Tattoo Artist interiew with Michele Turco

28 February 2012

Michele Turco

How long have you been doing this job?
It’s about twenty years since I first picked up a tattoo machine.

Michele Turco, article and photo gallery in Tattoo.1 Tribal #66

Go to Michele Turco tattoo photo gallery

Who taught you?
Everything I’ve ever learnt about this art form is the result of hard work and a whole lot of passion.
I’ve never taken lessons from anyone else, so you could say I’m self-taught.
In fact many people are surprised when I explain that I actually use SKIN as my canvas.
When I’m preparing the images I make use of computers and the photographic technology we have available today.
It’s essential to start with a great photograph if you’re going to create a realistic tattoo!
After that, the work starts to come to life on the skin itself, I don’t usually make up sketches on paper.

Are there any tattoo artists that you consider as your mentors or major influences on your career?
The tattoo world is constantly moving forward.
There are definitely lots of very skilled artists already on the scene, and there are many more up and coming artists who look really promising.
It’s still important to find inspiration in every little detail, which is something that can help us to develop.

What was the first tattoo you ever did?
My very first tattoo was a Libra star sign symbol, which I did on a friend of mine.

And what was the first that you got on your own skin?
A little elf on my calf, which I later got covered up.

What inspires your art?

Personally speaking, I see tattoos as Life and Heart.
My task is to convey people’s emotions on their skin… so that every time they look at their tattoo, they can relive that particular moment of their life.
Every single person is unique and so they all deserve a work of art that has been designed especially for them.
So I think I can say that what I try to do every day is translate words and feelings into images.

How much does the person getting the tattoo influence your creation?

When a client comes into my studio to get a tattoo, we spend a lot of time looking for images to focus our ideas on what the client has in mind.
It’s quite a long, hard process, because we’re not always able to explain to someone else what we want to get and how we want it to look!
So you have to decode that idea and find some basic images to refer to.
Once I’ve got an idea of the subject, and the various emotions behind a particular piece, that’s when the creative process starts for me.
Obviously my job is to advise the client which parts of the body are best for their tattoo, as well as the size or adjustments that have to be made to achieve the best possible effect on the body. So I’d have to say that the clients undoubtedly influence my creations, but they also give me plenty of room to express my art, which is ideal.

How important are the colours and machines in the creation of a tattoo?
The colours are fundamental when you’re producing a tattoo, as is the choice of the machines according to the type of work you’re carrying out.
In fact, so far I’ve designed my own machines, which I’ve built myself to include all the features I find essential:
Power Liner Tattoo Machines for the outlines
Big Magnum Tattoo Machines for the colouring
Cut Back Shader Tattoo Machines for the shading.

Can you briefly describe your technique?
My technique is the result of a great deal of research and knowledge about the area of skin to be tattooed, which I’ve acquired through experience over the years.
These days many artists think they’re working on a canvas and they sometimes forget that it is still somebody’s skin. So it’s important to remember that everybody’s skin is different and consequently every tattoo has to be tackled according to the type of skin, using the appropriate machine setting.
To create a realistic tattoo I tend to use the machines as if they were “paintbrushes” in some areas, or “airbrushes” in others, in that way I can distribute the colours as I tattoo, overlapping them as much as possible, to create a tone on tone effect, which is how you get highlights, depth and so on.
In other words, what we call a three dimensional effect.

The larger the area to be tattooed, the more closely you have to study the position and choice of subjects, as if it were a story, which has to be easy to read and understand. Clients often have some great ideas but they find it hard to fit the various pieces of the puzzle together.
I really like that part of the creative process, when the client and I reflect on the best way to recreate a specific story.
What do you like best about your job?
Without a doubt the biggest reward I get in my job is the smile of a satisfied client when they see their finished tattoo.
It’s that split second when they look in the mirror and you see how happy they are to have achieved that dream.

What are you working on at the moment?
For a while now I’ve been working on a special project involving LEAVES.
As some of you know, every leaf or flower has its own special meaning: love, friendship, happiness or sadness, and so on.
So I have suggested that my clients choose a flower or a leaf to express whatever emotion or feeling they had in mind.
Obviously, not everybody wants a floral motif as part of their tattoo but it is quite common for little details to be added while you’re working on a piece, from one session to another, in each case representing particular feelings that come up.
At the moment I’m working on a lot of large tattoos, pieces that take several hours to complete, which is why I haven’t posted many photos in the last few months… but you’ll soon see an exclusive gallery dedicated to this project!

What is your philosophy?
I believe my philosophy is not to get stuck in a rut but to carry on growing day after day.
You never know all there is to know, you have to keep on learning… I don’t think you ever stop learning!
It’s no consequence that the name of our studio means “One thing leads to another” (Da Cosa Nasce Cosa)!!

Michele Turco – Da cosa nasce cosa
Cittadella 34, 29121 Piacenza (Italy)
+39 0523 305302; +39 338 5220157
www.tattoodacosanascecosa.it