Samuele Briganti and Old School devotee: the Traditional tattoo style of Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm e Ben Corday, along with other great masters of the past.
These are the inspiration, point of reference and departure point for a tattoo artist who aims for simplicity, balance and perfect synthesis. In this interview, he tells us about his work and the new digital eBook he has produced for Tattoo Life…
Hi Samuele, how are you? The last time we spoke – here in Tattoo Life – you had just moved to Florence. How is it going in the city? Are you still happy about that decision?
Hi! All well, and I’m still in Florence. I’ve been here over three years now and I have to say that the shop is going well. We’ve got a friendly little team going here and this is really important for me, always has been. So, yeah, I would say that I’m happy about the choice I made.
Tell me this: did you always know that you would become a tattoo artist or when you were a child did you have other plans for the future?
Never had any other plans! If you’d asked me when I was a kid what I wanted to do when I grew up I would have said: tattoos! (smiles). At the end of middle school I started tattooing my schoolmates, then I did an old-style apprenticeship, and finally, in 2001, I opened my own shop. From that moment on, I started working together with many established artists and travelled all over the world, something that has opened my mind apart from giving me fresh ideas. And that’s the way it still is today.
Let’s talk for a moment about your style. How did you get into Traditional?
I got into the Traditional style because I fell in love with that graphic simplicity and power it has, drawings that look simple on the surface are actually much more difficult to pull off.
How important are drawing and painting for you?
Drawing and painting are vital for me: I just can’t do without them. I consider them a private refuge where I can let off steam and express myself, and even just relax.
Who are your masters and points of reference?
It’s always the same…those guys that aren’t around any more. Let me explain: I’ve always been inspired by tattoo artists from the past like Jerry, Bert Grimm, Ben Corday, etc. (a long, long list). I don’t think it’s creative to be inspired by your own contemporaries, because you can be influenced by their style and not have your own any more. If you revisit past masters though it can allow you to progress.
You are constantly evolving, aren’t you? How have your tattoos changed over the past few years and what are you working on right now?
The stylistic changes over the past few years basically come down to one thing: STRIPPING DOWN. In the past I experimented, adding lots of detail to my drawings, but nowadays I am trying to synthesise: stripping down and aiming at simplicity, which is still really hard to achieve! In this period I am working a lot on animals.
I like them and I try to achieve a synthesis that obeys the rules of Traditional, turning them into something new.
Let’s talk about your new digital eBook: where did the idea come from?
The idea for my eBook came from Miki, and I was on for it right away. In fact I’ve always enjoyed new ideas. And then I know Miki and I’m really happy he suggested it. And so, here we are.
Tell us about thecollection of subjects you’ve drawn – it looks to me like they are the great classics you’ve always loved. Would I be right there?
Absolutely. What you’ve got in this eBook is a selection of my most recent work which I redrew from scratch. There are all my great classics: felines, nautical themes, drawn with strong, bold lines and hardly any shading. They pack a real punch which I reckon is just right for an eBook!
What plans have you got for the future?
I honestly don’t know…I like the idea of staying focused on what I am doing and dealing with new challenges! The fact that I don’t know what my plans are is cool: I am excellent at improvising!