Interview with tattoo artist Camilo Gonzalez

  Hello Camilo Gonzalez! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot having this opportunity. Tell me about your beginnings, when did you start doing tattoos? What inspired you? I started tattooing in 2016. I’m not sure, I have always liked art, I wanted to live doing something that would make me happy and I fell in love with this world.

Q: Do you have any favorite artists?
A: I have many favorite artists, not just tattoo artists, it's hard to think of just one, there are many talented people in the world who have earned my respect and admiration.

Q: What part of becoming a tattoo artist was the most difficult?
A: I come from a humble family in a country (Colombia) with a lot of inequality, few opportunities and a shitty economy, so it was difficult for me to start because I didn't have a good job or the money to buy good equipment, nobody could help me and in those times my family didn't believe that I could make a living doing tattoos, so that made things a bit complicated, but I always tried my best to make it happen.

Q: Did you have any help? Are you a self taught artist?
A: At the beginning my teacher was YouTube, when I bought my first professional machine I had no idea how to assemble it with the grip or how I should use it, so I started to watch some tutorials and over time I have met many artists with whom I have shared and learned so much from each of them.

Q: What type of tattoos you use to do as a beginner?
A: When I started I did everything, I really wanted to learn and I knew that I had to experiment if I wanted to become a good tattoo artist, so I started with small things like texts, then big pieces and even some color tattoos. All in order to learn and find my identity.

Q: How long took you to figure out your creative direction?
A: I had always liked realism, since I was a child and I did my first drawings but when I started tattooing and experimenting with all the styles it didn't take long for me to fall in love with black and grey, however I am still experimenting and looking for my creative line.

Q: I love your style! Every tattoo looks amazing Camilo! How long took you to master this style, knowing the fact that this is one of the most difficult styles to learn and perfect precision is the "bare minimum" here?
A: Thank you very much, I really appreciate. I always try to do my best, I like to see beyond the good result and look for mistakes in order to improve them, but I think it's something that has taken me my entire career to master. I'm still learning and I know I'll do better with time but I will never stop learning. That’s sure.

Q: Sometimes even a very experienced artist can take long sessions to finish a big piece. What was the longest session ever?
A: Yes! Some projects take more time than others, either due to the amount of detail or their size. A few years ago I used to do long sessions, I remember doing a 12 hour session, but now it's different. For some reason I tattoo faster and I do sessions of 5/7 hours maximum but now I do larger projects like full arms that I have to divide into several sessions to finish them, I also usually do a few more sessions for touch ups to achieve a better result.

Q: What do you like the most about tattoo realism?
A: There are many things, I like the details in each texture, the volumes that are created through light and shadow, the effect of depth. I find it incredible to be able to tattoo those effects on the skin.

Q: Would you change something, like trying maybe color realism?
A: In fact, I'm working on that, I'm moving away from realism a bit, I'm more interested in surrealism, I'm trying to create different designs than what I've been working on all this time. I'm not really sure about using color, I really like black and gray, but I'm open to trying it at some point.

Q: Busy schedule, demanding clients, it's tough sometimes to do your best. What keeps you motivated?
A: We must always have a balance in our lives to feel good with everything we do, we must keep in mind that not everything is work (even if we love it) and dedicate part of our time to other activities that help us clear our minds. I love tattooing, for me it's like a ritual that connects me with myself but for that to happen I must be aware that it makes me feel happy when I tattoo, and that's why I don't usually tattoo everything that people ask of me, I try to be transparent with them and explain to them what my purpose is and my vision of art and thus be able to stay motivated, give them the best of me and be in harmony with myself and my creativity.

Q: Do you have any creative hobbies?
A: I really like graffiti, before I was a tattoo artist I used to paint a lot, today I dedicate my time to tattooing but still when I have the opportunity to paint or make a sketch, I do it and I enjoy it, but apart from that there are other things, like photography and the most important at this time is to travel, see places and different cultures.

Q: What are your plans for the near feature? Stuff like guest spots, travel etc?
A: Yeah. I plan to travel, visit other studios as a guest, move countries and go to conventions. Anything that can help me continue to grow as an artist.

Q: A few motivational words for those who want to try getting into this business?
A: Of course! This world of tattooing is full of incredible things, people, experiences and learning. It’s art and it’s important to have a certain passion for art and if you have a passion for it, do not give up, cultivate talent with discipline and effort to achieve great things. Don’t think so much about money because that can be counterproductive, money should see it more as a plus that comes over time if things are done right.