If you like Black and Grey tattoos, the Thy Gallery in Pozzuoli (near Naples, Italy) is the place to be: that’s where Ivano Natale works with Luca Postiglione, Gianluca Schiappapietra, Riccardo Cassese, Rodriguez and many other guests. We talked to him about his studio, his style and plans for the future, and this chat has also been the right occasion to learn more about his recent eBook, “51st STATE”. Read our interview and discover everything about it!
How would you define your style of tattoo and what are your influences?
Hi everyone at Tattoo Life! I like to tattoo in Black and Grey and think I have a multi-faceted style, seeing as how I don’t concentrate on any single subject but like to experiment, giving my own interpretation of icons or subjects which represent different cultures. My major influences are the tattooists I’m working with at the moment or who I’ve worked with in the past, and that’s why I’m selective in my friendships and collaborations.
When did you decide to come back to Italy after your time in California?
California is definitely my second home, but for family reasons I needed to be physically present in Italy so I had no hesitation about coming back home. All the same, I still continue to travel all over the world.
How did the Thy Gallery come about? Who works in your shop and what styles of tattoo are represented?
Thy means yours, so it means your gallery. It all began with the idea of giving space (lots of space, we’re talking about 500 square metres here) to anyone who wants to create in a space full of art. You guys at Tattoo Life have been here since the outset, and for our part, we can say that three years down the road, we have grown in terms of the “quality” of the art and collaborations.
The dream is starting to take shape, also thanks to the presence of people I hold in high regard and the fact that I was able to free myself of those who were having a negative influence on the spirit of the space.
At the moment there’s Luca Postiglione, Gianluca Schiappapietra and Riccardo Cassese for the Black and Grey; Rodriguez and Brigante for lettering – one resident, the other resident guest – alongside plenty of other high profile guest arts who are part of the team.
How did you come up with the idea for this eBook and can you tell us about the contents?
The idea for the book was my counter-proposal to Miki Vialetto, who has always shown me such affection and regard by involving me in his projects. The eBook seemed like a great idea to me, especially considering how practical it is. Seeing as how the Thy Gallery doesn’t just represent me, but also those who, like me, put their heart and soul into what they do every day, I thought it was only fair to involve the other residents too. They are all drawings or oil paintings which represent us. Women and skulls tend to be the predominant subjects in “51st STATE”, but we took the liberty of broadening the concept to include lettering and other subjects too.
How important is painting and drawing for a tattoo artist?
Lately, it has come to mean a lot to me. I’ve been drawing and painting almost every day. It was a great privilege for me to take part with one of my paintings in BLOOD & FIRE (an exhibition held in the tattoo studio of Carlos Torres) and I was delighted to hear that my picture was sold within the first hour of the show. It gave me the strength to continue on this road, also thanks to my friendship and collaboration with the painter Chris Guest from whom I’m learning so much. Otherwise I just concentrate on being a father, husband, boss, tattoo artist, boxer… and when I can, I try to get some sleep (laughs).
What plans do you (and the others) have for the future?
Slowly, slowly, I’m managing to find space for all my ideas and bring them to life. Image is certainly imperative for us, and in a short time we managed to find the right people to present our merchandising online and together with Sullen we’re producing a line of clothing for the tattoo shop. We have limited edition high quality prints, the same quality as the original in some cases for our drawings or paintings. We offer accommodation services to clients who come from abroad, keep up the level of everything we do and have developed a mentality which I hope can inspire others.