Sydney-based tattoo artist Dario tells us about his journey to becoming a tattoo artist, how his style has progressed and some advice for tattoo first-timers…
When did you first know you wanted to be a tattoo artist? What attracted you to the world? I used to paint graffiti and street art, since I was 14 years old. When I turned 18, I was getting tired of the problems it brought. Tattooing was a legal way to keep making art and I knew I wanted it to be my job.
What did you dream of being when you were a child? I wanted to be an architect when I was very little, after that I always imagined I might become a pro skateboarder.
What is it that you most love about tattooing people? Being able to travel overseas and constantly meet interesting people. I have really missed that during the pandemic.
What’s the tattoo scene like over in Sydney? I know there are lots of amazing studios and would love to visit one day – when the world opens up again. The tattoo scene in Sydney is massive. Heaps of studios, incredibly talented tattoo artists, people love getting tattooed and getting more into the tattoo culture. Also in Sydney the weather is very nice most of the year, so tattoos are visible and it is normal to see high quality tattoos on the street. I reckon that helps to keep this growing every year.
How do you like to work with your customers? Would you consider any of your works to be a collaboration? I like to work with clients that have a solid idea about what they want to get tattooed. That always helps to create something even cooler than they had in their mind. I’m very open-minded to accept ideas. I try to represent both the meaning of the tattoo and the way it looks in the best way possible that I can.
How would you describe your style? What inspires you? I currently do realism in black and grey (bng), but there’s also a mix of every single style I have tried before – I like to mix realism with dot work or geometric style, for example. I’m okay to label my style as bng/realism but I do way more than that.
What inspires me the most is to observe and study natural things, anything organic has always called my attention since I was a kid.
What draws you to black work / darker art? I love horror movies. I believe a horror piece that is well done is always going to have a reaction in someone who is observing it – whether that’s good or bad, it doesn’t matter. People are not indifferent to a very dark piece that is scary, and to get that result for me is gnarly.
How have you found the pandemic, have you found time to be creative or been feeling blocked? I was very motivated at the beginning of the lockdown – I had time to draw, as many hours as I usually tattoo every day. I finished some pieces that took more than 50 hours of work and started some others, so yeah it helped to feel creative. Well, at least for the first month, after that I started focusing more on working out and eating well so it would kill most of the bad energy that the pandemic brought.
What are you currently working on? Heaps of big projects, a lot of sleeves and full leg pieces… these are a few of my recent favourites:
Is there anything you would like to tattoo that you haven’t yet done? I have set up a collaboration with a friend from Spain, but the pandemic has forced us to reschedule it. I haven’t done collabs tattooing with other artists so far, so yeah I would love to make some. Hopefully that one is coming up soon.
What advice would you give to first-timers who are nervous? It is normal to be nervous the first time you get tattooed. The best thing to do is research as much as possible for the right artist for you in your area. Try to find the best person who does the style that you are looking for. The day you are getting tattooed, just have a nice breakfast, try to think about how much you want your tattoo, trust your artist and you’ll be alright. It is a really cool experience – enjoy it!
Any hopes for the future? I hope to be able to travel overseas soon, and go back to tattoo conventions. In terms of the world, I hope this pandemic has changed people to be conscious about the simple things, like hugging a friend when you got the chance, not just to stack toilet paper.
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