interview with Waler Montero, horizon of events | germany 06/09/2018


Q: How long have you been tattooing? What inspired you to start learning about this beautiful art form?
A: I'm a tattoo artist for 17 years. I started when I was 13, because my brother was doing some kind of tattoos. Since then I never stopped. I grew up in a small town of Buenos Aires, Moreno. In that age the tattoos were really primitive. Paul Booth, Robert Hernandez and Guy Aitchison were my biggest influence.

Q: Was it hard to learn? What is your opinion about tattoo apprenticeship?
A: It was hard, of course. Because in this time the information about tattoos were really basic and also because it was difficult for me to find good materials to work. Today it is still hard but in another way. Now it is more to grow in a form of quality and creative design. It is important to learn art in general, because in the end you take your reference from sources which are not tattoos. The easiest part, if we could say „easy“, is the technique about how to use the machine. The most difficult part to know is how to treat the skin right and make something esthetic. So I think apprenticeship is good if you have someone who really knows what he is doing, so can teach you.

Q: The last decade artists can pride themselves for being able to create realistic tattoos, that gave the tattooing a whole new concept of not just as a designer image but a highly skilled technique that many artists nowadays are trying to learn. It's innovative for sure. Color tattooing especially, as being said many times that color tattoos are a bit more challenging to do. What is your opinion on this?
A: Color tattoos are different than black and grey tattoos. The difference is to what we call black and grey. I use for example the same technique that I use for color tattoos, this means that not “greywash”. Anyways the color is a bit more difficult because it’s important to know how the colors work with each other, the light and the contrast. In black and grey and in color tattoos you should care much about the quality in the future. It means that there are some modifications necessary that give the realistic look, but also in a way the ink stays solid on the skin.

Q: What do you prefer color or black & white tattoos and why?
A: I like both. It depends of the design and the skin which one I prefer in the moment. There is always something nice to do.

Q: Big tattoos such as sleeves and backpieces can take 4-5 sessions, that's a lot of hard work, patience, and pain for the client, but I believe after it's all done, it's a pleasure for both, you and the client, so it's worth it : ) How much these types of work give you the ability to really show off your skills? Even though small tattoos can be challenging and complex, but however, I think people still consider big tattoos as more of a challenge.
A: It’s all about the expression and to show this, I need at least the size of a hand. I don’t need too much space to show my skills, but in big pieces the impact of what I want to show is better. For me a tattoo has to follow the shape of the body. So it is not all just about details, it’s also the esthetic. You should appreciate it from close and far.

Q: In creating a portrait tattoo, doing the details such as eyes, hair etc I think the artist puts an extra energy to make it looks more "real" the eye expression is probably the most important, however, what are some of the most tricky details you find as "most" time consuming?
A: It is important, but in my opinion not the most important. In this part the contrast is really good to see, so maybe that is what people see. Actually I think it is the easiest part if you compare it with a perfect soft skin tone. Most expression I get are the lips, nose and a perfect balance of the skin tone and shape.

Q: I think nowadays, as we live in a so-called digital world of so much media, constant pressure for progress and competition, how do you cope with that? Do you have any artists you look up to?
A: Right. We are in a special age but I don’t feel any pressure about competition just to be better everyday as an artist. Actually I'm really motivated to grow more when I see a new artist or a new epic piece of a famous artist. Yes I have! Some of my favorite artists at the moment are Timur Lyzenko, Alex Pancho, Tofi, Dmitriy Samohin.

Q: I can see many type of tattoo styles that you love doing, have you ever thought doing something completely different?
A: I feel I change my style around every 6 month. It is because I consider that I'm an artist in constant evolution, that means that I try all I can, of course always around realistic style, but I can make for example Mandalas, dot work or water color mixing all in one design.

Q: What would you say to someone who is planning to start tattooing? What is the best approach?
A: I would say don’t copy any tattoo artist. The important thing is to learn about all kinds of art. Tattoo artists most of the time copy, so better create your original version.

Kind Regards
Waler Montero
Thanks so much for the interview Walter!