Who is the Mysterious Alex?

Since I’ve started this blog, two artists have caught my eye as being the best moto-tattoo artists out there. One of them is Sara Sabbah, who you’re already familiar with. Her Ohlin’s shock tattoo went viral across social media not too long ago.

And then there’s Alex Gershman, a.k.a. alex_besss on Instagram. As many avenues as I’ve tried, I’ve been unable to get a hold of her, perhaps because she only speaks Russian? The text for all her photos is in a language I don’t understand. I reply with no answer, maybe because she doesn’t understand me either. I know nothing about her. The only glimpse into her live I have is her Instagram. What I do know is she rides and her work is amazing.

Perhaps it’s on odd synergy that both of my favorite moto-artists happen to be women. Maybe women connect with motorcycles more deeply than men which enables them to truly embody the passion for riding in their work. Whatever the case, I’m completely infatuated with Alex’s talent. I just had to share some of her photos here so you could see what I see on Instagram on a daily basis.

It’s because of artists like Alex and Sara I feel so passionately in love with both tattoos and riding. They can physically show what I feel which almost makes me think all motorcyclists are connected in some way. To think that the feeling of freedom and love for riding could be so efficiently captured by the stroke of a needle or pen is baffling and breath taking at the same time. I hope to see more work from both of them and many more…if I can find them.

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Neophyte Tattoos a.k.a. Sara Sabbah (Ohlin’s shock artist)

Ohlin's monoshock leg tattoo by Neophyte Tattoos of Vicious Tattoo Gallery in Montrel, Quebec, Canada.

Ohlin’s monoshock leg tattoo by Neophyte Tattoos of Vicious Tattoo Gallery in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

She’s a 21-year-old rider and tattoo artist from Montreal, Canada, who is the genius behind the Ohlin’s monoshock tattoo that has recently gone viral. Sara, a.k.a. Neo may not be the action hero from the Matrix, but she rides and that’s all that matters. She began her journey to the two wheeled realm on a cruiser, but now she owns a 2006 Suzuki SV650S. She’s been riding for roughly three years and loves to travel on her bike. “I just throw some saddlebags on and disappear for a day or two,” she says. We were able to get in touch with Neo and find out a little about her, her ink work and the Ohlin’s shock tattoo.

MI: How long have you been tattooing?

Neo: I became an apprentice at the age of 15, so I’ve been tattooing professionally for about four-five years. It’s the only job I’ve ever done.

MI: How did you get into tattooing?

Neo: Well, when I was in high school we had this special program where we would intern at our dream job for credits. I used it as an opportunity to get as much school in as I could while I pursued my apprenticeship. I went out and found it myself. I had this little sketchbook full of scratchy art work and…well, potential. I stuck my foot in all the doors until someone gave me a chance. It was a hell of a bumpy road but I was lucky and got in. 

MI: Where do you derive inspiration for your work?

Neo: I get inspired by my clients, always. I ask them to bring reference images so that I can get into their heads, see what they want to see. I research a lot and always try to get a step ahead of myself with each piece.

MI: What challenges do you face as a female in a tattoo shop?

Neo: I faced the same challenges anyone else would. Each place has its own set of issues, regardless of gender. In Montreal, the female artists are rare so they are totally rocking the industry! After working in a couple of shops, I decided to open my own private studio so I could serve my clients in a more relaxed environment. It’s the best decision I ever made even though it’s a ton of work. It also permits me to travel a little more, which is perfect because I want to do some guest spots outside of Canada.

MI: How hard is it to do 3-D tattoos?

Neo: Each artist has their strength. I wouldn’t be able to put it on a scale of difficulty. It just takes time and patience on the artist’s part and the client’s.

MI: Tell me the story behind the Ohlin’s shock tattoo.

Neo: The client is a biker acquaintance of mine. I’m not sure what his meaning behind it was, but he asked me to do it at a bike night and my face lit up. I know he has a Yamaha but I’m not sure what model. All I know is that it’s fast, lol.

MI: Tell me about some of your tattoos.

Neo: I’ve got an entire leg of comic book characters partially done by Melissa Valiquette of Sin City MTL and a few other geeky things here and there.

MI: Do you think motorcycle riders are more likely to get tattooed?

Neo: I don’t think riding and tattoos come hand-in-hand unless you’re in some sort of biker gang, but I believe what connects a person to their tattoo is something that they are passionate about or something they find beautiful. Riding can be one of those things 🙂

MI: Tell us about how you got into riding motorcycles.

Neo: When I was in my early teens, I wanted to accomplish two things in my life: become a tattoo artist and ride a Harley. And I did it…well not the Harley part. My first bike was a custom and then I decided to go for something a little more maneuverable like the SV.

MI: What do you like most about riding?

Neo: I just love the freedom! Every destination becomes an adventure and it is just a wonderful lifestyle.

MI: What’s something you hope to do on a motorcycle someday?

Neo: Interesting question…I would say stunts, but my common sense disagrees.