They have worked hard to fuse their know-how and years of experience together in an organic way, so that their project – Eclipse Tattoo Barcelona – might reflect everyone and no one in particular, at the same time.
Their aim has been to create their own unique spirit and a well-defined look. Inside the Eclipse “container” you’ll find American Traditional, graphic art, the heraldic engraving technique, dreamlike images, alchemy, and religious art. The three founding members – El Carlo, David, and Rotor – all came from “Aloha Tattoos Bcn” and shared the same flamboyant flair, along with a dream to create a space where they could work in peace without having to prove anything to anyone. And in the lovely Gracia neighborhood, that’s the exact kind of place they’ve brought to life: industrial, large, and welcoming.
You present yourselves as an “art collective and tattoo studio”: what kind of art and tattooing do you do, and who belongs to this “collective”?
Currently the Eclipse collective consists of everyone who works in the studio every day: Carlo, Rotor, David, Anna, Nacho and Olracle. In addition, we have our beloved special guest who comes for just a few months a year: Mark Mason. We think of ourselves as an art collective because each of us develops both individual and group projects, which often go beyond tattoo art.
Our way of showing these projects to the world and positioning them in our online shop is what brings us together in this dimension.
Furthermore, we all tattoo together in the studio during the week, just like a normal tattoo crew. It’s impossible to separate art from tattooing if, in the end, you’re able to do what you like. We feel that each one of us has adapted his or her own style and preferences to the rules of tattooing, without letting those rules keep us from expressing ourselves on supports that are different from skin.
Who decided to open the studio, and why? When was it opened?
We opened Eclipse Tattoo Barcellona in 2018, after almost 8 months of renovating the location we’d found. We wanted to open the studio because all three of us (Carlo, Rotor, and David) needed a space where we could develop our ideas inside and outside of tattooing. We also needed a base where we could create and distribute merchandise and original works. Then Anna, Nacho, and Olracle joined the project, and so by the time we opened the studio there were already 5 members.
How did you create the crew? Was it based on friendship, or dictated by styles?
Friendship is the starting point for understanding what we are doing and how we want to show it to the world. We really bonded during our time at Aloha, and we soon figured out that we’re connected by the same kind of flamboyance. We’ve always nurtured great respect for traditional tattoo styles, and the daily work in our old-style studio (Eclipse’s décor, our books, and our skin) shows that. But in a completely natural way, we always end up exploring aspects that are much more personal, in our work. This is why we believe that everything is connected. Our work styles reflect our personalities, and this helps us get along. In our case everything has unfolded naturally, and as we’ve travelled down our path, our identity has led us to meet people like Anana, Nacho, and Olracle, who quickly adjusted to the team.
What was your initial ambition?
To work in peace, without having to prove anything to anyone. To develop our artistic projects and merchandise without being excessively dependent on the trendiest tastes in tattoo art, and show how the Eclipse Project was a real, financially sustainable alternative.
Could you each tell me about your own personal artistic characteristics?
David: I studied in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona, specializing in illustration. My work is greatly influenced by the illustrative and artisan currents in European art history between the XV and XIX centuries. I’ve always been interested in those lesser-known authors who devoted themselves to developing heraldic engraving techniques and decorative applied art. That same source also sparked an interest in the industrial techniques used for reproducing works – such as offset lithography, silkscreen printing, and the more recent giclée digital printing process. Over the years I’ve tried to improve the production and distribution of all the merchandise which I’ve created together with my colleagues from La Cobra Negra Tattoo Art Gallery, and then later at Eclipse. Besides all the information I stock up on from antique books that deal with topics I’m interested in, I’m truly impressed by the current trajectories that are being developed by “The Vacuum” collective in the USA, or by tattooists such as Tim Beijsens, Matteo Aldenti and Alexander Grim. The tattooists and artists Rudy Fritsch, Marius Meyer, George Campise and Mike Davis are the people who inspire me the most, surpassed only by everything I share and learn on a daily basis with my friends Carlo and Rotor.
Carlo: My tattoos have been heavily influenced by the many artists I’ve had the good fortune to work with over the years, or those I’ve always admired. Obviously there’s El Monga, along with Theo Jack, Theo Mindell, Daniel Higgs and many others. I’d say that Rudy Fritsch and Erik Von Bartholomaus represent a turning point in my professional career. Their creative passion and amazing ability to continuously reinvent themselves have been a great inspiration for me. My friends and studio companions are also constantly inspiring me, because I strive to push the boundaries. My aim has always been to create my own visual language. I try to make my work clear and understandable even though my images might seem a bit fanciful at times. Wood and linoleum engraving, and old posters have helped me to orient my work in that direction.
My personal characteristics can be summed up in my natural inability to keep my workspace tidy.
Rotor: My training as an illustrator has definitely influenced my work. I like a lot of different kinds of styles. I get my inspiration from 1980s’ monster movies and American underground comics, along with African art posters. I’m a big collector of unusual images and objects that might be considered ugly, or strange.
Anana: Most of my designs are based on traditional American tattoos. I start with simple lines and create characters, animals, and other elements. My inspiration comes primarily from my background as an illustrator, as well as vintage fairytales, decorative pottery, folklore, primitive art, old matchboxes, medieval manuscripts, alchemy, religious art, and obviously the work of colleagues like Luke, Jinks, Ian Wiedrick, just to name a few.
Nacho: I’m mostly inspired by ancient cultures: Pre-Colombian, Peruvian, Mexican, and African indigenous culture are what you’ll find in most of my expressions. In the current tattoo scene, the people who influence me the most are: Toothtaker, Scum Boy, Ryan Shaffer, Dan Santoro, Matt Bivetto and many others…
Olracle: My work is based on tribal culture, ornamentation, graphic art and LSD consumption. And magic, elegance, and spirituality are always part of that mix.
What three adjectives would you choose to describe your shop?
Industrial, large, and welcoming.