Ambitious and tireless in his work at ‘Ganga Tattoo Studio’ in Los Angels, we introduce you to this Venezuelan tattoo artist very focused on the use of colors.
Johan, how is it that someone like you decides to become a tattoo artist and simultaneously discovers to be so skilled at Realism?
Since my childhood I have been attracted to the arts and illustration and began trying to imitate the handwriting of my schoolmates and teachers until I realized that I was very skilled at copying what I saw with my eyes. So I decided to imitate the faces of my classmates and teachers as well as everything around me! Taking that big step it led me to feel attracted to the art of tattooing and becoming one of the best artists.
Can you explain better how things came about?
For me at that time it was complicated to devote myself full time since I practiced a sport called fencing which consumed me a lot of time as well as the studies of the university. So I reached a critical point and decided to leave everything. I wanna say thanks to an advice that my kung fu teacher once gave me which is “If you ever want to be good at something you must devote to that something 100%.
Because you could devote yourself to do many things in life but you will never be good at anything, if you take that path, empty your mind and refill your rate my friend”. So I took the initiative to dedicate myself full time to the art of tattooing and seek to become the best tattoo artist. This strived to make my works more Realistic but giving it a more personal and Surrealistic touch.
What exactly do you mean that your tattoos come from “original designs”? Do you mean that the reference photo is not of much use to you?
The reference photo is always useful to understand what the client wants to convey with his idea. But it’s only a reference from that point where you have to work as an artist and offer a totally original design.
In my case I like to go a lot to the surrealist that allows me to be a little freer in my works.
And it is always very good the freedom that the client can offer you! (smiles) A client may come to me for a family portrait and I will still try to recommend him to accompany it with something else that makes it look different and elegant. Not just a copy of an image and that’s it.
Your use of color is really brilliant and leaves an impression on those who look at your work. Do you think a lot about color combination?
In the time I have been working with colors, I have realized that I like to convey many feelings through colors and for this reason my color palette is very wide.
Tell me a little secret of yours…
I combine many colors and make them stand out. I have been working a technique that I have seen a lot in oil painting called “Broken Grays” which made me understand many things about colors, and what I want to convey because before I was striving to find a shade that I would never find what is the RGB color of the screen. I mean – that vibrant color is not really going to be perceived on the skin so in painting one must look for colors that are never going to be perceived.
I mean – one must look for colors more pleasing to the human eye.
In real life we perceive more grayish with this so I have achieved that my color palette is more pleasing to those who observe my works.
What is it like working in such a talented environment as ‘Ganga Tattoo Studio’ in Los Angeles?
It is a good place. I really like Los Angeles and I think it feels very similar to the environment of my country Venezuela. I think that’s why it makes me so comfortable to live here.
Do you always end up learning something new in such environment?
Yeah! I have had the opportunity to share with incredible artists and big tattoo celebrities like Polo G, Tyga, Archangel, Markelle Fultz, Lil Uzi, Lil Durk, Willow Gardner, Mariano, Obj, Devin Haney, Nick Kyrgios, joehaden23 among other amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. You always learn something new every day and we are in constant learning.
How did you get involved with a company like World Famous?
I had been working with pigments for a long time, I was trying for years to get involved and be part of World Famous. A great friend of mine – Yeyo Tattoos – managed to contact me with Sara who manages the team. She’s a great person with a great responsibility. Me and Sara we were talking until it was achieved and I could take that big step to join this great family called World Famous.
Do you have a favorite color palette or does each of your tattoos require a certain spectrum of different colors?
My color palette is very wide depending on the design but I think I’m getting a color palette which I’ve been feeling comfortable and working with it. I need much more practice to make a decision to have a definitive palette.
Do you have plans for international tattoo conventions and guest spots between the end of 2023 and the beginning of the new year?
I have in mind to start 2024 with more strength than this year. In 2023 I was focused on other things. For this new year incredible things are coming! (laughs) In 2022 there was my first convention in the United States. I went there with ‘Ganga Tattoo Studio’ (IG: @gangatattoola) and I got the first place in “Most Original Tattoo”. Now for this 2024 I hope to take many more…
If you had one artistic dream, just one, to realize in 2024, what would it be?
It is difficult to think in such a short term because my dreams and my expectations always want to go one step further. Among my dreams is to become one of the best tattoo artists and be recognized worldwide, to be remembered by all as one of the greatest exponents in tattooing. But one of the short-term dreams that I am looking for and I am one step away from achieving it is to join the Cheyenne family. With this I would reach the top and I would be with the two strongest houses in this industry.