– Hi! – Nice to meet you at last.
– Hi. Bartek. Ordinary people
in an extraordinary undertaking. – Come in. Coffee? Or tea?
– Coffee. Black as coal. Like my soul.
Hello! Robert. Nice to meet you. – It’s lovely and warm outside.
– Yes? I’m not a fan of tattoos.
Not that I don’t like them… That’s good that you’re not a fan, you’ll have your first one done
with me. You’re just a virgin. – The best contact is with them.
– You have tattoos. I’m not one of those people
who have loads. This is my little girl’s project, she had her first tattoo
on my skin. – You went mad and let her do it.
– It looks a bit like a willy but that’s between us.
A happy circle, a happy triangle. – From a child, that’s cool.
– 4 years old, her station ready. Full focus for her.
Spent a week drawing the design. – There you go.
– Thank you. Show me around. Some projects are being drawn here. It made me think of this, look. Is it from the Visual? The one done with paint. I know. He showed me it. This is about
to be on a 200-metre wall. The admin department,
the beautiful side of our business. You can sense the power in here. – Here we manage project delivery.
– Hiya! This is my business partner Karol. Maybe you could join us
in the meeting room? On this table lots of cool
projects must come into life. With our own hands, ten years ago
we made this table. When just the two of us
were in the business, we thought, it should be
half the size. Today when we hold our Monday
meetings here, just to catch up, as you can see,
a sofa has been added to it. The truth is we were doing any
and all marketing business. We knew we wanted to do murals.
Suddenly we got – a contract to do a dozen images.
– And boom, show time. We got the down payment. That was
money we never knew before. It didn’t get spent on new cars. We sat down, took a deep breath. We said, OK, let’s do it. We need this position, this one,
three computers. – And it kicked off.
– And it kicked off. You’re from Podkarpacie? I’m from a small town between
Rzeszow and Przemysl. I had friends in Manchester,
asked if I could stay with them. And look for something myself,
to earn some money. I worked at the post office. There were situations
when you had to clean toilets. I know the job well. When we were starting out, we didn’t have people
who would clean our office for us. And out in the field, under those
walls you happened to do all sorts. Clean up window sills,
so the image would look better. Between those jobs I would pass
by these tattoo studios and I’d stop at each and ask
whether I can ‘work’ there. That’s it, man. Determination.
It’s no coincidence. Tell me why you don’t want to have
your own studio in the city centre. We’ve been driving for 45 minutes
to Magdalenka. My clients don’t ask where I live,
where my studio is, just whether I have a free slot.
They come because of me. – It’s cool.
– Respect. So which client
came the furthest… – From Australia.
– He came to you to get a tattoo? He completed this journey
to get this tattoo. And despite you finishing
this tattoo and the client leaving, – you think to yourself…
– More. More! I’d like to give you more,
maybe you could stay with us. You’ll meet my wife, the kids.
I have a dog and a rabbit Damn! You have a club in here? Sometimes we have parties
in here for ourselves. – You dance here?
– You can do anything here. Not bad. Everything here tells my story
from the beginning. Every machine of mine, it’s like
a new place in a new country. The first machine, Manchester.
Next, Scotland. And Portugal. Everything made sense in my head. That there is love of tattooing. But through a difficult journey. The construction of this sofa,
that’s my work. Meat grinder lamps… All things that were in my head
and they came into fruition. When I go to the garage and make
these things, my wife just asks me, will you be back today? Before I see the message,
three hours have passed. – You’re in the swing of it.
– I will probably never finish it. You start something, go with the
flow, and then you say, enough. People who come here
notice all the skulls. They think I’m obsessed. That’s just
because they’re great to draw. There is such depth there… There’s the shadows,
the half-shades, it’s the only object showing
all this artistic effect. I sing “Ave Maria” beautifully.
People start crying. Go on, then! Ave Maria… This is our storage.
We have lots of stuff here. This is the place
where most stuff happens. – I’ll follow you.
– I’ll show you what’s there, because this is the exciting bit. That’s a cool command centre. Like a bridge on a ship,
which does what it should. Is it just degrees
with distinctions here? – What? Maks.
– Hands up. – Magda. No distinction.
– But A* grade work. At high school Karol and I
loved painting everything. With balaclavas on we’d jump and
go paint graffiti for ten minutes. We put a load of energy into it. It was what life was about. We used to warm up the paint
on classroom radiators so that in the breaks
between classes in the winter they’d work
when we were going out to doodle. This scale makes a huge impression. On the other side of the street
we’ve now painted a mural for the 100 years of independence. Another part of an old,
ugly tenement that we changed into something colourful that
people like to stop by and look at. And beyond that corner
there are no more images of yours? – There is.
– I knew it. You had to say that. You had to say that. Even though we painted
a few hundred murals, when I hear that someone wants
to paint the floor of the stadium or a huge lawn or the roof
of a hall so it’s visible, like an airfield, a runway. That’s amazing. These are the things,
something we’ve not done before. It’s new, we need to do it. In the global market there is one
larger company than us, in the US. Respect for that, man. If someone can do something well
and wants to show it off, that’s the people who win. Who like you or me go,
enter through the door and say, you will be my sponsor
or I’ll do these things with you. Have you thought to yourself, no, I won’t come out with this,
that or the other. – I often have.
– But it’s like with girls. You won’t meet her again. You see her on the floor,
ask her to dance with you. You won’t get another chance. Even more,
you can’t ask for a dance. You must take her and do it. How are you doing? Managing OK? – Yes, we are.
– Good. Just a moment. It’s best when the client comes
alone and not with someone. Because they start fussing.
You OK, sweetie? Alright, maybe this, or that,
a wee, or the other. A coffee, a tart.
Shall we get some air? – And you want to say, shut up.
– It’s true. You think, I’ll get up,
stick this in her eye. Always keep up the petroleum jelly,
so it’s smooth. You know. – I’ll get it.
– No! You don’t touch anything. How many tattoos have you done? You can’t remember. I remember all my clients but to
count them would be impossible. Plenty of history in this. Have you thought about what
you’ll be doing in ten years? This is how I see
my life in ten years. The summer by a Masurian lake and winter snowboarding
in the mountains. – So you really want to slow down?
– Definitely. Nothing is as enjoyable
as cooking with my kids. Making scrambled eggs
at home in the morning. I feel no pressure to keep going. Reaching any higher levels. I could be at the other end
of the world. I could be in Australia or the US. My life has changed
so much over the years that I never planned
any journey, any change. It’s also cool to stay in one
place with your family for years. But you can end up stagnating. Maybe. People grow up. New friends
come along, new contacts. These contacts support you,
give you new ideas. That’s what I love in my changes. What’s always motivated me to act is to do with what my dad used
to say to me. Who if not you? My motivation were
all the difficulties on my path, they gave me the strength to jump
out and feel like you have wings that can lift you above all
that is bad. And you’ll cope. I think this is the time
I’ve been aiming for. I’m really happy
about that, really. I think I’m the same. Who if not you? I haven’t painted in a long time. With graffiti it’s
like with bike riding. Similar, too. Let’s go. I was worried about the wings. That I won’t manage them.
The scale, the speed. I like you. That was good. Let me tell you, I just want
to hug you, lift you up. I like you too. Shall we jump? Three, two, one. Who the heck if not us? FEATURING SCRIPT AND DIRECTED BY PHOTOGRAPHY