"HELLO TO INSANELY TALENTED TATTOO ARTIST ABEL MIRANDA.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS FOR WILD INK MAGAZINE.
FIRSTLY PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED TATTOOING?"
I was born in Vigo, a town at the beautiful area of Galicia, on the west coast of Spain. I left Galicia when I was 21 and I used to work as an interior designer in several brands and shops.
"WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE BOY, DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD GROW UP TO BECOME AN ARTIST, OR WORK IN THE ARTISTIC FIELD? DO YOU REMEMBER DRAWING AND CREATING A LOT AS A CHILD?"
Definitely not, I could have thought about any other thing but never about arts, I didn’t spend much time drawing, most of my time was dedicated to make sport and, in fact, I was really good: I won thousands of medals in Judo, including the best of my state, and played at a semi-professional football team, but never drawing!
"WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A TATTOO ARTIST AND WHAT WERE THOSE FIRST STEPS YOU TOOK TO LEARN THE CRAFT?"
When I was 25 years old, I owned two tattoo studios but I had never took a tattoo machine before so one day I decided to try. That day really became the first day of the rest of my life.
Then I studied and practiced a lot, I repeated once, twice and a thousand of times all the flash tattoo drawings I had, I created my owns, and didn’t stop tattooing until today.
"CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE SHOP YOU WORK AT, WHAT IT'S LIKE WORKING THERE, AND WHAT A TYPICAL DAY IS LIKE THERE"
It has a continue flow of people getting in and out of the studio, actually, we receive a lot of people everyday so there are a lot of resident artists here.
The shop I work at is divided in two independent floors:
-There is a part which is located at the street, it has 6 boxes with artists of every style: Realistic, old school, new school, Japanese, Neo traditional, ornamental, … There are around 10 resident tattooists so anyone can find his tattoo here!
– The other part is on the same building but not communicated, it is an independent flat with just two big boxes and a terrace. Here is where I work. This means that I spend most of my time here so, it is a light and peaceful place where I can focus and give my best.
"DESCRIBE HOW YOU GO ABOUT CREATING A TATTOO FROM CONCEPT TO FINISHED DESIGN. AND ALSO DESCRIBE HOW YOU TRY TO PUT YOUR OWN UNIQUE TOUCH ON YOUR TATTOOS?"
I try to separate the main idea of the customer’s tattoo (concepts and feelings that they want to express or transmit) from his ideal of attractiveness in a tattoo, so we never fall into common symbols.
It is very common that people think about existing symbols for their tattoos, like; a flower for a loved person, a wolf/tiger for a hard time in life that ended successfully, … but there are hundreds of ways to express what you feel, and some of them will be closest to your likes than an existing shape.
For this reason, I first ask them to explain to me what they want. Then, I ask them to choose some photos of my tattoos without thinking about their tattoo: I don’t want them to stop choosing what they want just because “ it won’t fit with my idea” or because “it is on a different part of the body”.
At this point, the only important thing is to see what means esthetic for them.
For some customers, the best piece is a solid black-based tattoo with strong straight lines that covers 90% of their skin, and for others, it is a colorful and organic design that flows with the body curves… This is already going to make a tremendous difference.
Then comes my part: my work is to merge their idea, their likes, and my technic fitting the body shapes of each customer.
"WHAT WAS THE FIRST TATTOO YOU EVER DID? HAVE YOU ALWAYS WORKED IN THE SAME GENERAL STYLE?"
It was a colorful butterfly for my mother. In the beginning, like anyone else, I experimented with some styles I felt comfortable with, but It didn’t take much time until I realized that my ideas couldn’t fit 100% with any existing style.
I really loved strong styles like tribal tattoos so I started studying all kinds of books about the tribal and black tattoos, I was obsessed about getting a perfect bold black, but soon I gave it my own point of view by adding color to sacred geometry or ink splashes to geometry patterns.
"WHAT'S YOUR TATTOO STYLE OF CHOICE AND WHY?"
It is quite difficult to say: my style is a mix of techniques of several tattoo styles, applied to my geometric-psychedelic designs like Dotwork techniques and trash graphic elements.
"YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE ARTIST. HOW DID YOUR PROFESSIONAL TATTOO ART JOURNEY LEAD YOU IN THIS DIRECTION?"
Thank you so much, such an honor! Creative journeys are really difficult to explain… since they are not very logical, there is no guide or a sequence of steps you can follow to get there, this kind of journey appears in your mind as a one-way road that you follow until you get somewhere else, you never know if it will lead you to a good place or not.
Of course, that creativity and a different point of view are helpful but, it is just 10% of the whole travel, you must do the rest by foot: thousands of drawings, paintings, mistakes, more drawings, variations to old designs, and tons of tattoos.
Hard work on re-inventing my own work every day has been my only rule.
"DESCRIBE HOW YOUR ROLE MODELS AND ANY OTHER SOURCES OF INSPIRATION HAVE AFFECTED YOUR TATTOO STYLE?"
My role models…then I have to talk about Xed Le Head. He is the father of Dotwork: this technique is the base of my work and has allowed me to reach new textures and effects, I couldn’t make the geometry, shades, or such detailed splashes without dotwork or dotwork-based movements.
"WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES THAT YOU’VE TATTOOED ON SOMEONE ELSE?"
Some of my favorite pieces are in process at this moment, maybe I could tell you the same in a few years because I enjoy experimenting with new designs all the time but, I’m really having fun with my latest colorful geometric designs, they are different to any other thing that I might have done before and, most of the times, I have awesome customers that give me complete freedom to create on their bodies.
"WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES ON YOUR OWN BODY, AND WHO DID IT?"
Definitely my black sleeve. Of course that it covers some old tattoos but, as I told you before, I always loved perfect bold black tattoos, so I tattooed my whole left arm in black.
Nazareno Tubaro made half of this sleeve (from shoulder to elbow) and Jorge Teran made the other half (from elbow to wrist).
"WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A TATTOO ARTIST?"
The fact that it allows me to connect with a lot of cultures, not only because I travel a lot but also because I meet a lot of tattoo artists that bring tattoo knowledge from their own countries and roots.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES TATTOOS SPECIAL?"
They arrive in your life on one random day and become your all-life mates, no matter how much your life changes…If tattoos could talk they would tell a lot of things, that’s why I think that the moment (of your life) when you get the tattoo is sometimes more important than the reason: they are like windows to other moments of your life, some are good ones, and some are bad ones. I see them as old advisers.
"HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHANGE IN THE TYPES OF IMAGES PEOPLE HAVE ASKED FOR OVER THE YEARS YOU’VE BEEN TATTOOING?"
Sure! But I’m not really sure if the main reason is the passing of time or all the changes in my style that have attracted different kinds of customers.
Nowadays, trendy images don’t affect me since my style is based on abstract forms but, there are some images that never get old-fashioned, like skulls or flowers, I just make my version of them.
"TATTOOS SEEM VERY MAINSTREAM NOW. DO YOU THINK THAT'S GOOD OR BAD?"
I think that it is great now that everyone knows something about tattoos so you are not seen as a criminal or a marginal person.
Additionally, now it is easier to find great books or videos about tattoos that some years ago would have been impossible to get!
"I WOULD JUST LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK FOR TAKING THE TIME TO DO THIS INTERVIEW. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO SAY?"
Thank you so much for thinking about my job, it is an honor to be part of this magazine.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED TO THIS WEBSITE DESIGN, FIND THE ORIGINAL HERE