Masters Of Ink: Pushing The Limits Of Tattoo Art In Turkey With Tahir Sugur


Masters of Ink is a Konbini original introducing you to a whole spectrum of tattoo artists from all over the world. Custom designers specializing in every style from modern dotwork to traditional Americana tattoos – tune in for something new every week!

While tattoos are getting more and more assimilated into our contemporary world, there are still places where this avant-garde medium is considered an emerging art form. Turkey is a good example.

According to tattoo artist Tahir Sugur the current level of tattoo culture in his country was totally unpredictable four years ago. Tattoos in Turkey used to be considered taboo, but now it's a booming form of art. Sugur tells Konbini:

"Many different styles have been promoted and this richness and difference offer artists a very wide range of possibilities. Tattoo artists can express their own perspective or philosophy much more freely."

Sugur, who is now 31 years old, took a stab at tattoo art in college back in 2009 but it took him about six years to start practicing it professionally. Now, Tahir cannot imagine his life without needle and ink, and confesses his deep love for his trade:

"Drawing has always been my strongest point but tattooing was a whole new world. I have found a creative pleasure that I'd never felt before. Because of that feeling, I am doing my job with passion."

A recent increase in the number of Turkish tattoo artists, both working in their home country and scattered around the world, is directly affecting the development of tattooing as a contemporary and popular art. Tahir is grateful for this fruitful progress, and the good omen for his compatriots. He explains:

"Tattoo is a two-way art, because of the customer and tattoo artist’s symbiosis. An artist is welcome to express their philosophy and style, but on the other hand, customers have developed their own tastes thanks to social media, especially Instagram."

The personal work of Tahir blends organic materials and geometrical lines. In art school, he was criticized for his sharp, clear and symmetrical designs but decided to embrace these notions in his tattoo practice. Sugur enjoys when his objects have clear boundaries, but that doesn’t mean he is restraining his creativity.

"In my head, everything is separated with very, very sharp lines. So I do very sharp lines in my tattoos, but I look at life from a very wide perspective."

In a very Humanist vision, the artist explores many different themes from fine arts to nature and science. For Sugur, everything is connected: "I love using geometrical lines in tattooing because you can see this systematic and mathematical scheme in the universe: anything we see that is organic has math in itself."

Follow Tahir Sugur on Instagram and see more of his work below: