Let’s meet John Del-Pinto to discover his perfect black ornamental tattoos: something unique that he “can call his own”. He is such an amazing tattoo artist from UK that you just can’t miss!
Hi John and thanks for this interview! To start with, I want to ask you how you manage to produce such perfect tattoos in terms of the execution and what artistic training you have had?
I personally don’t believe anything is perfect, perfectly imperfect maybe… that’s a head scratcher. Everything has its discrepancies but I think that’s what makes something original. I think there’s beauty in that. Course you try your best to get as close as you can, But I’m sure like any artist looking at there work there is always room for improvement. I love that though I think that’s what it’s all about, a constant process of learning. I’ve had no artistic training as such, just years of being creative in some form or another.
Did you always know you would end up being a professional tattooist?
Tattooing is all I’ve ever wanted to do… It’s the dream for me. I couldn’t ever imagine myself doing anything else. I don’t think I could even if I had too! I’d find a way to tattoo one way or another. So grateful for it. It’s given me so much and continues to everyday. Walkin on sunshine.
What have the main steps been along your career?
The first huge step in my career was landing my apprenticeship. I feel it was meant to be. At that particular time and that particular place. The first day on the job changed my life forever, and I’m up for that savage Cliche haha. I’ll forever be grateful to my mate joe for giving me that. It was the first time I realised that what you think about most manifests into the Physical, exactly how you visualise it in the mind, thoughts become things.
Really big life changer that was. It’s all I thought about for years down to the smallest detail, and still is!
Second milestone I’d say was working my first convention, which was Brighton earlier this year. Hands down a highlight of my career so far. I’ve attended the Brighton and London conventions every year since before I was even tattooing. So to be able to work it was a big deal for me. To be surrounded by such talent all doing what we love the most. No better feeling. And lastly bringing it up to date is the opening of my first studio at the start of September. Something I have always wanted to do. Nothing extravagant, just somewhere I can make my own and fully immerse myself in what I love doing the most. I think I’ll lose days in there to be fair, I’m up for that.
Let’s get back to the tattoos: how do you plan your compositions and what is your approach in terms of technique?
The first step I take when ever I do a piece big or small, is the consideration of body flow. I’ll take sharpies and loosely mark out size, shape and direction I want the piece to be going. Then I’ll take photos of those scribbles on the iPad and draw concepts directly over the top of the image. This gives both me and the client a visual representation of what it could look like. When working in such a large scale this technique is extremely useful. I’ve realised after wiping off hundreds of wasted stencils that the human body is by no means symmetrical, and by doing this you can accommodate the body’s natural shape giving you a design that’s tailored to fit the Individual perfectly. Next comes the actual application of the tattoo itself.
A good friend once told me contrast is one of the most important factors when it comes to tattooing.
Since that day I’ve put a lot of black-work into my tattooing and I’ve never looked back! In the work I do especially, I rely so much on the negative space creating the overall look of the piece, the black tones really push out that negative effectively giving the piece shape, flow and most importantly contrast. Big up Jak!
As regards the subjects, where do you get your inspiration from and how do you study/keep up to date?
I believe inspiration is everywhere. Especially in natural forms. A particular plant called the zamioculcas caught my eye a while back and is the main inspiration I’ve had to date. William Morris and Alfons Mucha again massive influences in the art i do. Their art inspires me on so many levels everyday. In tattooing as well the bar is so high with a huge amount of talent about everyday my mind is blown by what people are achieving. Everyone’s smashing it so it’s beaut to see.
What are the greatest challenges you have had to face in the course of your work?
The greatest challenge I’ve had so far in my career is finding something unique that I could call my own. I’ve really made it my intention to create something that hadn’t necessarily been done before in this way. I poured over concepts for days. Most of which went in the bin. For a straight year I was working multiple sessions a week free of charge after my normal hours, trying my hardest to push out this style as much as possible. Large scale work takes a long time to complete and commitment from both yourself and the client. A heart felt thanks to everyone I have tattooed for that, legends. It fucked the both of us so many times but we got it done eventually (laughs).
Where are you working at the moment and where can our readers track you down?
Right now I am currently working at ‘immaculate chaos collaborative’ in Bournemouth. But from the start of September I will be working from my own studio still in the same area.
What are your interests apart from tattoo?
In other areas aside from tattooing my passion is deeply fixed on the ocean and free-diving. (Breath hold, diving deep without apparatus) it’s another world down there and to experience it without and the hindrance of equipment brings you closer to nature. it’s something magical to put it lightly. I feel a strong connection to the ocean and always have done growing up by the coast. If I’m not tattooing you can guarantee I’ll be in the water or on it.
What work plans have you got for the future?
The future is exciting, I feel I’m at the start of a long journey with my work and I know the direction I want it to go. The opening of the studio also really gets me excited.. I’m really keen to get involved doing more conventions and guest spots, meeting new people and learning as I go, and just move forwards really. Tattooing the coolest thing ever and I feel so blessed to be a part of it.