Interview with Frank La Natra | Brooklyn, New York 13/02/2012 

Q: How did you get into this job?
A: I always drew as a kid, I use to copy Disney cartoons and comic books. That's how I taught myself to draw. At an early age though I got into music and began focusing and studying that instead and I kind of left the drawing behind. So I guess all in all I was an artistic kid one way or the other.

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: To be honest I started my apprenticeship in '97 learned the old school style of tattooing and kind of struggled to teach myself new things. I never really took it serious and kind of used it as a way to make quick cash. It wasn't really till I moved out to Florida, went back to school and met my current business partner now that I took it serious at all. About 4 years ago it all changed and I feel like that is when I truly became a tattoo artist.

Q: What kind of tattoos you used to like the most at the time?
A: I had no preference back then really. I just liked whatever artwork I thought to be cool or catch my eye.

Q: Some people say that it is possible to be self though artist. What are your thoughts about this? How did you learn to tattoo?
A: I think it is possible, I taught myself a lot about art and tattooing, but at the same time I never came as far as I have now without the formal training and education I received. I did in the last few years what I couldn't do in 10 all because I went back to school for art and started to really push myself to learn.


Q: Who are your influences?
A: There are a ton of influences that inspire me. A bunch of amazing tattoo artists and illustrators, family, friends, and teachers have all helped me to become the artist I am today and hope to become in the future. There are a select few that have definitely had a greater impact on my career and choices though.

Q: To be a creative person means to be open minder, educated, fun... What is creativity for you?
A: I think I can agree with all of that. I don't think I have ever really thought about it. I just always do what feels right I guess. For me I think that is what has always helped me be creative.

Q: What is your favorite tattoo style?
A: For me its the narrative, illustrative style I love doing the most. Always full color. I like when I can tell a story with my artwork.

Q: Your color use is really impressive. What inks do you use? What's the secret?
A: Thank you :) I use pretty much all Eternals. I don't know if there is much of a secret lol, I think I am still trying to figure it out. I just do what feels right and experiment.

Q: Are you like the "main" creator in the tattoo process?
A: I think I allow my clients to have about 10% input in their tattoo if it works with my ideas lol. I really only try to take on jobs I am going to enjoy because I feel that if my heart is not 100% into it than I am not being fair to my client or myself. I want them to walk around proud and I want to feel proud to have them wearing my artwork.

Q: People can come with some unique ideas, designs... Are there any "weird" requests that you simply won't tattoo?
A: Not really that I can think of, I simply dislike to tattoo anything that I feel can make me look bad as an artist or that the client will regret in years to come.

Q: In a few words, Art has no limits?
A: I guess you can say that. I feel the more you learn the more you can put out. sometimes the only limits are the ones you put on yourself.

Q: What reaction from a client makes you happy?
A: Excitement! I am a very excitable person to begin with and when I see someone match my enthusiasm when they look at their piece I feel like I have done my job.

Q: Since your style is well-defined, have you ever thought to change it and start doing something completely different?
A: I have never thought to change my style overall. I always like to try new things and add new styles or techniques to my arsenal but that is just to make my style better, never to change what I do. I think my style is a part of who I am and though I may grow, I never completely change.


Q: Any artists you would like to collaborate with?
A: I am currently doing an immense neck to knees piece with Jesse Smith, but other than that not much at the moment due to my limited time with school and everything. There are definitely a few people that I have plans to collaborate with in the future and I am extremely excited about that.

Q: How often do you visit tattoo conventions and which one left you the most memorable impression?
A: I don't get to travel much due to school at the moment. Since I am one of the promoters of TattooLaPalooza, I am always at that one. They usually go by in a blur because you spend the whole time working so I guess I can say much about it.

Q: Art could be a great influence on someone's personality. What is the best lesson that you've learned from your art journey?
A: I think the greatest lesson I learned is how far I can go if I put the time and effort in. I think I also finally learned that I could make a life for myself as an artist.

Q: Do you consider your work as a challenge?
A: Absolutely!!! There is no other answer for that.

Q: Do you have any advice for the new artists?
A: Push yourself and learn as much as you can. Be humble, because if you are not you can never grow and if you can't grow then you will eventually fade away.

Q: What are your goals for the upcoming year?
A: To finally graduate! It's been a long time coming. I'm hoping to open a large shop/Gallery and start to completely focus on my future and career.

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