VISUAL STORIES with Tereza Nesnídalová

By Lucie_Sa_Vi | Photos and illustrations by _tessn_ | 6 MINUTE READ

A Prague-based tattoo artist and illustrator, Tereza Nesnídalová, grew up in an art-oriented family where all pursue a different form of art. Her father started to work as a glass engraver in the Czech Republic but soon set out on his own path, following his creative impulse.

From illustration and cartography, through glass sculpture to sculpture with natural components, he has done it all. It was Tereza's father who has always been her inspiration, although their styles differ.

Tereza had always enjoyed drawing people — a passion that accompanied her since her childhood well into the time of living her dream, entering the world of the fashion industry. She especially loved drawing women, in their diversity and distinct frames, and whenever she did not have a model, she let her imagination to guide her. Diversity among people, their physiology and different cultures was always her inspiration.

Her childhood dream to become a fashion designer has brought her to the industry. After graduation, she left for Australia, where she primarily worked backstage during fashion weeks as a volunteer to gain experience. The hectic vibe of the fashion shows has worked beautifully with her then 19-year old spirit.

After three years spent in Australia, she moved to Tokyo, where she immersed herself in Japanese culture and language and continue to volunteer in fashion shows. It was in Tokyo, where she started to work with photography as well, taking shots for a PR agency that worked with Japanese fashion designers.

After four and a half years abroad, Tereza had to return to the Czech Republic where she settled in Prague and started to work as a stylist, in close contact with model agencies and photographers. At that point, she already knew, she was not going to stay in the fashion business.

When I asked her when did she realised that the fashion industry was not for her, she answered it was already in Sydney. It was there where she first overheard a conversation of models in the backstage of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. They talked about their modelling agencies forcing them to lose weight. "I found it difficult to believe since they all were so skinny," she recalls. After hearing this conversation, again and again, she understood that there was an unhealthy approach to body image in the fashion world.

"I also noticed that there were almost no Asian or local models at the fashion shows in Tokyo, and most of the models were from Europe, Russia, America or Australia, all with light hair. Western culture is adored in Asia, and I started to miss the diversity I always loved in women and men."

Another crucial notion came later when she was already working in Prague for a local e-shop. "I saw hundreds of cloths coming in and out in a single-use plastic bags; all pressed in, some of poor-quality and they would just come in and go with a speed that frustrated me, and made me realise how consumption-oriented the business was. My final decision to leave came from my own growth; I started to care less and less about what I was wearing. After then, the fashion industry was no longer appealing."

Things have been changing, slowly, but steadily. "I think most fashion brands are now under pressure to be changing this approach, make more sustainable collections and offer to recycle their clothing. Upcycling is also becoming more frequent and so do the second-hand shops once again." The fashion industry, though, has still a long way to go.

"The main issue here remains with people who buy too many clothes that they do not need and trends changing so fast that there are more clothes produced than sold. There are already brands, which use leftover materials from large manufacturers. I think companies should be responsible for their trash and lower their production to what they can sell."

In 2018, Tereza started to work as a tattoo artist. She liked the fact that it offered freedom from location, and one could combine it with travel.

"I have a friend who is a tattoo artist and is well-travelled, visiting studios around the world. It took me two years to get into the business. I was lucky to be accepted as an apprentice by my favourite studio in Prague." That is what she has been doing ever since: tattooing and travelling.

However, her passion for art and curiosity keeps her searching for the next big thing. "Life is a non-stop search."

As most of the freelance artists and designers, she experienced the frustration that comes from the customer-related projects. You cannot put your soul in it as you need to follow the requests of your customers.

It also seems that each industry is facing some environmental hurdle. "In the world of tattoo artists, hygiene comes first. We use bio-degradable plastic covers for machines and cords in our studio, compostable trash bags and more. However, there is still a lot of waste produced during a single tattoo session, which cannot be recycled and is contaminated."

Although she fears change as any other person, she does believe in following her feelings and deciding what is best for her. As such, in the upcoming fall, she is planning a small exhibition intending to emphasise environmental issues with the use of safe, non-toxic, plastic-free, cruelty-free, natural, and upcycled materials. "I want to try to make natural pigments from things I can find around me in nature and then use it for paintings. I can always try a bit harder to make a change."

We believe we all can and will keep an eye on Tereza's endeavours.

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