Adrenalink Tattoo

Tatuaggi dal 1993 a Venezia


How you passion for tattoos start?
It’s a difficult question… we need to study a lot if we want to do Japanese tattoo seriously. To understand one thing, need to know 10, to know the 10, need so study a hundred. It is not easy and probably never end. I didn’t have a passion to study in the beginning, I just had to. But after that I felt a little more confidence to tattoo, and started to feel a passion. It came after effort.

You started tattooing many years ago, could you explain how did you learn? Was is different for you like a woman?
I wasn’t apprenticed to anybody but I feel wrong to say I did “self-learning”. Many tattooers gave informations to me on the way of traveling around the world. For example about machines, inks, needles,I met many kind people even I couldn’t speak english very well.

I never felt different because I’m a woman… but maybe people opened mind more easily because of that?

In Japanese tattoo there are many aspects that create its beauty, which are the most important for you?
Background and composition.

Is it important the ethics in being a tattooer?
I think so. When customer have wrong idea, we should stop ourselves to do it.Of course there is no rules and it’s up to each artist, I mean we shouldn’t do if we don’t think it’s cool. It’s important to care like a family.

Is it different studying a female bodysuit from a male bodysuit?
Yes,I think so. I don’t like a woman look like a man because of the shape of bodysuit. Both can be powerful and elegant but in a different way…actually I’ve never done any female bodysuit!

Are there any subjects you like the most?
Rocks. It’s very fun to do.

Which are the artists that influenced you the most?
I was influenced by some great artists, but If I choose one, it’s Rico, my husband. We’ve been tattooing together more than 13 years (already!!). We shared all informations and opinions about tattoo so absolutely it influenced. I learned a lot through his words!

Nowadays, which are the differences to be a tattooed woman in Japan and Europe?
Tattoos call attention regardless of sex or country. I feel like I call attention in Europe more because I’m an asian tattooed woman. It’s just because of difference.

Japanese Politics are doing a new law about tattoo, getting ready for the Olympic game in 2020. In your opinion, something will change? Tattoo is still illegal in Japan…
To me, it seems like who want to legalize tattoo most is government so I guess it will change.


  • Scritto il 17 aprile 2018 alle 16:13 da Kaya
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Ichi Hatano: Interview by Crez

During one of my frequent journeys around Japan I’ve had the chance to meet Ichi Hatano, the first time at a “cat cafè”, so unusual place, but so funny memory, we became friends, and I’ve guested him at Adrenalink few years later.

Ichi works and lives in Tokyo, he is a very dedicated tattooer, with a very classy and bold style, his tattoos are strong and very well executed, here we go with the same questions I’ve posed to several other colleagues in this blog, enjoy.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
In 1996 I started getting tattooed by an artist in Naka-Meguro, Tokyo, from there I began an apprenticeship with him in 1997 and became a professional in 1998.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
I have always believed I can be better, even at a young age I was striving to be better. The process to achieve better results takes time and I am always continuing to improve my work.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process ? (Speak about your drawing and painting routine)
I believe painting has played a major role in my learning process. Since 2000 I have been going to LA once or twice a year, and always spent as much time as I could painting and learning with my friends out there.
Back in 2000, almost 18 years ago I met and stayed with Jiro (of Onizuka Tattoo), in the apartment next door was an artistic professor who offered to teach us how to draw. Although it was just a small amount of time, it is a great memory for me.

I also have spent much of my time in LA creating pieces. In 2008 I was invited to participate in the art show ‘11×14’ and from there ‘Art of the dragon’ in 2012, ‘Irezumi art show’ in 2013 and a range of other exhibitions. It was (probably) at the ’11×14’ show that while I was painting I caught the attention of Luke Atkinson (Checker Demon tattoos in Stuttgart) and he reached out to me, saying “please participate in the Fudo myoo exhibition” which he organized. I was overwhelmed and could not have been happier. Since then I have been to visit Germany many times.

Since then I have been invited to participate in many other exhibitions, press and book prints. For me this has meant I spend a lot of my time painting for exhibitions etc, however I now do not spend much free time just painting.

I see my tattoos as an extension of my art, which is why I free hand draw my pieces straight onto the skin with Japanese style brush pen.

Right now I am currently studying ‘Shodou’ (Japanese calligraphy).

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture? (punk , dark, metal, rock and roll, rap….)
I love music, but I was not really into any specific subculture. I did ride a motorbike as a teenager. My hometown was by the coast in Ibaraki, so a lot of my friends would spend their days surfing.

If you have to pick 3 tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
Just choosing three artists is a pretty difficult task. Every generation, every country, every culture had its own different styles and masters. For about 20 years I have been good friends with Small Paul, he is currently tattooing my own back, he taught me so much about LA local culture as well as introducing to so many great people in America. He taught me things I never would have learnt in Japan, like carving a pumpkin for Halloween, and how to cook a really good thanksgiving turkey.

In 2000 while I was in LA I met Ivan Szazi. Back then my English really was not very good and we could not speak a lot, but one thing that really sticks with me was after I came back to Japan he sent me a photograph of him and his friend painting with a letter too. This was still before email was not that common, I still have it and the photo has so much value to me.

Lastly, of course Crez, we met about 6 years ago in Tokyo, Okinawa, and then of course meeting and hanging out in Venice. I still remember the incredible food that you cooked and introduced to me. The fresh Mozzarella cheese at the market, the fresh fish, it was all unbelievable. Also, when we met last year at the London Tattoo Convention was really great. I have always admired how much you are always pushing and challenging for new things.
Also, when you came to Tokyo and introduced me to Mr. Kakimoto aka Yokosuka Horihide, having that opportunity to meet him before he passed away and hear some unbelievable stories, was something I could not quite believe and will never forget.

There are so many people that have inspired me up until now and will continue to throughout my future.

From when you started, how has the business evolved?
I read in an anthropological book that since 20 or 30 years ago the Japanese tattoo artist population has increased by more than 100 times. In the past 20 years, with the introduction of the internet, no matter the industry or where you are a from it feels like we are seeing rapid change in all types of business. What the average person now feels about the changing environment I could not possibly say, but maybe it’s changing for the better.

Machines (rotary or coil), Tebori (hand tools) or both? what’s your choice? Why?
I use machines. At the beginning I used a coil but now I am using a rotary. Simply put it fits my style.

Can you list a Top five of your favorite visual Artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion.

I really like contemporary art, however to answer your question I will focus mainly on Eastern artists.

Wáng Xīzhī 303-361
Kūkai 774-835
Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849
Keisai Eisen 1791-1848
Utagawa Kuniyoshi 1798_1861

I really appreciate the philosophy behind each artists’ individual work rather than the art itself.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
In my opinion, it is not just Japan but there are many other countries and cultures that still do not accept tattoos. That is why I actually feel that this is a special chance for us as artists. In this generation, there is a chance for this industry to contribute more to society and culture, and show that there is something important in what we are doing.

What’s the most challenging subject for you and why.
I’m not sure if this is actually the most challenging thing for me, however in June I have a painting exhibition in a small Tokyo gallery for my 20th anniversary as an artist. This is a turning point for me. Once everything is in place I will publish all the information on my site and social media.


  • Scritto il 10 aprile 2018 alle 14:18 da Kaya
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Ten-Ten Tattoo: Interview by Crez

Some years ago I’ve had the chance to cross Australia by van from Darwin to Melbourne. While I was around I’ve contacted Adam to set up a meeting at his place, and we’ve spent some days together talking about tattooing and Japanese art. We’ve found to have a lot in common. I really admire his work and his dedication. Adam is a shy person, so you will not find his picture attached to the interview.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
I started tattooing in 2004. I was 30 years of age. Being tattooed at age 16 sparked my interest in tattooing. After years of drawing and door hopping tattoo studios in Sydney I was unable to attract an apprenticeship. This didn’t happen for me. I had then teach myself. After having years of drawings and a small handful of photos of my tattoos I took a 3 day tour of Melbourne tattoo studios and was offered a job.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
I haven’t yet. I feel because there are to many variables with personal growth and with working with skin. Sometimes it flows but for me it’s always quite a big challenge. Because I am primarily self taught, I feel I’m always behind the 8 ball.Do you consider painting a part of your learning process? Tell me more about your drawing and painting routine…
Yes it is. Drawing/painting for me is compiling practical foundations like muscle memory and ironing out blockages and allowing freedom of my hand. Painting is for purging, an outlet to produce Japanese art and its culture.Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture (such as punk , dark, metal, rock and roll, rap)?
Rock music from the 70s and the 80s made it mark on me. It’s rebellious nature I can understand.If you have to pick 3 tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
The first is Yokohama’s Horiyoshi 3, because back in the early 1990’s information photos etc were hard to come by and I found his work and was drawn to it due to his attention to detail, wisdom and natural talent. Next is Yokohama Horimitsu 1st for his raw spirit, organic hand and conviction towards The Japanese Tattoo. Then a friend of mine, Yozin from Ume Tokyo. I love his childlike energy towards Japanese tattooing and his endurance. He is an inspiration! He has a good human approach.From when you started, how has the business evolved?
In the past from my experience, word of mouth was how I learnt what was good from bad. The internet has its good points and bad points. Good points. It has given us the chance to look into things that were hard to obtain in the past. Information and communicating which in the past was much harder to do due to older values. I think business has not changed just morals and the platform on which we show ourselves and our work. Tattooing is a wonderful and expressive job/career. Because there is no governed body for tattooing I chose to be realistic and responsible for myself and my tattooing. This is important foundation of mine. The internet has made many things accessible. Good! But too much? Tattooing seems to be accessible to anyone now? It is free to be a tattooist.

I’m not about personal control but do believe in quality control or self control for ones part in tattooing.

Tattooing has always been a rebellious trade. Reading between the glorious aspects of tattooing seems to be overlooked these days. I work hard to be responsible for what I can add towards tattooing while I can keep tattooing. This is my part in the ever changing landscape of the internet. All we can do is try our best for the bigger picture around us not just for the one we’re tattooing.Machines (rotary or coil),Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
All have their advantages. Rotary for me, because tattooing has made a impact on my hearing and for longevity on my body.

Can you list a Top five of your favorite visual Artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
Hokusai: because of his versatility and organic artistic wisdom. Maruyama Okyo: for it has a great amount of old feel. Great technique and control. Yoshitoshi: somehow his work is so loose but made it translate. Utagawa Kuniyoshi: a foundation for tattooing. Horyoshi 3: I feel he is one on the last of the old artists of the past. He has carried the old into the new and infuriating echos of the past into the new. He is a core the future.How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
Japanese tattooing throughout history has been banned and survived. It will always will.
The fact that in the past it was underground made it more appealing. The reason why people get so bored is because everything in life is easy to see and obtain. Things that are hard makes it more exciting to find out.What’s the most challenging subject for you and why?
It’s all hard. The same motif that works one client work may not work on the next. For me it’s all hard because everybody’s differently unique.

INSTAGRAM: @tententattoo

  • Scritto il 22 marzo 2018 alle 15:35 da Kaya
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CINQUE MINUTI (più o meno) con …

A new project is coming at Adrenalink!

What could be more interesting in having a lot of fantastic guests that work at Adrenalink Tattooing during the year?
But, interviewing them of course!

It’s a unique opportunity having the chance to chat with tattooers with different Histories, backgrounds, experiences; artists not only from Italy but from all over the world that share with us, and you, their lives.

So, STAY TUNED because our first guest is ready to share and, I have to say, in an unconventional but cosy setting as only Adrenalink could do.

Who will be?…

  • Scritto il 2 marzo 2018 alle 16:31 da Kaya
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Rodrigo Melo is a good friend of mine: I love his works, his philosophy and his sense of humor. We’ve met in Amsterdam and kept hanging out as much as possible. We’ve worked together both in Venice and in New York, and traveled together a lot. We’ve many common friends and a very similar taste in tattooing. I’m very happy to have the chance to interview him, this guy has a lot of cool things to say.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
My interest in tattooing started with my older brother Alessandro. Being 6 years younger than him I looked up to him. My brother was always into alternative things. One day he came home with a tribal spiral kind of tattoo, I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. He told me stories of how the tattoo artist had a monkey in a huge cage in his apartment and how he use to sell weed to Cypress Hill, all this while living above a police station. For as long as I could remember drawing was something that I always enjoyed. Around the age of 15 my interest in becoming a tattoo artist was sparked. I started to collect tattoo magazines and submerging myself in the culture anyway I could. I would go into tattoo shops asking for an apprenticeship, they would tell me that I couldn’t even be in the shop because I was under 18.

I began saving my pennies from working after school with my father making cabinets. Put that together with some money I got from my grandmother for Christmas and ordered a Spaulding and Rogers tattoo kit from the back of one of my tattoo magazines I was collecting and studying at 16. It wasn’t until I met Harry Seda in Puerto Rico that I started really figuring things out. Harry was the first good tattooer that I became friends with. I never got a formal apprenticeship from Harry but I got tattooed by him and Harry was always open to answer all my questions. He introduced me to the magnum needle that changed my tattooing forever. We are good friends upto today. The first job tattooing I got was because of his recommendation. It was a studio that no longer exists called Casa de la Raza in Old San Juan Puerto Rico. I was 1997 I was 18.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
This is a tricky question… I’m still working on my technique. I think it took me at least 7-10 year before I had a better grasp on what I was doing.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process? Tell me about your drawing and painting routine…
I truly believe that you need to have at least 2 mediums to be a well rounded tattoo artist. Painting for me is just as important as tattooing. The more I paint the better tattooer I become. And vice versa. Now when I say painting, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way a fine artist. What I call painting most people would consider a work study. I only really paint tattoo theme ideas, and yes they are a tattoo study. I personally believe that paper is the best place to practice, not skin. Whenever I have a title I would like to tattoo I first make a painting of it, that way I can show it to customers and hopefully eventually someone will give me the privilege of tattooing it on them. Painting also helps me as a way to release my inspiration. Whatever I feel like painting I can, at any time. No need to wait around the shop for someone to ask for it. You would be waiting forever.

I use FW Liquid acrylic to paint using some watercolor techniques on Arches paper. I find it similar to tattooing because it’s a one shot deal. Once it dries it doesn’t move so you can do layers similar to tattooing. This is just my personal preference. I got put on the the FW’s in the early 2000’s by a great tattooer that I admire and was tattooed by from Philadelphia PA called Martin Lacasse. I also like to draw with pencil directly on the paper no tracing or tracing paper. I find that by doing it this way I keep my imagery more simple, I tend not to over do the detail as much. Also I find it that the more times you trace and trace the less and less soul your paintings have. At least for me. I feel like that in this style repetition is important, drawing flowers and background over and over, until the point that you can draw anything with your eyes closed. Eventually you can freehand a tattoo. This is the point of it all the drawing and painting. Stencils are great and at times necessary and I would not be where I am without them, but to me freehand is the absolute best way. The most raw form of the art. I paint as often as I can. I am fortunate to have a wife that is an amazing artist and also likes to paint. So we put on some conspiracy theory podcasts and paint the night away. Well…now mostly during the day since we have a little newborn at home.

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture? Punk, dark, metal, rock and roll, rap?
I was always into music from a very young age. At home my father would constantly be playing music, mostly Samba and other Brazilian music like Soul and Funk from the 60’s and 70’s. Growing up in New York City I was exposed to many subcultures. I would have to say that skateboarding was a big thing for me as child. I think that being an immigrant and growing up in New York City really opened my mind to lots of genres of music. Hip-Hop, Punk Rock and Reggae, New York Hardcore, Electronic, Metal, and Classic Rock. I never stopped listening to Brazilian music, and I got into some more Latin music after living in Puerto Rico for few years. I always had a very eccentric taste in music and still do, I get bored listening to just one genre. As far as tattoos are concerned, the Punk Rock and Hardcore scenes were by far the most inspiring.

I remember going to see punk and hardcore bands play on St. Marks in a place that no longer exists called Coney Island High with some friends.

Then after we would walk to the subway station and talk about some of the tattoos we saw that night in the pit. It was normally on some huge dude with a tribal gargoyle backpiece or a burning skull on the side of some crazy skinheads face or some dude with a crown of thorns tattooed on the head. Just talking about it brings me back. Things were simpler then. Eventually I started to link the tattoos with the artist that were getting busy in New York at the time. Every time I’d ask someone where they got tattooed they would say things like “I got it in Brooklyn with this guy Mike” or “I got it in L.E.S with this Lady Andrea” or “Oh yeah this was this guy Tony in his basement”. Back in those days nobody knew anybodies last name and it didn’t matter, those who know, know who I’m talking about. Because having a tattoo shop at that time was not legal, nobody was really advertising either. So, yeah, to answer your question subculture definitely played a part in me wanting to start tattooing. Going against the grain always had a great appeal to me, and I still live my life this way.

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
Wow! This is a hard question. There are way too many to mention because I have been through so many changes since I started in 97’. Ok so I couldn’t honestly do an interview without mentioning Ivan Szazi. He has definitely been a huge inspiration to me. The direction of my work completely changed after I met and got my backpiece done by him at his studio Four Elements in Sao Paolo, Brazil. At the time I was tattooing for about 10 years. I think it was his bold aesthetic. It was the first time that I saw someones work that was so clean and legible in a classic Japanese style. I was also attracted to the solid coverage and especially the heavy black. I remember thinking that this was the kind of tattoos I wanted to do. One of the most underrated artists today in my opinion. I also have to mention Rico and Shion of Daruma Goya in Japan. I met Rico around 2003 and Shion soon after. We became friends and I had the privilege of working with them and getting extensively tattooed by them as well. I learned allot about Japanese tattooing from them. I really appreciate the authentic approach to traditional tattooing that they have. The knowledge behind the designs. I am lucky to know them. I know that you asked for 3 artist but I’d also like to thank and mention you, Crez, for being such a cool guys and for being so open with your knowledge. You seriously know your stuff. I thing we met you and Stefy at the opening of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum quite a few years back now. I learn something every time we hang out. I still remember you telling me that you buy at least one machine a year to try and experiment, I think it’s great you have such an open mind to new ideas and technology.

From my experience I found most tattooers to be very closed minded and hard headed when it comes to their equipment and technique.

In some ways I can understand, because it takes a lot of time and effort just to be able to get it in right. So a lot of people are afraid to change what works for them. I know because I was one of these people. But you inspired me to break that idea. And that has been a big step forward for me and my work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you on the record for putting me on to cartridge system. Something I would probably never try if it wasn’t for you. It is literally the biggest and most positive change in my tattooing since I found out about the magnum needle my first year in. I have been wanting to go all disposable at my shop for a while but never did because I just didn’t like lining with a plastic tube. I don’t know, something about it didn’t feel right. I had already been using rotaries to shade for some years at that point, mostly because of the weight. Heavy coil machines were getting to my hands. Doing mostly large scale work will do that to some of us. I had seen some people work with cartridges before. But I was never sold on them because at the time cartridge tubes were not disposable. So when you did a guest at my studio North Star in New York City and showed me how you were using a disposable tube in combination with the cartridge system, I really liked this idea. Once I tried using that setup, it was a wrap. It defiantly simplified my equipment a lot, thus simplifying my life.

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?
A lot has changed since the time I started, most of all the biggest change has been in the amount of new tattooers out there. It is really mind boggling. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that tattooing is mainstream now more than ever before in human history. I remember when I was walking around the east village looking for an apprenticeship and one guy in a shop told me “You want to learn how to tattoo NOW? It’s too late, there are already way to many tattooers in the world already.” And this was 97’. I guess no one could of guessed what would happen.

Machines (rotary or coil), Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
I truly believe that if you practice enough you can tattoo well with any set up. Nowadays I like using direct drive rotary machines in combination with a disposable cartridge system.
I prefer the light weight, consistency and the no give strength of the direct drive. I love that I have the same setup no matter whether I’m working at the studio or traveling doing conventions and guest spots. No guess work or adjustment period, always on point. Don’t get me wrong. I love coil machines and think they are super nice. Most of my career I tattooed with coil. Iv done woke bodysuits with coil. But if I was to keep tattooing for as long as I could, I had to find something lighter. As an artist your hands are all you have.

Can you list a top five of your favorite visual artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
I don’t know if this is a question I can honestly answer. I believe that we are a product of all we have ever seen. For this interview I feel it would be appropriate to mention some of my top inspiration for my work. Katsushika Hokusai, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Utawa Kuniyoshi, Utagawa Toyokuni, Okumura Masanobu.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
I feel like it is very unfortunate. I would not be surprised if this were to start happening all around the world. In Brazil they already have some law about what equipment you could use, and I hear other countries are having these kinds of ideas as well. I can only hope that with time things will change.

What’s the most challenging subject for you and why?
Most challenging for me personally is figurative subjects. Most of the time this involves much more knowledge as fas as story of the title. It is challenging, but also the most fun and one of the things I like doing the most as of late. I feel like you only really learn when you are challenged.


  • Scritto il 27 febbraio 2018 alle 18:32 da Kaya
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Yutaro Sakai: Interview by Crez

I’ve met Yutaro through his talented wife Claudia DeSabe, an old friend of mine. He is a very talented and humble tattooer, now working in London at the Seven Doors Tattoo. He has been tattooing in the US before and I really like his style, taking the direction of classic tattooing. This guy is really full of energy. Here is his answers to my questions… Enjoy!

When and how did you get started in tattooing?

I did my first tattoo in 1995 in Japan. I don’t want to go into detail but I borrowed my friends tattoo machines and tattooed friends of mine and myself. I move to California in 1996 and got an apprenticeship at HB tattoo in Orange County California and after one year of apprenticeship, I start tattooing professionally.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?

I honesty don’t remember. I feel that I am still progressing and wanting to improve to reach even better results… so it’s been taking 22 years and I know that I can make more progress.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process? Tell me about your drawing and painting routine…

Yes I really think painting is very important part of my tattooing. Up until two years ago, I was painting stuff has nothing to do with tattooing. But spending time with Ichibay and Horihiro from threetides tattoo in Japan, completely changed my mind. As soon as I started to paint more tattoo motives, I started to feel more improvement in tattooing. By exploring tattoo design in painting, I am able to organize my ideas and inspirations towards tattooing further. I try to paint as much as possible when time allows me to.

I have been painting Japanese back piece painting to work out many different ideas and inspire people to get lager work. I also paint loosely with sumi on japanese paper to practice looseness and spontaneous inspirations.

Before tattooing were you involved in any subculture (such as punk , dark, metal, rock and roll, or rap)?

I grew up with listening thrash metal music since I was 11-12. I remember I first saw tattoo on picture was misfits tattoo on Cliff Burton from Metallica. I had poster of him in my room.
Later I got into American motorbike culture and start seen tattoos on biker magazine. Growing up in Japan, I did not see any traditional Japanese tattoo unfortunately because they are so hidden.

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?

There are so many people who have been inspiring me and taking care of me that I am not able to only mention three.

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?

Japan has been hurting so much in tattooing industry due of unorganized health law. America has exploded since television and social media got involved with business. It is completely different industry compare to ‘96. I feel that people in America enjoys custom tattooing. I am still learning about tattoo industry in England.

Machines (rotary or coil),Tebori (hand tools), or both? What’s your choice? Why?

I use coil for outline and rotary for shading. I like feeling of coil which have more power, and I can use it like paint brush. I like rotary for shading and coloring because it feels like I can deliver the ink deeper to have maximum saturation. I have been practicing tebori on friends and I am going to try more and to be able to have choice either tebori and machines.

Can you list a top five of your favorite visual Artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion.

1. Hieronymus Bosch and Gustav Klimt: their work makes me feel so dreamy and been in different dimensions. I really like that.
2. Utagawa Family, Tachikawa Ryu: their very powerful style makes me feel strong and that inspires me a lot.
3. Hokusai Katsushik: incredible creativity and composition. So many different ideas to express drawing and painting. Always inspiring to see.
4. Kano School: epic proportions of works and many powerful and beautiful artists. Super progressive and classic at same time. Inspires me at all time.
5. Jakuchu Ito: in my mind, he has painted in unconditional love states. His works represent universe. Panting in universal states of unconditional love is my ultimate goal.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?

It needs to be changed. It is very unfortunate that Japan does not have law to organize actual cultural practices. There are so many young talents from Japan and there is no customer getting tattoos to express their art. This will be disaster for so many up coming young generations of Japanese tattoo artist who grew up in the soil of classical culture. I hope Japanese society to wake up and save our own culture which so many people in the world alteady appreciate and enjoy.

What’s the most challenging subject for you and why?

All Japanese subjects are challenging to me. Because their origin and own history of the design makes application as tattoo design very deep. It’s so simple there for complicated.



Crez interviews Brian Kaneko

I’ ve had the chance to meet Brian a couple of years ago. I was following his works from long time, he’s a humble and very smart colleague, I’ve enjoyed working side by side with him at true nature tattoo in Arcata Humboldt county northern California, he really gives the customer a great experience, like it should be. I love his perspective on tattooing, and the true love for the craft.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?

When I was about 15 my mom started dating a ceramicist. I was a kind of punk teenager and didn’t want much to do with them. One night he was trying to break the ice with me and ended up showing me a good sized koi tattoo on his thigh. It totally blew my mind. I had no serious interest in tattoos at that point, but I had been raised in a family of art appreciation and always loved to draw, and could tell that it was a really unique piece. He said a friend of his he went to school with at the Art Institute in San Francisco had done it. Then he showed me one on his arm that they had even done as a demonstration in class… turns out his friend was Ed Hardy.
I was totally captivated, and the next day he brought me all the Tattootimes to check out. I had no idea how lucky I was to have the first tattoo I really saw up close be a Hardy piece from the first year at Realistic, and the first tattoo publications I ever saw to be Tattootime.

From that moment on I knew that I’d be getting tattooed and my interest just kept growing.

I moved to a small town in Northern California to go to college in 1995, and ended up finding a local studio that kind of had art and designs that were similar to some of the things I had seen in those Tattootimes. I started getting a few tattoos, and eventually around 1997 got an apprenticeship and dropped out of college. Turns out the guy I started under had apprenticed with Bill and Junii Salmon at the Diamond Club in San Francisco. They came to guest while I was apprenticing, and that had a major impact on me. I felt a very strong connection with them and eventually started to go to SF as often as possible to get tattooed and hang out. Then that morphed into working there a a few times a year, traveling with them, and really getting taken under their wing and having my tattoo education kick into high gear. My view of the tattoo universe (and universe as a whole) was blown wide open, and my mind totally expanded.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?

I feel like I’m still trying to get proper results. Although it is so much less stressful to tattoo with the types of machines and supplies that are available now as opposed to the 90s. I certainly didn’t have it as rough as previous generations might have, but in a lot of ways you did have to be much more resourceful than these days. I actually think a lot about how grateful I am to be in the last generation of tattooers that got into it before the internet. Ordering supplies from one of like three supply companies, buying machines from builders via phone calls and letters, etc. Even drawing wise it’s so much easier now. Any reference you need is a click away. No more going to the libraries or used book stores to try and find reference for certain projects…

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process? Tell us about your drawing and painting routine…

I personally don’t consider painting part of my own personal learning process. If and when I get a chance to paint, its more of a reflection of the tattoo process. A way to create a tattoo image in much looser head space, with none of the stress and emotional involvement of doing it on skin. Drawing to me is the most important part, and if you can throw some color into it and make a print or whatever, that’s certainly a cool and fun bonus. But I feel like I almost need to save all my energy for the actual tattoos themselves. Where I live and tattoo, there isn’t much of walk in culture, and even the smaller tattoos have almost always been custom drawings. I’ve never had much down time to do paintings for myself, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been able to tattoo most of the subject matter that I’m interested in. I guess since all the drawing I do is tattoo related imagery, I’d rather just tattoo it…

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture (punk, dark, metal, rock and roll, rap)?…

No specific subculture… But from pretty young age I knew that I didn’t relate to or believe in the mainstream culture I grew up around. It always felt very foreign and fake to me. I guess tattooing was my first real subculture. A world where I was finally meeting folks who I could totally relate to and were basically on the same wavelength. There’s so many amazing people I’ve met and friends I’ve made through tattooing. One common theme has been that it takes little effort to get to know them and there really seems to be a shared trust and respect from the get go.

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?

1- Junii Salmon. She is without a doubt the strongest and most thoughtful person/tattooer I have ever met. She is the actual embodiment of the traits we associate with Japanese tattoo imagery (strength, wisdom, perseverance, compassion etc). Her understanding of Japanese tattoos and the etiquette associated with them, combined with having a truly visionary and poetic mind has been by far my biggest influence as  tattooer and human.
2- Horitoshi 1. In my opinion, the greatest living tattooer. His style has resonated with me since I very first saw it, and obviously it is the cornerstone of what I base most of my work off of. The immediate impact of viewing his work hits me in the gut every single time…it’s the ultimate mix of strength and finesse.
3- There are a handful of other tattooers that inspire me heavily based on their tattooing, work ethic, natural artistic abilities and overall quality as people (and that I am very grateful to call friends), but as far as inspiration directly on my work, I’ll keep it simple and stick with Junii and Horitoshi…

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?

I’m not really sure if I feel the business has “evolved”… tattoo culture has certainly gotten much bigger, but it seems like mostly fat and very little muscle. I think in a lot of ways the 70s-90s was the real peak for modern tattooing… a time and place thing that will never be repeated. Every generation will always most strongly connect with the music, books and art of their teens and twenties, so I’m definitely biased towards the artists and work I was exposed to when coming up. I think most people subliminally feel like there’s more soul or authenticity in the experience we had to the one the current generation is having. I can’t lie. It’s definitely inspiring to see so much amazing work on Instagram. But it’s kind of like eating candy all the time. This thing that used to be a real treat (getting turned on to new and amazing tattoo work) is now just part of the daily routine. Not quite the same as stumbling upon some amazing tattoo in an old book or magazine… or best of all… real life! Some of the most awe inspiring moments of my life have been viewing large scale tattoos up close in person. No picture will ever come close to that experience or do it justice. I do worry that a large segment of tattooers is coming up much more concerned with “getting the photo” than actually thinking about their relationship with the client, and how right the tattoo you’re making is for them. Curious how may people would still be into it if you couldn’t take pictures of your work… just did it with the satisfaction that you put real effort into making a nice tattoo, and the client is happy with it because ultimately it was a commission for them.

Machines (rotary or coil),Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?

Rotary. For the style of tattooing I do, a solid consistent hit with no variations works great. The logic when I started using them, as explained by friends of mine, was that the rotary hit was better to mimic a tebori look and feel. I’m also not a very mechanically inclined person, so removing all of the coil machine variables from my head space has been great. I use the same machine for lining and shading…fixed stroke length, no give, and the simplicity that provides really frees up the mind. There might be better tools for very certain applications, but for probably 90-95% of the tattoos I do I use the same size liner and shader and am doing a consistent style of background and color. I was reading recently how the famous samurai Musashi, at a certain point in his life just used a wooden sword for all of his duels. If his spirit and technique were in harmony, then it didn’t matter what weapon what he used. I’d like bring that idea into my tattooing…that the headspace and energy I bring to the session will show through in the tattoo regardless of what brand of machine I might use, or how polished the technique is. Too many choices and variables isn’t always the best thing…

Can you list a Top five of your favorite visual Artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?

No favorites. I’m honestly happy anytime I see any art that I connect with, or think is good.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?

I don’t live in Japan, so I couldn’t really say. I am obviously worried for friends of mine who tattoo there and who’s livelihoods might be a risk. Tattooing has always been looked down upon in mainstream Japanese culture, and I can’t imagine its been easy for Japanese tattooers over the years. But they’ve persisted this long, and hopefully will continue to do so. I think if you are meant to do something, you will find a way.
Instagram: @truenaturetattoo

  • Scritto il 14 dicembre 2017 alle 16:32 da Kaya
  • Commenti disabilitati
  • Crez tattoo

Manekistefy interviews Kanae

Some years ago I had the chance to meet Kanae at London Tattoo Convention, we spoke a lot about woman condition in Japan and how tattooing is developing in Japanese culture. I was very happy to share common feelings about being a woman tattooer doing japanese style, that’s not so usual! Kanae loves tattooing, her tattoos are solid and reflect her strong determination. She’s developing her own style, that’s one more thing that I like about her!

Let’s talk about the origins… How did your interesting in tattoo start?

Mostly it’s from music influence. I was in a band from when I was 17 years old and I had lots of friends who’s into Japanese hard core, Punk. Some of my friends had tattoos and I naturally started interested in tattoos. I liked tattoos, because it was underground, different, and strong. I started getting tattoos a little bit later, 21 years old. it took some time to decide to actually get tattoos and set my mind to live with it rest of my life.

When did you decide to become a tattooer?

I was 27 years old. I was introduced my teacher (Makoto/Hocus Pocus Tattoo) by my best friend who also was getting tattoos by him. I started getting tattoo by him. One day he was looking for an assistant for his studio, and asked me if i wanted to get the position. He said he could see that I love tattoos and that I was different from the others. It was great enough for me to do job with something I like. iId never got a job like that before, so I did my 100% naturally. I really enjoying working at the environment. Every day was so exciting and happy. Right after I started working for him, I decided I wanna be a tattooer. It took few month to decide… Being a tattooer in Japan wasn’t easy, and I knew this was gonna be life time serious craft work. I really needed to think well, and resolve myself. But at the end, I was like “Fuck it! I will just do it!”. Since then, everyday I’m happy and I feel so lucky to be a tattooer.

Which kind of difficulties did you find in Japan about learning tattooing?

Even today, Unfortunately Tattoo is still not popular and acceptable in Japanese society. Back in the day was still same. I don’t know if I can say especially difficult from learning tattoos ‘in Japan’. Learning tattoo is difficult in anywhere. Maybe there were some difficult things regarding the society, the culture and the generation. It took some years to build my own customers. Especially because I come from a small city. Mostly I couldn’t make enough money to live, so I had to find second job to pay rent and bills. That made me difficult to find time to sleep, because I didn’t want to cut the time for drawing and tattooing. It was physically hard and some people looked down on me because I am a female tattooer. But it gave me energy to push myself harder to get better. One of my customer told me after i tattoed him: “I didn’t think women can tattoo, but actually you can”. I took it as complement. I want to be a good tattooer and I would like people to do not judge me because of sex, age, race. And I am still trying.

You have a shop in London called “Nine Tails Tattoo” since 6 years. How did London welcome you? Was it difficult to open a shop in the city?

London is a big city, and very cosmopolitan. Everyone got opportunity pretty much equally. Having a tattoo shop in London was not so difficult, if I think about the situation in Japan. At least the landlord wouldn’t refuse you because it’s a tattoo shop! Just getting license took long time and that was stressed! And everything cost a lot. But luckily I had my own customers who follow me from the previous shops where I used work. I was nervous about it at the beginning, but it all worked out! Neighbors are so welcoming, so it was totally fine. I never advertised my shop, I wanted to take my time to build up REAL customers. I’m happy that I’m on a right track so far..!

You do Japanese style tattoo, which is very complicated and has a long history. In your opinion, which are the components that create a beautiful bodysuit?

I think the background is the most important part to creat a bodysuit. Background gives it energy, flow, depth, and strength. If the background is alive, the other motives are also alive. Personally I love strong looking tattoos. Having enough amount of black, and powerful movement give the bodysuit looks badass tattoo! It is difficult… I am still trying!

In your opinion, are there differences between creating a male bodysuit and a female bodysuit?

I haven’t done any full bodysuit to someone yet. But if I get chance to do it in the future, I would do strong powerful one with some warriors or dragons or something mannish images. For women, I would do beautiful flowers, phoenix or something with nice curve flow. Personally for female, I like sleeves but no background or back piece. It’ll look more feminine and suits to natural body shape women have.

Which are your favorite subjects in Japanese tattoo?

It’s definitely Dragons! Dragon is my biggest passion. It’s so strong but not scary way, Such a common subject for tattoo, difficult to draw, so much challenge for me to do it right. I want to do simple subject really cool. Dragon is definitely the one!

Which are the artists that influenced you the most?

My teacher Makoto, Kishi (56 tattoo), Hideo Uchiyama, Horiyoshi 2nd, Horitoku 1st, Filip Lue, Mick, Luke Atkinson, Horitoshi 1st, Asakusa Horiyasu, Yokosuka Horihide, Ed Hardy.
There are so many great tattooers… But my teacher always told me: “see what your master learn from”: like nature, old Ukiyoe. Of course learning from tattooers is very important, but what did they learn from? Learn from their roots. What those legends learnt from? I believe that’s gonna make big different for your possibility in the future.

How do you feel to be a woman doing Japanese Style?

I love it! I used to be a tomboy, so it all make sense to be interested in such a strong powerful tattoos. it’s a difficult challenge and it never end. It gives me the reason to live my life!

Nowadays, do you see differences between Japan and England in being a tattooed woman?

Oh yes, Big time! in England, people love tattooed woman! (at least as far as I know). In Japanese culture, most of the people don’t like stand out from the others. Comfortable to be average… Most Japanese men don’t like tattooed women, so naturally women try to be ordinal looking girl. Kawaii stuff. Also lots of people worry about how the parents will think about tattooed women when they get married. It could be a big problem. Japan looks like very advanced country, but some things are very conservative.
Instagram: @kanae_tattooer

Crez interviews Bunshin Horitoshi

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship when I was 20 years old. Two years later I became a professional tattooer. That is proved by my master.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
I m still trying to figure out the proper result.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process?
I paint as much as I tattoo. That’s because I can always get new ideas from painting.

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture such as punk, dark, metal,
rock and roll, rap?

Yes! Hardcore, metal, and punk!

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
My master Horikyo I: I got inspired by his color contrast, and by the way he calculated gray and black for background. All his colors and black shading have been solid for a life time. Marcuse (Smilin Demons Tattoo): for his drawing skills; for how he made the design and how it fits on the body shape. Also for the colors, which are so solid. And for his sense of humor. There are too many tattooers I got inspired by. It’s difficult to choose only three.

Can you list a top five of your favourite visual artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
Kuniyoshi Utagawa: dynamic outlining for the design. Just a legend.
Kyosai Kawanabe: fun drawing. More playful designs. One of my favorite artist.
Hokusai Katsushika: pefect designs. Showing skills about how to draw
Kazunobu Kano: incredible the details of design. Color contrast.
Jakuchu Ito: beautiful design and colors. Different way to style what he made.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
I don’t think it is banned. It’s Just a case. I try my best to make tattoo for my customers that’s enough to think about at the moment.

What’s the most challenging subject for you and why?
Ther are no challenging subjects. I would like to make my tattoo look solid like fresh tattoo for at least 30-40 years. I’ve seen my master ‘s artworks: they was like that and they still are solid.

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?
It’s been getting better and better.

Machines (rotary or coil), Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
I had been working by hand (line, color, shading) for the first five or six years. But now I’ve been using machine (coil machine) for the outline only, since last 10 years. I do everything else by hand. Using machine for outlining is faster than tebori. Also I can make it cleaner!… I can make it clean by hand as well, but it takes much longer. I care about the time of my customers. I can make the color and shading solid. And I actually have almost no experience with machine for color and shading.

Follow Bunshin Horitoshi on Instagram: @bunshinhoritoshi

Female figure in Japanese folklore @parione 9 gallery, Roma by Manekistefy

Dopo il successo di Dusseldorf, il format della mostra curata da Manekistefy rientra nei confini nazionali.
Il 15 Settembre, infatti, ci sarà l’inaugurazione della mostra intitolata “Female figures in Japanese folklore” presso il Parione 9 di Roma dove potrete ammirare una serie di originali, dipinte dalla Nostra Manekistefy, contenenti le figure femminali della tradizione e del folklore giapponese secondo l’immaginario e lo stile pittorico unico di Manekistefy.
Nella cultura occidentale l’idea della donna orientale è spesso, se non sempre, legata alla figura della Geisha. Nella tradizione giapponese invece essa può incarnare distinte personalità: eroina, guerriera, maga, strega o divinità. Tutti questi aspetti sono ben visibili nel corpus delle opere esposte, come ad esempio la Kannon Bosatsu, dea della grazia e della compassione e Benzaiten, protettrice delle arti.
Le radici della raffigurazione femminile in Giappone sono molto antiche e strettamente legate alle religioni dello shintoismo e del buddhismo. Essa
simboleggia l’anello di congiunzione tra l’uomo e la natura e trasmette all’universo forza e passione.
Female figure in japanese folklore conclude così un percorso iniziato a gennaio 2017 con la mostra personale Dragons di Crez, che analizzava un’immagine in particolare dello horimono: il drago. Crez e Manekistefy, compagni nel lavoro e nella vita, entrambi dell’Adreanlink Tattooing di Marghera, focalizzano il loro lavoro e la loro ricerca nella diffusione e nella conoscenza del mondo orientale.

Una tappa fondamentale e obbligatoria per tutti gli amanti della cultura giapponese.
Quindi se siete di Roma o se siete nei paraggi non perdetevi questa occasione!

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