Artist Attack! Ivana Is a Self-Taught Force of Nature and Tattoos

Art Attack Month:

0. 1/28/2012 – Art Attack Call for Submissions, by Riese
1. 2/1/2012 – Art Attack Gallery: 100 Queer Woman Artists In Your Face, by The Team
2. 2/3/2012 – Judy Chicago, by Lindsay
3. 2/7/2012 – Gran Fury, by Rachel
4. 2/7/2012 – Diane Arbus, by MJ
5. 2/8/2012 – Laurel Nakadate, by Lemon
6. 2/9/2012 – 10 Websites For Looking At Pictures All Dayby Riese
7. 2/10/2012 – LTTRby Jessica G.
8. 2/13/2012 – Hide/Seek, by Danielle
9. 2/15/2012 – Spotlight: Simone Meltesen, by Laneia
10. 2/15/2012 – Ivana, by Crystal

After deciding in early 2009 that I was going to take the plunge and get a tattoo, I read every article on the art form that I could get my hands on. Newly schooled on the difference between a tattooist and a tattoo artist, I decided that if I was going to get a sizable piece of art inked on predominately visible part of my body then I’d better search high and low for the latter, for the best tattoo artist that I could find.

After almost one year of researching prospective tattoo artists in Australia and even overseas, I finally found The One. Her name was Ivana, and the moment I saw her online portfolio it was love at first sight. Unlike with the hundreds of tattoo artist portfolios I’d looked at before hers, there was not a single tattoo in Ivana’s book that I felt indifferent or ambivalent about. Every piece was like nothing I had ever seen before, I wished they were all tattooed on my body.

For the most part, Ivana creates brightly coloured pieces of art that pop off the skin as if they were 3D. However her style seems to be continually evolving. Although specialising in black and grey tattoos at the beginning of her career, Ivana now creates original and often surreal pieces that are a blend of her clients’ fantasies and her own. Her distinctive colour and shading work and noticeable lack of a black outline in most of her pieces are just a few elements that make her tattoos stand out from the crowd.

The quality of Ivana’s work is no doubt partly due to her desire to have creative freedom, choosing to turn down the tattoo requests that she will not enjoy or believes won’t work well on skin. As she explained in an interview with Skin Artists, “I like the fusion of people’s fantasies with mine, but mostly I like freedom in what I do. I like when someone gives me a little description of what they want and I can create whatever.. In many cases I’m the main creator.”

Ivana hails from Trencin, Slovakia, though she no longer resides there. Remarkably, she is a self-taught tattoo artist who has had no formal art training.

Judging by the number of people who have stopped me in the street and asked “is that by Ivana?”, I’m far from being the only admirer of Ivana’s work. Check out her Facebook albums and be amazed.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. Oh tattoos!
    Personally I don’t think I’ll ever get a coloured tattoo, but I have seen pictures of your piece and it is absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Her work is absolutely stunning, and refreshingly original. I never cease to be blown away by people who are both so damn talented and so damn self-taught.

    I can only hope to stumble across her some day with enough money in my pocket to warrant getting one of her tattoos.

  3. Oh from this area, someone is so worth noticing ! I am from czech-republic and believe me, Musa tattooer is genious ! (
    His style is very unique and abstract and some love it and some hate it, like bulteriers and lesbians, right ? .-)

  4. I’ve never wanted a tattoo before because I never liked the way that they look, there was something about them that seemed off and cartoony. But these look like awesome art I’d see on canvas in an gallery. Now, now I want one of these.

  5. Wow, these literally look like paintings on skin. I don’t have any tattoos right now but this is definitely the style I’d like to get…a piece of art that I could carry with me always. *le sigh* someday soon. Crystal, your piece is gorgeous as well ^_^

  6. I too had a similar experience when deciding that I was going to get a relatively large piece done. I’d had two small tattoos done many years ago but wanted an artist. I too found Ivana and was delighted when she came to Birmingham, UK so I booked in for an all day slot. I was a nightmare client I think since I’m so much of a wuss, but she was amazing and every day I’m reminded by just how amazingly talented she is.

    I’m not sure that the link will work, but here’s hoping:

    Anyway, my only problem now is that I have one amazing piece of art on one shoulder and a really embarassing one on the other!

    • Nice! I really liked your tattoo when I saw it in her portfolio.
      Yeah I have the same thing – an amazing tattoo across one shoulder and a not-so-amazing tattoo on the other. I actually had two regrettable tattoos, but Ivana managed to cover one of them up.

  7. I’m so glad I finally read this article. Crystal, thank you for introducing me to Ivana. Her work is astounding!

Comments are closed.