After 33 years of career, he still rules. From Brazil to Tattoo Life, please welcome Mauricio Teodoro: he talks to us about the past and the future of tattoo art – according to his personal point of view – and presents his eBook, “Black Vision”, which shows his personal way of interpreting the most beautiful subjects of the Japanese tradition.
Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Mauricio Teodoro da Silva, I was born on January 28, 1966. I am 55 years old and I have been working with tattoos for 33 years. I am Brazilian, born in the city of São Caetano do Sul and raised in the city of Mauá; both in the ABC Paulista, a region of the State of São Paulo, here in Brazil.
When did you start tattooing?
I’ve always loved drawing. During school time, I was not interested in classes and subjects, I kept drawing in my notebook all the time. I used to love comic books, especially those about the stories of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. I was simply fascinated, until today I have kept several comics from my childhood; I was trying to reproduce them.
In my teens I used to paint sneakers for friends in my city and managed to earn some money.
My parents were alerted by a teacher about my inclination to draw, and then they decided to enroll me in a technical school of arts in a city next to ours called Santo André, also belonging to the ABC Paulista of the State of São Paulo. In mid-1986, at the age of 20, I started going to a tattoo shop in my city. My job was to design flashes for tattoo artists. Gradually things were happening and I started tattooing too, but in a very unpretentious way. Of course it didn’t take long to get a taste for the thing, not to mention the good money I started to earn. I earned doing what I liked best; which was to draw.
How would you define your style?
I never defined a style for my drawings, however, I really like fantasy and I usually explore, as much as possible, themes such as: mythologies and their varied cultures. But it is certain that I have a lot of affinity with the technical styles of traditional and oriental tattoos.
Did it change over time?
With time everything always changes. And starting from this concept, I try to simplify as much as I can, because I believe I have understood that the beauty of all things is as simple as it possible can be. As Roger Scruton said; “All art, without exception, is an expression of the Beauty of the Supreme”. “Art is beauty, and beauty is art.” For me, over time, this became clearer and clearer. Simplicity does not mean, in any way, to diminish its beauty, it is enough to always be focused on the essence.
Is it important for you to also paint and draw, beside tattooing?
For my personal development, yes. Painting has always been and continues to be essential. It gives me enthusiasm and joy. Painting makes me calm and relaxed, especially if I am alone, with total silence, listening to my music. However, I don’t think this is the case for all artists, each of whom must have their time, intimacy and affinity with their art. The moment and the place that motivates and inspires you. This is mine.
What are your favourite subjects and techniques?
At the beginning of my career, I didn’t worry about styles and techniques. I took advantage of all the opportunities I had to work. I studied drawings using the materials available at the time; they were scarce and I managed as I could.
This helped me to study and get to know all the styles that today we name as: Old School, New School, Bold Line, tribal, watercolor, realism, traditional, oriental, etc. So I definitely do not have a unique style or preference, I am concerned with studying each drawing with dedication and delivering my maximum to each client; because in the end the tattoo is for him “the client”. As a matter of fact, every good conversation is an exchange of experience, every good art book is a good experience. Any type of information is important.
Where did the idea of this eBook come from?
The E-book is a project by Miki Vialetto, I was honored to be invited to participate. Miki is a great tattoo promoter and entrepreneur in the tattoo world; all of his projects are synonymous of success showing always a lot of respect for tattooing culture. Participating in something that has his hand is a privilege. I didn’t think twice about accepting it. Today I have my side projects, but it is always good to be part of the works of this great friend.
What are your projects for the future?
I always worked with a closed agenda and not having time to think about “projects”; those that came out about my art were always made by friends. With Pandemia, I had the opportunity to stop and look at the collection that I produced in my 30-something career. Gradually and with a lot of patience, I am organizing some projects based on old dreams. I am focused on sketching, painting, re-reading of old drawings, new drawings.
I have been revisiting books and images of drawings that had impressed me, others that at the time I did not understand and that now, being more mature and simplifying my drawings each day, I can better understand. But, above all, studying the classics that I have contemplated so much throughout my career, as I usually say joking: “la crème de la crème”. My main aim in this project is to go back in history, to bring back the memory of the old and at the same time to present to the new artists the good old days of Tattooing. History is built through many different steps that assist us in our personal and professional growth and development. I believe that Tattoo has already achieved its goal of having a legacy to pass on, we urgently need to tell our story.