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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best creativity magazine in the UK“, we profile tattoo artist Michal Gorka, known as Goorazz, known for combining ancient calligraphy with contemporary techniques.

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A singular blend of creative mastery has emerged in the ever-evolving field of tattooing. Enter the world of Michal Gorka, known as Goorazz in the tattooing community. 

Michael Goorazz Gorka on The Table Read Magazine
Michal “Goorazz” Gorka

With almost twenty years of inking experience, Goorazz has become a genuine expert of his specialty, elevating his work higher than ever with an unmistakable style that flawlessly blends the ancient craft of calligraphy with contemporary tattooing techniques.

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A Journey of Discovery

Beginning on the bustling streets of London, Goorazz embarked on his tattooing journey in the dynamic atmosphere of walk-in street shops, honing his skills across diverse styles, from traditional to black and grey realism. It was a relentless, no-holds-barred education in tattooing, where versatility was the name of the game.

Goorazz revealed that his quest for artistic fulfilment led him to a pivotal moment. Amidst a world brimming with various tattoo styles, from cartoonish exuberance to vibrant colour realism, he sought a path less travelled; the allure of calligraphy beckoned, and a passion was born.

The Evolution of a Script-Style Maverick

The calligraphic journey of Goorazz didn’t stop at mere curiosity; it blossomed into a profound artistic odyssey. It all began with cursive scripts, expert strokes of curvy letters rooted in copperplate calligraphy, with nods to the Chicano artists who brought it to life in America. The art of script-style tattooing took shape, honed to perfection through painstaking practice.

Michael Goorazz Gorka Tattoo on The Table Read Magazine
Michal “Goorazz” Gorka Tattoo

But evolution is the hallmark of a true artist. Goorazz, shifted towards gothic or blackletter styles, inspired by the powerful and often intense aesthetics of mediaeval calligraphy. He moved away from shading, embracing the purity of a full black filling. The results are nothing short of breathtaking.

The Calligraphy Tattooing Process: A Symphony of Collaboration

Goorazz has a creative process that is a masterpiece of collaboration. He embraces the freehand technique, abandoning stencils to ensure the design flows organically with the body’s contours. The alchemy happens during face-to-face meetings with clients, as Goorazz sketches the concept by hand, fine-tuning the design with pencil and paper. Once the concept is set, he wields his markers to draw directly on the canvas of the skin, using markers of colour to help his visualisation in bringing the design to life. The entire process is a fluid dance of creativity and precision.

Influences and Inspirations

Goorazz draws from a wellspring of influences, both within and outside the realm of calligraphy. Chicano artists like Boog, Big Meas, Norm, and Big Sleeps kindled the early sparks of his journey.

Now, he incorporates inspiration from gothic styles and a medley of non-lettering tattoo forms like tribal, neotribal, and abstract blackwork. With a background in sign painting, print, and graffiti, his work resonates with a harmonious blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary.

Michael Goorazz Gorka Tattoo on The Table Read Magazine
Michal “Goorazz” Gorka Tattoo

The Challenge and Reward of Calligraphy Tattoos

The path of calligraphy-infused tattooing is not without its challenges. Calligraphy is a precise and structured art, where rules must be upheld, and every line must find its perfect place. The cursive script style, in particular, offers no room for error. Goorazz is fueled by his passion for calligraphy, driving his artistic journey and demonstrating his dedication and mastery of the craft.

In addition to the artistic challenges, the physical demands of tattooing must not be overlooked. Tattooing is an act of endurance for both artist and client. Every tattoo is a labour of love, a sacrifice in the name of art. And yet, the reward is immeasurable – the priceless look of satisfaction on the client’s face when they gaze at the finished masterpiece in the mirror.

A Glimpse into the world of Goorazz

Goorazz resides in a treasure trove of ink and inklings. He’s travelled a path from the outcast subcultures of 90s Poland to the forefront of modern tattooing. His favourite canvases are the ‘public’ spaces – hands, fingers, necks, heads, and faces, spaces that still retain an air of rebellion and rarity. He relishes the challenge of these unconventional placements, creating art that is as bold as it is beautiful.

He has a deeply personal approach to customising calligraphy scripts. Clients, often familiar with his work, entrust him with the creative reins. Through meaningful conversations, Goorazz uncovers the story behind the tattoo, ensuring that the design embodies the client’s values and emotions. It’s a collaborative endeavour, with the client and artist co-creating a design that resonates with both heart and ink.

Michael Goorazz Gorka Tattoo on The Table Read Magazine
Michal “Goorazz” Gorka Tattoo

Traditional and Beyond: Embracing Tattoo’s Roots

Tattooing letters is an age-old tradition, and Goorazz respects the rules that have shaped it. There are established norms for placement and style, and while they can be bent or broken for creative effect, the traditional underpinnings remain the foundation of his work.

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As Goorazz looks ahead, he yearns to explore beyond the realms of letters. The alphabets, in his eyes, are abstract systems, and he envisions a world of abstract calligraphy, where rules can be left by the wayside, and the focus shifts solely to shape and form. This pursuit will open the doors to more unconventional art, away from the constraints of scripts.

The Signature of Originality

What sets Goorazz apart from the crowd is a unique perspective on tradition and a refusal to imitate. His work is an intricate tapestry of influences, originality, and a deep-seated passion for the art. In an industry where authenticity can be elusive, Goorazz remains true to his vision.

Currently, Goorazz is crafting a series of designs that merge abstract calligraphy with a refined take on tribal styles, a nod to his early influences in the world of tattooing.  He is also working on an ink-on-paper tattoo flashbook, digital 3D visualisations of large-scale tattoo concepts, and exploring the realms of large-scale calligraphy on canvases and walls.

Find more from Michal Gorka now:

https://www.goorazz.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goorazz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoorazzTattoo

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