Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

Getting tattooed by Ondrash in the Czech Republic

I am usually a very thrifty person. Must have something to do with my German genes. But if there’s one thing I don’t look at the price, it’s tattoos and traveling. I see both as investments for myself that give me more added value than anything else.

My largest tattoo yet

As prices for tattoos are not so important to me, I am willing to pay good money for good work. Around two years ago, I had a tattoo done on my underarm, a watercolor motif consisting of two koi fish. In two sessions it cost me around 1600 Euros.

Never again

Back then I thought that I was probably gonna have my arm finished by the same artist, but this possibility has disappeared. I became sick during the healing process of the final session – tonsillitis. Due to the added trauma, some parts of the tattoo were inflamed and lost some color. Because my tattoo had problems healing, my artist told me that they didn’t want to work on me anymore.

…The way this was communicated bothered me quite a bit. I understand when an artist wants to protect themselves and I respect that. However, I would have at least expected them to correct the spots that had lost color…

But I had to realize that I can’t change that. Everyone makes decisions in their lives that don’t suit other people and that’s just the way it is. I just want to say that this decision and how it was communicated personally hurt me a lot.

The search for a new artist

So, I had the mammoth task of finding an artist who could manage to tattoo the upper arm in a way that would do justice to the underarm. It is a beautiful tattoo and it’s not easy to keep up with. I quickly realized that there was only one tattoo artist to whom I wanted to entrust this task. His name is Ondrash and if he wasn’t living in the Czech Republic I would’ve probably gotten tattooed by him already as I have been a fan of his work for many years.

Wanderlust 2.0

I made an appointment with Ondrash and despite the waiting list, I only had to wait three months and was expected to pay a thousand Euros for the session. My idea was both simple and complex: I wanted an abstract motif that uses a lot of black but somehow works with the underarm as well.

I didn’t mind sitting in the train for seven hours to get to the Czech Republic as I think that trains rides are perfect for both, work and relaxation. Not so much the uncomfortable Flixbus I had to take get back home, but that’s a different story. It was weird, however, to get to Prague and take another train into the small village Černošice where Ondrash lives and works. Walking to my hotel where I never saw any other guests made me feel like I was in Silent Hill.

Černošice

The nice-guy Tattooist

Ondrash invited me into his home. He was very welcoming and sweet and showed me his space and the new atelier he was working on. He offered me a piece of cake and we chatted for a while. Actually, we talked for almost two hours. Then, Ondrash painted some freehand designs with markers on my skin (which is the title photo of this post) and we talked about how it would be colored and what effects he might use.

Getting tattooed by Ondrash

After that I let him do his thing. I am usually not a very sensitive person and can handle getting tattooed quite well. That day seems to have been off though as I must say it hurt quite a bit. Especially on sensitive areas where I felt muscles I didn’t even know I had. In between lines and shapes, we took breaks, talked, watched his cat, listened to music and around noon his wife brought lunch for the two of us. I already had some cool experiences with tattoo artist but it was never this intimate and friendly. I felt very special in this environment where Ondrash and I could connect on this project. Thanks for that.

The finished tattoo

After eight hours we finished the session. I was glad we were finished because I was quite sore already. We took some pictures, Ondrash applied a high-quality protective film and walked me out.

I am extremely happy with my finished tattoo. It is a piece of art I couldn’t have imagined better. The colors and the application look so damn close to actual acrylic and watercolor paint, I didn’t even know that was possible. I love that Ondrash even connected his work with the two tattoos I already had in that area! The experience with him was close to perfect and worth the long drive. Would and will do again!

What do you think about my finished tattoo? And would you travel to get tattooed by a special artist?

Ben

Travel stories you might enjoy:
Accidentally staying in Johannesburg’s Ghetto during aggressive riots
I’m Going to Berlin
Strange Things I’ve Learned in Indochina
2nd Class Humans

 

4 thoughts on “Getting tattooed by Ondrash in the Czech Republic

  1. I was a somewhat fan of tattoo art perhaps 10 years ago but since that time and my marriage, my enthusiasm has decreased considerably. However, if it is something that you truly admire and appreciate, then congratulations on your latest achievement! Good for you, my friend! 🙂 Naked hugs!

    1. I’m very happy with how it looks and I think it’s never too late to start with tattoos if the passion reignites someday 😉 There are so many creative artists out there doing things that weren’t even possible in the early ages of the tattoo trend 😉 xoxo

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