Alfonso Majetic

Behind her tattoo machines and amazing skills, talented artist Yliana Paolini has managed herself to gain an important place in the tattoo industry in Venezuela.

“Hard work and discipline are the key elements to be successful in this profession,” she says.

There is no doubt that Yliana has had both, proof of her constant effort to grow up as an artist gaining not only prestige in Venezuela, but she also has decided to conquer Europe, where her name is nowadays more and more recognized.

The interview started in a simple call through Skype. After two rings she answered me. I can hear that she is very excited; her voice is warm and welcoming. Yliana is not from the capital city of Caracas; she was born in a western city of Venezuela called Maracaibo. I can recognize that funny accent that characterizes the “marabinos.”

“Wait, I’m going to set up my cam,” she says.

Finally I can see her. Nothing has changed too much since the last time I saw her in Budapest. Her hair, long and red, foreshadows on how wild but incredible her personality can be. Her smiling face will make you want to talk and interact with her as much as you can.

Yliana is very passionate about her profession. “Hard work and discipline are the key elements to be successful in this profession. You are your own boss. The freedom that this work offers to me is one of the best things,” she says. “You make the decisions of what you want to do, and then see your idea on someone else skin is something amazing. It is a life mark.”

Getting to know her better and see how passionate she is with her work, I went back to the basics and asked her where all this inspiration came from.

“I started to tattoo by accident. I have a degree in architecture, but I had always been a lover of the arts. I started to tattoo just to have fun,” she explains. “Once in Hungary, I realized that tattooing is an art by all means. Budapest, its been a great school for me. I got to learn with some of the best tattooing artists in the country. The learning experience as whole has been very satisfactory. The true artist are changing the bad concepts that tattoo had by creating living art pieces.”

Interested in the fact that she has a very important degree in architecture, I wonder and ask her, “What happened with that degree and why is it better to be a tattoo artist?”

“Right now I’m very into the tattoo industry and I want to change the negative idea of what most people think about the tattoo as a profession. I think my first motivation to do this is not only my love for the arts but also that I feel I am helping to the development of the human thinking about this job and the persons who get tattoos. The architecture for me is a major art. Architecture can also be integrated into other arts including tattoos. I’m not planning to quit my major and I would like to do a master in town planning,” she says with a face of someone who longs for a dream.

Yliana is a very talented artist and her tattoo works can be very different, from flowers to comics. She has a big range to offer, but this artist certainly has a favorite style among her own designs.

“Cartoonish realism, with color or black and white. Those that came out of the skin and play between the reality and the fantasy,” she says.

All the artists have a signature, and Yliana is in the process of developing one of her own. Having a particular signature is very important because it is what creates your identity as an artist in this surrealistic world.

“Mine is still developing but is characterized by the fact that with the needles I can give an effect of painting with oleo,” Yliana explained.

Tattooing is a profession that has different characteristics around the world. Depending on the societies and cultures, the tattoos maybe considered truly pieces of art or just simple negative symbols with outrageous connotations.

I asked her how the meaning of tattoos differs in Latin America and in Europe.

“The difference is really big,” she replied. “In Latin America, tattoos are seen as jail symbols. Most of the people that get them are persons rejected by society; therefore, they are seen as bad. In Europe, tattoos not necessarily imply bad connotations, but certainly some countries, like Ireland, are more liberal and you can see people that are going to work with tattoos on their necks. I believe that the taste of someone does not interfere with their skills and how much they can develop them.”

Finishing this amazing trip with this wild but wise Venezuelan girl, I realized that it is not the money or the material things what make her improve as a person. It is her passion and incredible belief in herself that makes her so successful.

“Tattooing has been one of the most important things in my life,” Yilana said. “Yes, the things I have now and the goals I have set to myself are now being possible because of this passionate feeling I have about the arts and the believing of the evolution in the human race.”