interview with Samuele Briganti

   Hello Samuele Briganti! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself, are you a self taught artist? I've started tattooing when I was really young. I was in high school and I was about 13 years old. I don't know exactly why, but I've always been fascinated by tattoos, my grandpa was a sailor and he had some tattoos on his arms but he died when I was 2 and I don't remember what he had, and I have no pictures of his arms.
Probably in my subconscious, I've always had this passion because of him.

However, when I was a kid (in the 80's) rarely happened to see tattooed people, but when sometimes on the beach I spotted a tattoo I was very curious on how the drawing stayed on the skin. I was 5 or 6. Few years later I tried to tattoo my own arm with my mom's sewing pin and some china ink. I've tried different times and every time when the scab fell no sign remained underneath. It was very frustrating!! Till one day, I was extremely motivated and I poked with more intensity. Well after few days I realized that the little bluish stain was still there and nothing I could do would have removed that mark. That was one of the happiest days of my life.

Then I started tattooing my school mates and you know, the town I live in is very small, so after few years a lot of people knew I had this passion and many of them asked me to tattoo them. I used to work in a tiny tiny room in my parent's house. I went to school in the morning and spent the rest of my time drawing and sometimes tattooing.

I never asked for money, the fact that these guys (because my first customers were almost exclusively men) would donate me a piece of their skin to learn, it was worth more than money. Basically I've learned by myself, until I've met a guy who was 10 years older than me and he managed to buy a tattoo machine, which was something very hard to find here. Together we learned a lot, but sadly he died very young.

To talk about your style could take a whole year. Seriously, I've seen a lot of artists in my life, but your tattoos are truly something special. Well I thank you, because I believe this is one of the best compliments a tattooer can receive.

Q: It may seem like it is an easy style to learn, but I doubt.
A: Ehehe, you know many people believe that old school tattoos are easy business, because yeah it's true, designs are very simple, sometimes! Well the difficulty is exactly in where to put those few lines, lots of black and some colors. Drawing old school is very hard, the line between a simple solid drawing and a bad drawing is extremely thin. I had to study many years to achieve a good balance between simplicity and strong lines. Likewise when tattooing, lines must be perfectly straight, the black must be put in the right place and amount, otherwise you only get a mass of crooked strokes instead of a tattoo!!

Q: Since your style is well defined would you change something?
A: Actually I always try to put something different in my drawings. Sometimes I find inspiration in old books.  


Q: Nowadays, people are coming up with many creative ideas for their tattoos. Any weird requests?
A: Yeah sometimes way too creative and since I prefer traditional style I try to keep that line. However sometimes bizarre requests help me creating something that in the end I really like. One time a friend, wanted to get a tattoo that would express his feeling of paranoia and it was very hard to put it in drawing. In the end I came up with the idea of a man walking alone in a street, all surrounded by a key-hole like frame. We both liked it a lot. I've also tattooed a list of ex-girls' names crossed out, like the old sailors used to do. I've tattooed under the foot of a friend as well, I told him the piece would eventually completely fade, but it was in the name of a sad love story, so it was perfect. I noticed that people are impressed by this kind of tattoos rather than beautiful chest pieces or back pieces. But those are walk-ins customers... you know.

Q: Let's say a few words about your recent tattoo project  "Samuele Briganti's Sketchbook, also know as "Back To The Roots". 
A: "Back To The Roots" is a short movie about my life and job. It was shot by Fabio Grande a very talented young filmmaker who took care of the shooting and post production. We shot the documentary in 3 days and during these days he was kinda invisible. I just worked as I usually do and he asked me some questions. It wasn't like shooting a movie at all. The result is really impressive, I thought "oh when did he shot this scene??" most of the time, I didn't even remember having him around. However I've published a limited edition dvd with my latest sketchbook and soon it's gonna be published online on my website.

Q: What sets you apart from the other artists?
A: I think I shouldn't be the one to answering this question :D

Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: The love I put in my job! Trust me, sometimes I'm tired and I need few days off, but when I'm on holiday after 3/4 days I feel the need to do tattoos. The constant research and the awareness that I can always do more and better, is also a good starting point.

Q: What are the most important things that every single artist should know in order to become successful and respected?
A: Well, it's hard to say because I don't think that there is a standard attitude that one should have, but in my opinion the willingness to learn and keep learning is very important, no matter how long you do this job, the day you will think you know it all, it's the day you will do a bad tattoo.