to New York and being able to move freely between two continents.

What do you like to do when you’re not tattooing? 

I’m a roller coaster junkie and together with my sister we set up amusement park bets. The one who can take most of the rides wins!

What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?

I don’t think I’m the right kind of person to ask for advice.

In the old days, tattooing used to be regarded like a sub-cultural activity, but now with all the social media apps it seems to be more mainstream. What are your thoughts about that? 

It’s still kinda sub-cultural to me, myself and I.

I know times have changed and when I started it was a lot different. There’s a bunch of stuff that annoys me about social media. Like all the self-promoting attention seekers who rather post selfies than tattoos. Or the abundance of style trends that’s out there.

I’m sorry but I cannot follow anymore. The ones who’ve got most of the followers are considered the best? Like a random number is a measure for quality? I don’t think so.

Traditional tattoo on arm

What are your thoughts regarding tattoo trends like watercolor tattoos, embroidery tattoos etc.? We as tattoo aficionados, when we’re thinking about getting a new tattoo, should we follow the trends or should we stick to the established ones?

I don’t have an opinion towards the trends. If people wanna get embroidered instead of tattooed they should definitely do it.

I would never try to prevent that.

A few tips on tattoo aftercare?

Don’t pick it, don’t scratch it, don’t sauna, don’t swimming pool, don’t sun, don’t sweat, don’t dirt, don’t re-wrap it after it’s unwrapped and washed. Just don’t!!
But remember: DO take care of it!

Talking about the tattoo industry, what would you like to see done differently in the future compared to now?

I’m not a big fan of the rise of the iPad in the tattoo industry. A lot of people say that it helps them create their designs quicker and better. But I think it’s cheating.

They copy and they trace and they deceive. The apple can leave the stage if you ask me.


CULTURE

MICHELLE MYLES INTERVIEW: “THE TATTOO SCENE IN THE EARLY ’90S WAS VERY SMALL AND MUCH MORE CONNECTED.”

By Tattmag Team / November 18, 2019

Michelle Myles, co-owner of Daredevil Tattoo, has been tattooing since 1991 when tattooing was forbidden by law and she’s one of the most genuinely versatile tattoo artists we’ve seen.

In 1997, Michelle and Brad Fink opened Daredevil Tattoo shop, which now hosts a museum tattoo collection focused on the history of tattooing in New York City, called The Daredevil Tattoo Museum.

Michelle Myles tattooing a man
Michelle Myles tattooing at the first NYC Tattoo Convention
  • How did you get started and what inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

I got my first tattoo when I was in high school in about 1988. I kept getting tattooed whenever I could. I started tattooing in 1991 I was inspired by a roommate I had who was getting into it.

I didn’t have a proper apprenticeship because tattooing was illegal in New York back then so I kind of fumbled along eventually getting a job at a legal street shop in New Jersey. The shop was very busy I really learned to tattoo there. 

  • How many tattoos do you have and what is your favorite one?

I haven’t counted how many I have. I don’t really have a favorite they all have nice memories for me it’s impossible to pick one over the others. 

  • What are your main sources of inspiration and how would you describe your aesthetics?

I am inspired by traditional American tattoos. We have a tattoo museum as part of our shop and it’s a huge inspiration to work next to so much important history.

My style is a blend of traditional American tattoo style but I also enjoy Japanese tattoo style and black and grey tattoos. 

Man wearing a dragon tattoo on his chest
  • What are your favorite subjects to tattoo and what is your process when designing a piece?

I like tattooing a lot of the traditional iconic themes; they’re very timeless to me and are kind of made for tattooing. My process is sitting down with the customer to go over their idea then working on a drawing often accessing references from my reference library I’ve collected over the years. 

  • What’s been your favorite moment in your career, so far?

Moving our shop to a space that we own instead of renting is probably my favorite achievement. New York real estate is brutal so to have a space that we won’t get priced out of is huge. It’s given me more peace of mind for the business and it’s allowed us to display the museum collection and offer that to the public.

Tattoo Saloon
  • What do you like to do when you’re not tattooing? 

I love to travel but more often than my travel has to do with tattooing. I feel fortunate for all the places tattooing has taken me. We just did a week-long tattoo history seminar/conference in Mexico City that was amazing. 

  • What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?

Draw a lot and learn to be versatile because trends change and what might be all the rage right now you might not be able to give away in a couple of years. 

Man wearing a tattoo on his shoulder
  • In the old days, tattooing used to be regarded as a sub-cultural activity, but now with all the social media apps, it seems to be more mainstream. What are your thoughts about that? 


Yes, tattooing has taken off in ways we never would have imagined. Mostly I’m just glad I got to be a part of tattooing going back to when it was illegal in New York to now.

I’m glad I got to see so many changes but also got to be around when it wasn’t so mainstream and popular. 

Woman wearing a tattoo on his ribs
  • You began tattooing when was still illegal in New York. Can you talk a bit about that period and maybe share with us some memorable stories about that time? 

The tattoo scene in the early ’90s was very small and much more connected. You pretty much knew or knew of every tattooer who was working in the city. There used to be Tattoo Society meetings put on by Clayton Patterson at the old CBGB’s gallery.

Mike Wilson, the Coney Island Tattooed man worked the door and it was completely wild to see someone with their face tattooed back then. He was the only person like that. The ban wasn’t enforced though so cops would get tattooed and New York City was more seedy and dangerous back then so tattooing fit right in. 

Gypsy Woman Tattoo
  • What are your thoughts regarding tattoo trends like watercolor tattoos, embroidery tattoos, etc.? We as tattoo aficionados, when we’re thinking about getting a new tattoo, should we follow the trends or should we stick to the established ones?

You should just get whatever you like to look at. Although some of the hyperfine line work or the watercolor work that’s being done isn’t going to hold up so great, which just means future work for us when we have to re-do them or cover them up. 

  • A few tips on tattoo aftercare?

I really am sold on the Hustle Butter CBD luxe product. I can’t believe how much the Hustle Butter helps with inflammation and how quickly things heal with that stuff. 


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