STATEN ISLAND N.Y.- When Elvia Gezlev started working as a photographer for Tattoo Review in Milan, Italy, she fell in love immediately with the intricate world of tattooing.
“I was fascinated by every part of this industry,” Gezlev said. “I’ve always been into artistic expression, but this was a new level. So, I made it my point to get to know the very best in the industry and learn from them.”
Gezlev has been allowed to apprentice with Gian Maurizio Ferrcioni. According to her, Fercioni is considered a legendary tattoo artist in Italy and abroad.
“He is an icon in the community, and I practiced with him for months,” Gezlev said. “I was still working as a photographer at that time too, and the magazine sent me to New York to shoot a couple of conventions.”
Gezlev continued to tattoo in Brooklyn and Manhattan. After marrying and meeting her husband, Gezlev moved to Staten Island. In 2020 she will open her tattoo parlor at 4089 Victory Blvd. Travis.
“I loved this space because it was beautiful, open, and had so much natural light,” Gezlev said, detailing her colorful hot-pink shop, which is aptly named missElvia Tattoo. “I was thrilled to open my own business, but three months after I opened, COVID hit, and I’m still trying to recover.”
Traditional Japanese and old-school American drawings influence Gezlev’s work. She describes her style as “ornamental and illustrative.”
“I did all of my training in street shops, and I can handle anything that comes through the door,” she said. “But I feel people are not spending money on themselves right now. Times are tough, and even getting a tattoo has become a luxury.”
Gezlev pointed out that although her studio is open for appointments and walk-ins from Wednesday through Saturday, it is not very busy. She hopes to transform it into a neighborhood “culture hub.”
“I’d like to use my downstairs space to promote local artists,” she said. “We’re organizing a photography exhibit this June, inviting local photographers to exhibit their work. I hope the amount of work will increase here because owning a business right now is a struggle.”
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