tattoo Interview with Christian Perez by Iva Kanceska 27/02/2012

Q: What made you to become a tattoo artist?
A: I was 16 when I got my first tattoo and that experience was a turning point in my life, from that day forward I knew that I would be a tattoo artist, there was just something about putting art on someone’s body that captivated me.

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: I have been a professional tattoo artist for about 10 years now, but I have been making people bleed for 14 years.

Q: How did you start your career?
A: Growing up I was always into art, mostly comic books. I would draw up my own characters back then and I would give them all back stories and bio sheets, which was lots of fun. I always thought that someday I would be a comic book illustrator but tattooing over shadowed all other possibilities.

Q: Do you have any influencess?
A: Yes, I have many, but I have to give credit for my artistic growth to Nick Baxter. I began getting tattooed by him about 8 years ago and even though he was probably only a few years into his carrier he was thinking outside the box and pushing his art to the limits and that inspired me and really motivated me to try to do that same. Also, I have always been very fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible artists, like the crew I work with now at Hope Gallery. They were big motivators early in my career and they still play the same role today.


Q: Some people say that it is possible to be self though artist. What are your thoughts about this? How did you learn the tattoo skills?
A: I’m a perfect example of a self-taught artist. I never did an apprenticeship. My first tattoo machine was homemade and my first few years working were spent in a friend’s basement or at parties, where I would tattoo with two different colors of non-toxic pen ink that I stole from the art store, and a filed down guitar string for a needle. Everything I learned was from trial and error.

Q: Looking at your portfolio is a great way to get inspired. There are lots of tattoo styles that you do. What is your favorite tattoo style?
A: I always wanted to be a well-rounded tattoo artist, so I did try to master many styles, but nowadays I narrowed it down to a few styles that I enjoy doing on a daily basis. I like cartoon colorful stuff, bio-organic, and realistic subject matter.


Q: Portraits are maybe the most remarkable designs in your portfolio. Do you remember when the impression for this kind of work first began?
A: To be honest, although I think I can do a pretty good job with portraits, I do not enjoy doing them and I try not to anymore. There are so many talented guys doing amazing portrait work out there and I feel like I have nothing to add to that style. I feel little satisfaction after finishing a portrait, but after creating something that came out of my head, it feels more like I gave birth to something new and that's were my heart is.

Q: What is most challenging in doing some photo-realistic piece?
A: My personal challenge I have with realism is keeping my interest in the piece. If I’m going by a photo reference, then it’s almost like there are no surprises. Although it’s fun to stray a bit from your references, all the information is already laid out there for me to copy. For some artist this may be a great thing but I always like to be somewhat surprised with the final product.


Q: Nowadays, people are coming up with many creative ideas for a tattoo. What was the most bizarre request ever that you can share with us?
A: I agree that clients are coming up with more weird and creative ideas but in my case the more bizarre tattoos in my portfolio have come from clients who have said to me “Hey, do what you want - I trust you.” Haha.

Q: Is there any "dream piece" undone yet?
A: No, to be honest the fact that I go to work every day and do what I love and make a living from it is very dream-like. So it may sound cheesy, but to me every piece I do is a dream piece.


Q: Many of your compositions features dark motives. What is their significance? Is there any message? Btw, they look awesome!
A: Well, I was a troubled kid growing up. I’ve had many dark years in my life and I think my art tends to reflect that darkness. Maybe its a unconscious way of releasing that negative energy out of my system.

Q: Do you get caught up in the meaning of your paintings or tattoos, or you keep that separate?
A: I like to keep them separate. Tattoos should mean something for the client; if it’s theirs, they own it. In my own art work is where i like to attach my meanings and memories. We have all heard that song or smelled that smell that brings us back to a moment in time. That’s how I feel about creating art. It’s kind of like a disk you can record your thoughts and emotions onto and you can revisit them when you look at the piece.

Q: So many customers, drawings in your life, what keeps you creative?
A: I would guess that it’s the will to out-do myself that keeps me motivated. It helps that I have tons of really talented artist friends who are always doing cool things. I think that’s very important.

Q: What is the best lesson that you've learned from you art journey?
A: I feel that the trick in being an artist is keeping your ego in check. It’s easy to project yourself above the rest, but the reality is that no matter how great you think you are there is always someone better than you. I’ve also learned to always strive to be a student.

Q: They said "The real artist is never fully satisfied" There is always something new to accomplish, discover, something new to try... What are your goals, or things that you might want to accomplish in the next few years? Please feel free to share your contact info/mail, website etc.
A: I find that statement to be very true. I think most artists have a never-ending desire to create, I always have a goal to out-do the last one so its a never-ending cycle. I’m in the very early stage in writing a novel, I’m really trying to push my oil paintings to the next level, and I’m always looking to grow more with my tattooing. So, that's really all I have planned for the next year.