Tattooing in the modern world is not only a cultural phenomenon, it is a solution to the job crisis that most kids nowadays have to face… an outlet for creativity and a way to make a living, that’s what tattooing also is! If you are serious, committed and talented, tattooing is a way to make a honest living and build a life.
And that’s more than something if you ask me. But tattooing it’s not just for anyone. It is always interesting to know the story behind the artist, how they got there – how they fell in love with tattooing and this time I get to meet one of my favorite artists: Miss Juliet!
I meet Giulia Federica, aka Miss Juliet, in NYC, during her guest spot at King’s Avenue Tattoo. I can easily say she is a very talented artist and tattooer, on top of her game and she is like a breeze of fresh air, such a lovely and positive person, and I immediately felt like I’ve known her forever! I’ve been following her beautiful work for some time now, and I love especially her lady heads and compositions: they are delicate yet powerful illustrations, easy to read, yet full of details. You can tell she spends quite some time working on her custom designs, researching the perfect detail, the perfect expression or the right mood. Miss Juliet is italian/american, and has also chinese origins – a mix that makes her even more interesting and I am happy to get to know the amazing person behind all the beautiful tattoos! Enjoy!
You seem like a real cosmopolitan person… born in the US, grew up in Italy, from an italian/chinese family – now you live and work in San Francisco, and you are constantly travelling! Tell us a little about your family and upbringing, and how did you choose a place to call home…
I grew up in a very artistic crazy family, my mom is a cellist (all the side of my mother’s family are musicians), my sister is a violinist and my father and grandfather they were working at the Teatro Regio, in Torino. Being surrounded by so much art I guess it helped me to discover my artistic passions. I started my art studies in high school and got a degree for pictorial decorations, then I got a degree at the university for fine art, where I studied classical painting, even though my great passion was contemporary art.
After starting to tattoo and traveling like a crazy person for a few years, (I was on a plane every 5 days), I met Joaquin (aka Acetates) during the Paris tattoo convention – we got married the following year and now we have our little family with the arrival of Sofia! I always wanted it to go back to the US, and he really wanted to work also in the States, so the decision to move abroad was kind of easy! When I met my future husband to be we started traveling together right away and sharing what we love the most: drawing, painting and tattooing.
We miss a lot our friends and family but working together in America is a great opportunity!
So, for now, San Francisco is home! I will never thank enough Luke Stewart for giving me this chance, his trust, and for allowing me to being part of the Seventh Son Tattoo in San Francisco! It is the most amazing shop that I ever worked at: amazing artists, amazing vibes, amazing shop, amazing humans!
What shaped you the most as a person growing up? And when did you discover tattooing, what was the main attraction for you?
I lost my father when I was 5 years old, so I grew up with my mom (and my grandparents): she was a very disciplined musician, and also very passionate. She taught me how to follow my dreams and to be sure to get what I wanted, she always told me that life isn’t easy so I need to get my s***t together and work hard! To the other side I grew up also with my Italian grandparents, my grandpa taught me a lot of useful things, like how to make canvases/frames and other very cool stuff. I think if my father was still here today probably I would’ve been a different person, but I’m every day grateful for what my family gave me and taught me. I was always fascinated by tattoos, and I started getting tattooed when I was 15. When I was younger I struggled a lot with my aspect…
I was the only not white kid in my hometown, a small town in Italy, and often I had to deal with mean racist comments. It was very very hard,I went through a lot, and that definitely shaped me. Getting tattooed became a way for me to feel better about myself and made me like my aspect way more!
I feel like tattoos also helped me build an armor for myself.
When and how did you start tattooing? Tell us your story! What or who inspires you?
I never thought I’d be a tattooer! At least until right after I was done with my studies, when my best friend, that was already a tattooer, asked me to tattoo her. I was lucky that she gave a chance to try to tattoo, and I was very lucky also that a lot of people from my hometown came across my work (at that time I was drawing flashes like crazy) and gave me the opportunity to tattoo them. That was around 2011, after that I started doing conventions in Italy and I started a lot of collaborations with artists that I admire. I also started doing guest spots in Italy and after a while also in London, at the Family Business, regularly every 2 weeks. London gave me a good lesson on what tattooing is and I had to experience what really means working in a street crazy busy shop. I worked with amazing artists that I can call friends, and they taught me everything that I know.
My great inspiration of course is my husband. I work with him every day, we paint together, we share everything.
He is a very stubborn ( more than me!) extremely dedicated, focused and he is a crazy funny guy! I couldn’t be any luckier to have him as a husband and as a father for Sofi! I have a crazy list of artist that I love. Just to name some of them: Valerie Vargas ,Lus Lips, Grime,Luke Stewart,Jeff Croci, Acetates, Vlady ,Oliver Macintosh, Claudia De Sabe and many more!
Today you are well known for your beautiful ladies and illustrations of the female spirit. Where do you get inspiration for your designs? And how you approach drawing a custom tattoo?
I love drawing ladies! I love drawing beautiful women, sad or fierce, or mysterious, they all have a story behind and when I’m drawing I always try to tell that story. My big inspiration are great painters, illustrators and sculptors. Some nights, after my baby falls asleep, I start looking at my library, just to find that small detail that can inspire me for a new drawing. I also love to do costume pieces, and I start by asking my client what is the main subject and what they wanna communicate. Usually they give me a lot of freedom, and they will mostly talk about the feelings that they want to express (THANK YOU!), and from there I start to have a lot of basic ideas, and I do rough sketches of the design, until I find the right expression, the right movement etc. But mostly during the consult I get the feel of what they have in mind and my brain starts right away visualizing the design! You can tell I love illustrations!
What do you love the most about tattooing?
I love tattooing because it’s challenging, because it isn’t easy. Every tattoo I do is a challenge for me. When I start a new drawing it has to be better than anything I’ve done before. Tattooing keeps me on my toes! Of course at times it can be exhausting and sometimes the communication can be also tiring but if the clients understand the way you work and give you their trust, there is nothing better than this job!
Also tattooing has given me the chance to meet with a lot of incredible people. I believe the connection between humans is so important!
I found out tattooing is very hard to master and you need to put all of you in it, and this is also why I love it… I remember I was thinking to move to LA to do a master in illustration but then the opportunity to start tattooing came and I couldn’t resist, so instead I decided to stay and give it a try ! It’s been 8 years and I’m glad I did it!
Is traveling an important part of your life and work? What is the place in the world that you like the most?
Oh, I love to travel! I believe traveling opens your mind and heart! It will be always a part of who I am because I feel I always need to search for something new to see something new… and traveling inspires me and makes my heart full! There are so many places that I love but. There is a small town in the south of Spain that is really close to my heart because that’s where I spent the most beautiful days with my husband. Since then we go there every year!
How you and your husband manage being parents while also working as tattooers on top of your game? How hard or easy is that?
Oh, well… it’s not easy at all! Actually is very very hard. I worked till one week before Sofia’s delivery and I started just 2 months after, I cannot be without tattooing for so long, I feel like I’m missing something! Anyway, we try to balance our time in the best way possible. For example, I draw only at night, and in our days off we do family time only. Sofia is the best thing that could ever happen to our life… Yet it is a challenging one, but I’m very lucky to have my husband always by my side.
Where you see yourself in the next future, and what are your working plans?
I see myself with my husband and Sofi in a bigger house, with a huge table, painting and enjoying our life! Tattooing wise I’m trying to push my work more on the black and gray side and I hope that I will finalize this transition very soon. And hopefully I will keep doing all those crazy projects that I’m doing (my clients are the best).
What else you love apart from tattooing?
In our free time besides drawing and painting, we love going hiking in the forest, and I am very happy that I started my Brazilian jiu-jitsu journey..
It’s a very very big challenge and commitment but I love very part of it
How would you describe yourself in 3 words!
Very stubborn,very impulsive and, sometimes, very naive, but with a big heart 😉