As soon as the needle hits the surface, Shalva Nikvashvili injects pockets filled with love and acceptance into the human skin. With a skillful mastery to detail he engraves it with clean-lined artworks, all the while hoping it will help spread emancipative ideas on love, sex and gender to establish greater acceptance. Despite differences, this queer tattoo artist is hoping to transcend all barriers to reach a pure emotion, as he believes whatever is felt must endure. Glamcult caught up with the empathetic illustrator to talk body politics.
Would you say your work is related to body politics?
My work has always been related to bodies or has been about bodies. Especially since I started tattooing people’s bodies and using skin as a new material.
Do you see your work as a form of protest?
I don’t like art that is clearly a form of protest. To me, it then becomes too easy to understand.
Do you think it’s possible to be 100% confident in your own body?
I weighed 110 kg when I was 17 years old. Even then I had confidence. A body is just a balloon—you can blow it and squeeze it. Everyone can be confident if they love themselves for whom they are and are able to love other people.
What does femininity/masculinity mean to you?
There are no borders dividing femininity and masculinity; we are who we are and we are all the same.
As a young artist, what do you daydream about?
I hope people will show more interest in others. No racism, no terror, no violence… Only then, everything is beautiful.