1. What has been your vision now that you are an artist outside of your country? Do you feel any change?
Totally! Honestly, only travelling and going to conventions, arriving to another country, and meet new artists have taught me a lot of things. Things you do not learn watching on pictures on the web. This has been for me an important part of my evolution. Sharing with different artists has helped me a lot: from the way I see things when designing to getting better with my technique and follow a continuous improvement.
2. As an artist, do you think travelling or meet new frontiers are essential?
I believe strongly and I am sure that traveling is an important quality for any artist. I think from the moment you step another country your mind feeds from the architecture, language, culture… Moreover, people from that country and the places visited are source of inspiration. It is unbelievable how incredible everything turns differently after being in another country. This is something that opens new doors. This is definitely something important for me and for any person who wants to learn.
3. Do you think a tattoo artist can achieve an evolution in his art without practicing drawing or painting?
For me, tattoos are a technique more in art but the base of everything is the drawing and painting. In general, any media you use to maintain you creating (digital design, illustration, painting or other method/tool) is important for any tattoo artist. That is the reason why we can see a faster evolution in a person who has good bases in drawing and painting (even though there are exceptions). To be honest, like it happens to most of the tattoo artists, we have a lot of appointments and we spend lots of hours sitting with our machines and we do not have time after to dedicate it to painting. But I truly think that it will always be important to have a day or few hours during the week to meet again our brushes and pencils.
4. What do think about the Reality Shows spell going on nowadays? Do you think it has positive or negatives aspects to highlight?
Let’s see… Like other things, I think it has its pros and cons. It is positive because thanks to it the tattoo culture has touched a lot of people, and that has generated a big growth of the industry. I think thanks to it, also, any person, no matter their age, have an idea about the tattoo culture and its artists. It has also decreased the taboo which has existed in some people when they see someone tattooed or with piercings. I am sure that television has been very helpful to the growth of the industry. Concerning the “less positive” side, I think that now a lot of people want to enter in this world because they think everything is how the TV show shows it. Now, a lot of people feel like tattoo stars just because they bought a tattoo machine. That has made that the essence of tattooing disappears: Art! Another detail is people thinking we can make designs and big tattoos in a few hours like in the show.
5. What do you feel is the most important thing you should let know to the client when starting a Project?
First of all, it is reminding the client that a tattoo is forever. They should be sure about what they want. Moreover, they should know they have to give a little bit of freedom to the artist and follow their recommendations concerning the design, color, and styles. Most of the clients come with an idea and the result not being the best when executing a tattoo. Another one is to be patient, because in a lot of opportunities the clients want a big tattoo with lots of details and they have to know that it takes time. They should not put pressure on the tattoo artist limiting us with time. It would be like asking a doctor to finish a surgery in a determined time and the doctor would have to sacrifice his work’s quality and security over time. Would not be good or fair, right? Well, I feel the same for a tattoo artist. In general, I think when a client is confident and gives a tattoo artist a project: he/she has to trust the artist. We have to remember that the tattoo artist is the first interested that the finished tattoo is well executed: Happy client with the expected result. The best option is to trust the tattoo artist.
6. Based on successes and failures, what would you recommend to those starting in this environment?
My advice would be to draw a lot, take their time to take classes or go to seminaries to learn from other artists. It is not only buying the machines and start. You have to take it really serious hygiene, be patient and be constant; do not take it as a hobby or just for money. This job takes sacrifices and requires lot of time and efforts. Try to start with easy designs before jumping into realism or things that demand a good technique. Remember that the people you will practice with will have that tattoo on their skin. Last but not least, never lose your north, fight for it, and give 100% in every tattoo you will make. Nothing is impossible!
To see the work from Jose Contreras please visit www.facebook.com/joseecd.art