Interview with Camilo Bastt

  Hello Camilo Bastt! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot having you here. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here sharing some of my work with you. I am a Colombian tattoo artist, residing in Bogotá. I started in the world of tattooing 13 years ago, during which I have dedicated a lot of time to learning and understanding many aspects that lead me to be a professional tattoo artist. To this day, I continue to seek improvement and understanding of aspects that help me achieve that goal.

Q: How old were you when you first got interested in art? Were you that artistic kid who loved to draw their superheroes?
A: I was 7 years old when I started getting interested in drawing. At home, we didn't have a television or toys, so my time was only spent drawing my heroes, which at that time were Spiderman and many characters from Dragon Ball. Over time, this interest led me to fall in love with drawing.

Q: Do you have any favorite artists that inspired you to try pursuing a career in arts?
A: I don't have a favorite; I believe that over the years our mindset and tastes are constantly changing and evolving. However, at the beginning, I had a lot of admiration for some artists like Guy Aitchison, Emily Rose Murray, Joe Capobianco, and Timmy B. They all have very different styles, but something I always considered they had in common was the cleanliness and definition in their work, which caught my attention a lot.

Q: What made you think tattooing could be a great choice for you?
A: I've always been clear about one important thing in my life: I prefer to dedicate myself to one thing and study it thoroughly, understand it well, rather than spreading myself across multiple activities halfheartedly. I didn't want to fall into the famous saying "jack of all trades, master of none." So, the day this profession caught my attention, I knew it was the path to express myself artistically and feel fulfilled, passionate, and eager to learn more and more.

Q: How did it all start? Did anyone help you in the beginning?
A: At first, I immersed myself in the world of tattooing on my own, researching until I found someone who showed me the way to start studying and refining my skills day by day. However, throughout my journey, I've been fortunate to have the support and advice of other experienced tattoo artists who have provided me with guidance and mentorship, helping me grow and develop as a professional.

Q: Three things you hated as a beginner and three you loved it?
A: As a beginner, I hated the uncertainty of whether I was doing a good job, the frustration when I made mistakes, and the anxiety of meeting my clients' expectations. However, I loved the thrill of seeing my evolution on someone's skin, the sense of achievement when I completed a design, and the connection that formed with my clients through the tattooing process.

Q: I like the variety. Seems like you love realism the most but there are also some other very cool designs in your portfolio. A beautiful mix of realism and surrealism... I guess you will be good at any style. Seriously! Do you have a favorite?
A: Thank you for your kind words! I truly enjoy exploring different styles and techniques in my work as a tattoo artist. While I have a special love for realism and surrealism, I can't say I have an absolute favorite. Each style presents its own challenges and rewards, and I relish the opportunity to challenge myself and grow as an artist by experimenting with a variety of styles.

Q: How about trying something completely different?
A: Of course! I'm completely open to exploring new styles and techniques in my work. Diversity is key to keeping myself creative and constantly evolving.

Q: How important is it to stick to one (main) style in order to gain recognition from the clients and fellow artists?
A: Following a primary style can be important for establishing an artistic identity and gaining recognition, both among clients and fellow artists. Having a distinctive style can help clients identify your work and be drawn to it. Moreover, developing your own style can garner respect among your fellow artists and within the tattooing community.

Q: Creative every day? Is it really possible? What do you do on days when you feel overwhelmed? A busy schedule is not a joke.
A: Being creative every day can be challenging, especially when you have a busy schedule and face overwhelming days. In those moments, it's important to take some time to disconnect and recharge. For me, that might mean going for a walk, reading, or simply taking a moment to relax and clear my mind. I also find it helpful to have a dedicated space for inspiration, whether it's in my studio or at home, where I can surround myself with art, music, or anything else that inspires me. Additionally, I try to maintain a healthy balance between work and rest to avoid burnout and allow my creativity to flow more naturally. In summary, while being creative every day can be challenging, it's important to take care of yourself and find ways to manage stress and overwhelm to keep the creative spark alive even on the busiest days.

Q: Are you available for bookings? Please write your email, social media links and your studio location.
A: Of course! I'm available for bookings. You can contact me via email at [agendacamilobastt@gmail.com], or find me on social media Camilobastt. My studio is located in Bogotá, Colombia. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you soon!

Q: Some designs are more difficult than others. How much time do you spend on a big sleeve tattoo? From sketching to the final design?
A: The time I spend on a large sleeve tattoo can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the client's preferences. From the initial sketch to the final design, it can take several sessions and weeks of work. It's important to take the necessary time to ensure that the design is exactly what the client and I desire.

- What if the client changes their mind? Do you redraw it or are there some special rules for this in order to save time and energy?
If a client changes their mind during the design process, we are open to discussing and making adjustments as needed. Sometimes, this may involve re-creating parts of the design or making significant changes. On the other hand, I wouldn't say it's a rule, but we generally clarify to my clients that if they choose to get tattooed by me, it's because, upon seeing my work, they know I'm the person they're looking for for their piece. This is to clarify that they will trust my process to bring their idea to life.

Q: Which technique is more challenging black and gray or color tattooing?
A: Both techniques have their own unique challenges, and the difficulty can vary depending on the specific design and client preferences. Black and grey tattooing can be challenging due to the need to create shading and details that provide depth and realism to the design. It requires precise control of contrast and tone gradation to achieve a visually striking effect. On the other hand, color tattooing presents additional challenges in terms of color selection, blending, and saturation. It's important to find the right balance between colors to create a vibrant and appealing design that also ages well over time. In summary, both black and grey tattooing and color tattooing require skill, experience, and attention to detail to achieve exceptional results.

Q: Do you have any favorite piece you did? When you look back you see it as a "level up" creatively and technically...
A: There are some pieces that stand out as favorites due to their complexity, personal significance, or simply because I feel especially proud of the final result. Looking back on these pieces, I see them as milestones in my creative and technical development, representing a higher level that I have aspired to reach. These favorite pieces are often those where I pushed my creative and technical limits, exploring new styles, techniques, or concepts. Each of them has taught me valuable lessons and helped me grow as an artist, inspiring me to continue leveling up in my work.

Q: If you could tattoo your friend, what would that be? Any special design in mind?
A: Of course, the trust my friend would place in me by allowing me to tattoo them would be an honor and a responsibility that I would take very seriously. With this trust in mind, I would seize the opportunity to design something truly artistic and deeply emotionally significant to them. I would work closely with my friend to understand their emotions, experiences, and core values. From there, I would create a design that reflects those aspects in a visually striking and personalized way. It could be a scene representing the inner strength they've shown in difficult times, or an image capturing their deepest aspirations and dreams. The goal would be to create a tattoo that is not only aesthetically beautiful but also resonates deeply with my friend's emotions and experiences, serving as a lasting expression of their identity and emotional journey.

Q: I bet your friends and family were super supportive when you were starting, how much does this mean to you?
A: I didn't really have the support of my family as they didn't like the idea of me pursuing this path. However, I found a lot of support from my friends, who actually introduced me to the world of tattooing because they liked my drawings and told me I would make a good tattoo artist. In the beginning, the fact that they were willing to trust me to mark their bodies with my early strokes was an act of support and trust that I deeply appreciated. Their support constantly reminded me that I wasn't alone on this journey and motivated me to strive even harder to achieve my goals and meet their expectations.

Q: Funniest thing that happened or was said during a tattoo session?
A: During a tattoo session, there's always room for fun moments. I remember once when a couple came in for tattoos, and when I tattooed the girl, who was the second one to get tattooed, she asked for her tattoo to be as small as possible and with a very delicate line, as she planned to cover it up later. This amused me a lot, as her partner got a half-sleeve tattoo with a lot of filler and a meaning of love towards her.

- How important is it to have great energy in the studio?
Having great energy in the studio is crucial for creating a positive and productive atmosphere for both myself and my clients. Positive energy can contribute to a more enjoyable and relaxed experience during the tattoo session, which can help reduce the stress and anxiety some people may experience. Additionally, good energy in the studio can foster creativity and collaboration between myself and my clients. When we're all in sync and feeling comfortable and excited, it's more likely that creative ideas will emerge and the design and tattooing process will flow more smoothly and satisfactorily.

Q: What about those who are indecisive? Do you suggest some of your ready-made designs?
A: For those who are indecisive, I usually offer suggestions based on my existing designs that can be adapted to their tastes and preferences. I show them a variety of options and styles that can inspire them and help them visualize what they would like to have as a tattoo. Additionally, I can offer guidance on what aspects to consider when choosing a design, such as size, skin tone, location on the body, style, and meaning. I work closely with them to understand their interests and personality, so I can recommend designs that fit their lifestyle and reflect who they are.

Ultimately, my goal is to help my indecisive clients feel more confident and excited about their tattoo choice by providing them with options and guidance so they can make an informed and satisfying decision.

Q: This profession is super demanding but also very rewarding. I don't think there's another job in this world that will give so much joy and opportunities for travel, personal development, and even financial success. Most importantly a job you won't resent. What do you like the most about being a tattoo artist?
A: This profession offers a wide range of personal opportunities that are truly exciting. Not only do I have the freedom to express my creativity and passion through tattooing, but I also have the ability to build my own business and personal brand. As the owner of my tattoo studio, I can set my own rules and schedules, providing me with flexibility and control over my time and career. Additionally, I have the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with my clients and be part of significant moments in their lives, with many turning into great friendships. Furthermore, this profession allows me to travel and meet new people and cultures, enriching both my personal and professional life. Through tattooing, I can connect with people from all over the world and learn from their unique experiences and perspectives. In summary, as a tattoo artist, I can achieve a sense of personal and professional fulfillment by building my own career in a field I love, while also having the freedom to explore new opportunities and grow both personally and professionally.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the near future?
A: In the near future, I see myself expanding my tattoo business and solidifying my presence in the industry. I am committed to further honing my skills and exploring new techniques and styles to offer my clients unique and high-quality experiences. Additionally, I am excited to start collaborating with other artists and participating in tattoo events and conventions to continue learning and growing in my career.

Q: In a few words, what would you recommend to those who want to try getting into professional tattooing?
A: To those who want to try professional tattooing, I would recommend the following:

Learn from the best: Seek opportunities to learn from experienced and talented tattoo artists through courses, apprenticeships, or mentorships.

Practice consistently: Dedicate regular time to practicing your drawing and tattooing skills to improve and perfect your technique.

Research and experiment: Explore different tattoo styles and techniques to discover your own unique style and develop your identity as an artist.

Build your portfolio: Create a solid portfolio with your best work to showcase your skill and style to potential clients and employers.

Maintain high standards of hygiene and safety: Ensure you follow the best practices of hygiene and safety to protect
both yourself and your clients.

Be patient and perseverant: The journey to becoming a professional tattoo artist can be challenging, but with dedication, patience, and determination, success in this career is achievable.