interview with ivano natale | Thy Gallery studios, Italy 30/06/2017

Q: How did you discover your interest in tattoo art?
A: Ever since I can remember I've always been attracted to art on skin. I must have been 10 when I saw a tattoo in person and I knew it would have been just a matter of time before I got my first piece done. Had no idea how painful it would have been tho. I started drawing on my friends and myself with a ball point pen, I remember people lining up for it, good memories! Years later I got my first tattoo as a teenager, hated to sit for it but nowadays I still say:it hurts so good! Even tho my heart told me to become an artist my head was telling me different so I finished school and started working as a salesman with my dad until I couldn’t take it anymore! After all if I could do well at what I didn't like I could have tried and done better at what I enjoyed doing, so it took off from there. I gotta thank my father if I took that step since he was the one pushing me towards what I liked the most.

Q: Was it hard to learn tattooing?
A: My journey in the tattoo world started at the age of 22. I set up my first station out of my garage, tattooing my friends, like many others in the industry. I loved it but I knew I had to get out of my neighborhood if I wanted to take it to the next level so I started traveling. I must have been fired a dozen times because of my attitude back then, I wanted to improve so much that I would sacrifice time and money to do it and the second part wasn't really part of my employer's plan. I moved on to better myself putting my tattoos as the centre of my life, without caring much about anything else that came with it (back then nothing good) other than getting better at what I do.

I never apprenticed but I’ve always travelled to see my favorite artists at work weather it was at conventions or at their shops ,just so I could learn more...I'm back home now here in Naples, Italy where I opened up my dream place: ThyGALLERY studios, along the coast of Pozzuoli but I still travel like crazy!

Q: You have an impressive portfolio. All of your tattoos looks amazing! How has your style developed over the years?
A: Thank you first of all! I always had a thing for black and grey but it took a lot of tattooing in different styles before I could focus on one thing only. I’ve always loved the look of B&G, that’s one of the reasons why I’ve travelled to Cali in the first place, most of my favorite artists where tattooing out there, I wanted to watch and learn, not an easy transition tho. I started studying photos from the 40’s and 50’s to understand more about contrast, I would practice drawing everyday. I came from a graffiti influenced way of drawing so I had to fight my instinct in order to make my pieces look realistic other than cartoony.

Q: The beautiful, realistic portraits are the most remarkable designs in your portfolio. Tattoo realism is definitely the most popular style nowadays, and as it hard as it is, not everyone can bring the most specifics details on the skin, so we get more like a caricature tattoo! :) In your opinion, what are some of the most challenging details to capture on skin?
A: Well I think all artists tend to reproduce what they see and in some case make the subjects more personal until eventually they stand out for their interpretation.Details are details, sometimes focusing on fewer elements rather than everything in the composition helps getting a better overall result. I build my tattoos and compositions based on contrast and trying to make sure every single element can be everlasting.

- What's the longest session you've had with your clients?
I work hard everyday and night, I come in at noon and get out at 4 am in some cases so long sessions are my thing...

Q: Almost, all black&gray, do you plan to experiment with some color inks? :)
A: I have actually, I did two rappers portraits and I enjoyed the result but as far as tattooing in colors on a regular basis I think that's too messy for me lol .

Q: Your talent brings you so many opportunities, for sure, you are part of many creative collaborations with many great tattoo artists such as Carlos Torres, tell me more about this. What are some of the new projects you're working on?
A: I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best and most inspiring people in the business and that of course made me grow as an artist. Working along side some of those that have inspired your style and growth helped me develop my own vision. Nowadays I find myself working on collectors who have ongoing projects from great artists and adding your art to other amazing pieces can also turn into a collaboration, actually some of the best tattoos in general can happen by mixing your piece with somebody else’s work. Recently I worked on a collaboration piece with Macko, one of my best friends in and out of the tattoo world and also with Riccardo Cassese again another great artist and long time friend.

Q: Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the world! Art, music everything... so much inspiration. How is the tattoo art accepted there? Are we're seeing more and more tattooed Italians? :)
A: Naples raised me and it is one of the richest cities I know when it comes to art and architecture but I had to get out of it to learn more about tattooing as all the artists out here were either bad artists or they were doing styles I couldn’t relate to. In terms of art in the city of Naples there’s a lot but I didn’t really appreciate walking by a medieval castle or a baroque church before I dedicated my life to art, I’d prefer getting in trouble as a kid. Now I have to say my hometown has influenced my art a lot. I can walk places and take my own references of baroque style churches, statues, all kind of religious art together with street art and if you look at my work that’s exactly what I do. I tend to build a story thru dark images, religious images, sometimes showing the dark side of religion, other times I work on street icons or images that recall that lifestyle and add my own twist to it. Even my shop looks like that, the whole place is 5000 sq ft, part of it is an art gallery and the vibe is more similar to a museum, while the tattoo rooms are private and have a street look. Italians will be Italians lol out here everybody is tattooed but now you can see more collectors.

Q: How much is important that we do as many tattoo shows/conventions and art seminars for tattooing? Do you think that we're living in a new era of tattooing, so much progress is something I see and I'm really happy for this, what's your opinion?
A: I think that those who started tattooing a little bit over 10 years ago brought game changing ideas to this beautiful world of ours. Sharing what you’ve been struggling to get to is not for everybody but nowadays you can tell that seminars helped a lot of people. As far as techniques and technology we’re probably facing the best and fastest improvement ever seen before.

Q: Please write down your studio location:
I own Thy Gallery studios in Via Solfatara 157 Pozzuoli (NA) Italy.
You can contact me via email at:
follow my IG ivanonataletats or FB page Ivano Natale Official Page
You can also check out my shop and all the resident and guest artists working here
Ig page : thygallerystudios FB ….
Phone: +39 0813032401

Q: As a professional tattoo artist, what would you recommend to the new artists?
A: Don’t start tattooing for the wrong reasons! This is not for lame untalented people, it's not easy money, it's not to build yourself a carachter! This is a passion and a lifestyle, if you can’t draw but like tattoos simply collect from real artists! But if you love and respect this art and think that your art can do well for tattooing then do not hesitate to start an apprenticeship and be patient! Paying your dues doesn’t mean 6 months to 1 year stay and then take off like you know something! Respect goes a long way and if you’re good at what you do just keep doing it!