interview with marco pepe | Encre tattoo | naples, italy |25/04/2019

Hello Marco Pepe! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. It's a pleasure to exchange some thoughts with you. You bring some really cool style in our industry, very creative. Let's hope we will inspire the people out there with our conversation and maybe some will get into this business too.

Q: How long have you been tattooing? Do you remember your first tattoo? If so, what was it? Who had the honor or I should say, who trusted you enough to get tattooed while you were just starting?
A: I started tattooing in 2011, my first tattoo was a traditional cherry blossom flower, done on a friend. I remember that took forever to make it done like almost 3h.

Q: What was the most challenging part of becoming a tattoo artist and getting your name out there?
A: I think the most challenging part was to find something unique, find clients that trust you and become part of project, an idea, something that can go from the brush to the skin.

Q: How much time took to gain confidence in yourself? Would you say that your talent played a huge part or it is all about consistent dedication and hard work?
A: I think that I'm still looking to have 100% confidence in myself, and this is a very important part for me, because I think that trying to find that confidence make you grow up day by day and find every day something new. I'm sure that if you wanna do something you can work hard and get it, some people have a very big talent, others can reach the same point by studying hard.

Q: You seem like you have artistic background or some formal art training like a college etc, do you? How has your style shaped over the years?
A: I'm in love with art, unfortunately I didn't have the chance to study it in school, so I have to try to understand why and how painters are able to create emotional things out of their brushes... So I tried to do the same. I always want to send a message with my works, sometimes it is hidden sometimes it is not. Actually I started with the traditional, old school style, I was in love with the large big lines and with the whipped shading, and over the years I made something mine, but bringing with me that kind of shading and the use of a lot of black to get very contrasted colors.

Q: You're very creative. I like your style a lot. I'm a graphic designer so when I see someone doing something different rather than the popular tattoo realism style, I'm all excited. Haha Tell me about the process before the tattoo session. Do you draw a bunch of sketches for each client?
A: I usually do just one tattoo a day, because I wanna give all myself to one person at the time. I draw in the morning and I tattoo in the afternoon. Everything starts with a form where I ask the client to explain me the feeling that they wanna show, from there I tell them the way that I will draw it. For me drawing is like a language so I try to translate a feeling into an illustration. When they see the project, usually is almost ready, about 70 % I always wanna see the design on skin, to understand how to "hug" the area, after that I paint something directly on skin and make something unique.

Q: There's no "undo" or "edit" option when it comes to tattooing, everything has to be well placed and planned before the session. Do you collaborate with your clients, do you give them some advice about placement, color, size etc?
A: Is the same with painting, when the painting is on canvas you cannot "edit" it, that's why you need a good control when you wanna make a really cool abstract drop, the same on skin, but each person have a different shape, a different skin, a different tone etc, so I prefer to follow the natural line, with brushes or markers before I start tattooing. Usually my suggestions are about placement and colors. While painting, it's very important follow some rules like gravity, and how liquids usually move, my favorite part are legs and arms, about size... I like to take all the area to give that "infinity " looks that for me have the abstract painting, without frame, so the work have to wrap a bit, giving the idea that we are watching only a part of it.

Do you accept some reference images or you prefer the design to be your own creation?
I prefer to draw or paint all by myself, usually I do not accept reference images, only sometimes when I work on pets, but for me is very important to draw all.

Q: Would you give your style a specific name? Do you think is important for one artist to have their own recognizable style?
A: I call mine hard painting watercolor because I try to make my tattoos look like a painting as much as I can. My personal idea is that today is very important do something unique in the tattoo business and everybody should have their own style.

Q: Are there any other mediums such as digital art, graffiti etc that you work with as an inspiration or just another creative way to express your ideas?
A: I usually paint watercolor/acrylic, a lot of abstract stuff, that give me a lot of inspiration... I like the way the paint act... Unpredictable and out of control, this gives me a lot of ideas and sometimes I use part of it in my tattoo work. In the last 2 years I felt in love with digital painting, I use it a lot, but... the brushes are always my first choice.

Q: Do you travel a lot for work like doing guest spots, visiting tattoo conventions etc? How much is important to gain foreign knowledge in order to grow as an artist? What are your experiences?
A: To be part of a tattoo convention is fundamental, as well doing guest spots. To be side by side with some person that work in a different way can make you understand a lot, can teach u a lot! In my personal experience all the times that I went to a tattoo convention my way of work changed a bit. I've met some tattoo artists that really blew my mind.

Q: What is your advice for those who are willing to start tattooing?
A: Draw, draw and draw, again and again and again, and if you are interested in watercolor or any painting style... use brushes not pencils!

Please write down your contact info and studio location.
Marco Pepe Encre
instagram marcoencre
studio Encre tattoo studio location: Naples Italy
facebook /encretattoo

Mr.Marco Pepe, Thanks for the interview,
Kind Regards,
The team