Exclusive interview with professional tattoo artist Chaim Machlev for HUF Magazine issue 51

A spiritual person, Chaim Machlev is an artist who decorates and adorns the most previous canvas of all, the living body. His work is as bold as his lines. Chaim’s tattooing is cutting edge. His clients recognise this and travel around the world to become one with his art.

I started tattooing four years ago, in the Spring of 2012. My first tattoo was on a friend that was kind enough to let me practice on her. It was a little sea star that actually looked pretty good. My second tattoo was horrible actually. When it comes to holding your tattoo machine for the first time in your hand and aiming it towards someone you don’t really know, where to gain the confidence to actually do it? You really find yourself trusting your instinct. And those instincts become habits over time and experience.

I had a pretty normal childhood, I was not a popular child at all and spent most of my childhood in front ofmy computer. I never had any artistic background, never created art, besides playing a guitar as a hobby. And, for sure, nothing that was to do with drawing or tattooing.

I was not attracted to tattoos so much before I started to think about getting one. I think that there is a stage in life when everyone is thinking about getting a tattoo, and this is what also makes me feel sometimes that us humans are in our natural state when we are tattooed.

The reasons for being tattooed can vary, most ofus in the western world unfortunately connect tattoos to negative stuff. Tattooing in a lot of social circles gets connected with drugs, crime, and other negative aspects. In my home country it is like that, but I have to say at the moment that there is a huge movement of tattooed people in Tel Aviv who are really opening people’s eyes to it.

When you get your first tattoo you no longer hold these prejudices, as you understand the beauty of deciding to change your body and permitting someone to do it. Then the distance to get another tattoo is shorter, this is exactly the reason that many nontattooed people think tattooing is addictive.

I got my first tattoo six years ago by Avi Vanunu of Psycho Tattoo, Tel Aviv. It was one of the strongest impacts on my life, as I found … Continue reading our exclusive interview with Chaim in HUF Magazine print issue 51