Award winning Finnish born Bondi based tattoo artist, Maija Arminen, is an accomplished artist. In the past four years working as a tattoo artist in Sydney, she has built a reputation for herself purely on merit. Her skin art has gone from strength to strength due to equal parts talent and ambition. This is a tattoo artist who is not content to simply churn out tattoos. Each design is a work of art and people from across the globe and around Australia will wait several months minimum to be inked by the colourist.
But after interviewing Maija, the thing I really admired about her was not merely her drive, but her humble and honest attitude. There is no time for big noting when your creativity comes first and each and every tattoo is an opportunity to push personal boundaries.
However a little research concludes that Maija has won a number of awards including “Tattoo of the Day 1 (Female)” last year at the Sydney Tattoo Expo for the outstanding tattoo pictured left.
With the Sydney Tattoo Expo around the corner once more, Maija takes time from her busy schedule to share some insights with Yes Ma’am.
What was the first sign for your parents that you were going to be an artist?
I don’t really know. I was shy quiet child, I always could draw better than other kids. I could spend hours on buildin little miniature furniture for my barbies. My mom sewed a lot so I designed my own clothing from around age 8.
Other than tattooing, what is your favourite art medium?
I really like a combination of watercolour and watercolour pencils. I think those techniques are a bit similar to tattooing.
Friction between paper and pencil is a bit similar to needle and skin. Slippery mediums like markers freak me out.
What qualities in a tattoo design appeal to you most as an artist? What excites you when tattooing?
Definitely colour and flow! The dance of shapes. And the contrast, in values as in subject matter. It’s a pretty good feeling when everything falls into right place when tattooing. First it feels challenging and then suddenly pretty f****g good. At least sometimes it does.
You took out a couple of awards at the last tattoo expo in Sydney. What do you like about competing? What don’t you like?
I think competing is like part of a conversation within the industry. To say ‘Hey I’m here and this is what I do’. It also makes you try a bit harder when you know that someone will be judging your work.
And it’s not all about winning, it’s a good way to weigh up your work by comparing it to others. To discover what once can do better next time.
The sometimes annoying side is the politics. The judges either favoring someone or instances where popular opinion contradicts the judges’ decision. That’s why you shouldn’t take the competitions too seriously. It’s not worth losing any sleep over it.
If you had a choice to come back in the next life with a different talent… what would you choose?
Probably music. I have no musical talent whatsoever. I think my worst nightmare is to sing in public. I enjoy creativity so if not tattooing/painting then music.
Where can people purchase your prints (I want to buy more)?
My prints will be available at the Australian Tattoo Expo in Sydney on 11th-13th of March. You can also buy them online at maijatattoo.bigcartel.com