Chaim Machlev was born and raised in Tele-viv, Israel with his mother, father, and two siblings. He worked with his father as a manager at a high-tech company for 7 years. He mentioned in an interview that he was doing the same routine over and over again every day. He also mentioned that he was always missing something in life. He knew he was destined for more. Chaim says that he’s always been a very spiritual person, but also thought rationally; he knew he was missing some creativity.
When Chaim was 29 years old, he saw a man with a sleeve of tattoos and he could not look away. I’m not sure if this was the first time he’s seen a tattoo or why exactly he was so inspired by this particular man and tattoo, but it made Chaim decide to get one of his own, his first tattoo. Once he got it, it was all he could think about.
He fell in love with the whole process; he found it spiritual and life changing. He was obsessed. Chaim would close his eyes and see forms of images and just draw.
He started doing lines, dots, and mandalas because he didn’t know how to do anything else. Keep in mind, he had no artistic background whatsoever. Chaim eventually got very lazy and started not to care about his job at the high tech company, because tattoos were all he ever thought about. All he wanted to do was practice sketching.
Chaim packed a couple suitcases and moved to india for one year in 2010 to study the culture and broaden his horizons on buddhism. This trip made him have an extreme deep appreciation and understanding for life. When he returned to Israel, he realized their was no room for creativity or individuality. It was his dream to create something that would represent the idea that our body is able to mesh with the tattooing tools. Something which is big enough and would look nice when the person moves and walks; something that would still not be threatened to people who see tattoos as something negative but will take more of a form of art. He knew he would never be able to accomplish this dream living in Israel. In 2012, Chaim sold everything he has ever owned and moved to Berlin, Germany. He chose Berlin because he knew he would be accepted and not feel lost. He couch surfed for three months till he was able to get his own place.
He finally found a tattoo studio that gave him a room to tattoo in.Even though he was doing this without pay, he still greatly appreciated the opportunity. His only clients were tattoo punks who didn’t care about the artwork on their body. After just a few short months, he began gaining his own clientele. One thing he always does at every single session, is beginning and ending with a hug. Chaim has no reference for the artwork he creates. His style is made lines and dots and his specialties are dot and line work, mandalas and ornaments. He says in an interview that dots and lines are things that are so simple but you can make them into a million different ways; it’s unlimited. These are things that he started out with, and has perfected them over a very short amount of time. He has only been professionally tattooing since spring 2012! I’ve seen artists tattooing 25+ years, and their work doesn’t come close to Chaim’s. On his website, he includes eight main different styles which are individualized, graced, spiritualized, harmonized, ornamented, paired, embellished, and collaborated. Individualized style is a lot of symmetrical and geometrical line work almost flowing this the person’s body, like an illusion. Graced is more ornaments and a lot of abstract shapes.
Spiritualized style is mainly very detailed mandalas. Harmonized style is 3-D geometrical illusional lines with an animal or object in the middle, popping out. I’ve never seen anything like this style; it is extremely different and interesting. Ornament style is signs of a lot of shading and many different elements of style combined. Paired is obviously two people with similar tattoos. The tattoos generally match and/or symmetrically go together. Embellished is mainly between the breasts or above the hood of the vagina, incorporating multiple elements of style. Lastly, collaborated is his designs mixed with other very talented artists designs. A new style Chaim is working on currently is called ster; this is what he had to say about it: “ Ster captures the moment in which a simple geometric shape pulses a life sign and becomes organic; strains this boundary while fully respecting the sacred laws of mathematics to create as much warmth as possible, and gives life to the environment with such a simple and ancient material.
Marking human flesh with black carbon ink or shaping a room with concrete, socialising or individualising, contemporary and primitive at the same time, permanency can project both strength and love, power and sensitivity, when treated with the right amount of respect and appreciation”. Chaim Machlev is such a beautiful, passionate soul; how can you not instantly fall in love with him? Chaim has recently started a program called Project24 which is a yearly donation event in which top class tattoo artists from around the globe are working throughout the night for a 24 hours period and all of the tattooing profits are donated to a chosen charity organization. Project24 started in 2014 and was a big success, and will continue every summer. Chaim said that he organized the first Project24 in order to give something back through tattooing, Tattooing changed his life and he felt that he needed