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Artist Highlight: Evelína Jurković

Words by Adam Jolley
Artist Highlight: Evelína Jurković

Evelína Jurkovič is a hugely talented Slovakia-based tattooist. We recently caught up to talk tattoos and body positivity, tattooing women following mastectomy surgery, and to find out more about her daring hobby as a freediver.

Hey, could we get a quick intro?

Hello, my name is Evelína Jurkovič (@eweltattoo). As a tattoo artist, I have been working for more than 10 years. My studio is located in Slovakia, in a small town in the center of the country called Banská Bystrica. However, I love to travel and guest spot outside of Slovakia. You can meet me in Paris, Prague, and hopefully in the future also in Bangkok.

Can you tell us a little about your background and training? How has this influenced your work?

I have both a high school and college degree in art. In high school, I studied graphic design, and at university, I studied fine arts. Therefore, I naturally gravitated towards work where I can apply my skills. I started focusing on tattooing even during my university studies, which was challenging to manage from a time perspective.

What's important to you as an artist?

Hygiene is, of course, my top priority. In my studio, I also emphasize an individual approach, and there are not multiple people present during the tattooing process. I am always alone with the client so they do not feel exposed. Many people associate tattoos with significant life events, so I believe that we tattoo artists are halfway psychologists as well. :) A human, kind, and respectful approach is paramount to me in this profession.

What are some of the challenges you've faced in your career?

I face challenges every day. Since I usually work with a different person every day, I never know what kind of day I will have. Good communication and ensuring that I have understood the client are my number one priorities. And communicating something can sometimes be really challenging :) I also deal with pain every day and a great responsibility, as I cannot afford to make mistakes in my work.

Tattoo by Evelína Jurkovič

What effect do you think tattoos can have on people?

Instagram, retouching, and various filters have greatly distorted people's perception of their own bodies. Since we are used to seeing completely flawless visuals through the internet, we are much stricter towards our own bodies. Women come to me who have scars from cesarean sections and want to cover them with tattoos.

"It upsets me that beauty is so narrowly defined, and we normalize very few normal bodies"

A few years ago, I tattooed an older lady who had pigment spots on her body and therefore did not want to go on holidays. She felt like everyone was staring at her. We covered them with flowers and, in the end, she cried tears of gratitude because she told me that she would finally wear dresses in the summer. Last month, I covered massive stretch marks from pregnancy for a client, which allowed her to wear crop tops again. I feel grateful that I can change people's views of themselves and give them confidence and freedom. It also greatly upsets me that beauty is so narrowly defined, and we normalize very few normal bodies, the kind that 90% of people have.

Tattoo by Evelína Jurkovič

You mention 'body positive' in your Instagram bio. What does this mean to you and why is it important?

For me, body positivity means normalizing normal bodies and not belittling people just because they have a different size than what is considered 'standard'. Body positivity for me also means not bullying people for choosing plastic surgery because how their body looks is their personal matter. Body positivity is accepting body changes during and after pregnancy, as well as changes in the body with age. It's unrealistic for our bodies to look identical when we are 16 and 36. Similarly, it's unrealistic for our bodies to look exactly the same after pregnancy. Instagram and other social networks, which are sugarcoated, do not help with this.

Could you tell us about your work mastectomy tattooing?

Yes, very gladly. This topic and project have a personal connection for me - my grandmother fought, and fortunately, she successfully won her battle with cancer. Cancer is terrible not only from a health perspective but for a woman, it can also be devastating because she loses a part of her femininity, such as hair and unfortunately, with mastectomy, breasts or part of the breast. My project offers free tattoos to cover scars specifically for women who have undergone mastectomy and want to feel better and more confident in their bodies.

Finally, we see you're into freediving? Tell us more!

Freediving is one of the strongest callings I've experienced in my life. In 2017, I stumbled upon a video of this sport somewhere and took a screenshot because it looked crazy and fascinating. Subsequently, I came across the film 'No Limit', where it was finally explained how it works :) I found a coach in Slovakia, Martin Ruman, who has been helping me improve and gain depth since last year. Next, I have a trip to Thailand planned to the island of Koh Tao, where I want to dive as much as possible and take the AIDA 3 freediving course. Freediving is for me a deep journey not only into the water but mainly into myself. Absolute focus where you have no space to think about anything else, no space to make mistakes. And of course, there's the free fall. :)