Absorbed by 3 studios around the world, Charles managed to get up from the blows of life and now he’s a tattoo artist who doesn’t want to set limits on himself
Hello Charles, have you always wanted to be a tattoo artist or did you go from being a tattoo collector to a tattoo creator?
Hello to you all! Since I was 17 I worked in restaurants, real estate agencies, offices, in the port etc. But nothing felt right! Then I decided to be an entrepreneur and I opened a spa center and a real estate agency at the same time. By that stage I was only 21 and I had a house mortgage, two car loans and a couple of credit cards. Deep inside the bank debt system! Suddenly it all collapsed, and I lost everything…
Awful! Then what happened?
By then I was devastated until little by little I realized that this was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The house, the car, the business – they all felt like a heavy weight on my back and none of them made me happy.
So I decided to invest all my time and effort doing things that I really enjoyed.
No matter the money involved in it, even if that meant being chased by banks forever. Drawing and painting was the only thing I had ever done for fun, but I never thought about it as a career. Then I started to believe in it.
Once you see the path, messages come to you if you listen. A friend made me realize that by getting into tattooing I could draw for a living. Then something clicked on my brain, and since that day my path has felt right.
It seems to me that you don’t limit yourself to realistic tattoos but prefer to personalize your vision of reality with other influences. Do you agree with me?
I totally agree with you! Thanks for noticing. Creating realism is full of rules and methods versus the abstract that seems crazy and spontaneous. I love how my brain jumps from the fixed methods of realism to the craziness of the abstract. It’s like Yin Yan.
What do you think about realistic tattooing these days?
I think there are many amazing realists. So I basically want to push it to the next level like other inspiring artists. I want to do the reality plus much more! (laughs)
The main reason is that I want my tattoos to be as solid and as adapted to the body as in other styles like Japanese or neo-traditional.
With the abstract I can create movement and solidity in every way I want. I also want to incorporate energy into my work. And flow with the body. I can deform and use the abstract as I want. There are no rules for it. With it I can add the extra energy, contrast and motion I want for my tattoos.
Were you happy to dedicate a portrait to Michael J. Fox/Marty McFly, the protagonist of the “Back to the Future” trilogy? Did you grow up with the myth of those three iconic movies or did you just fulfill a client’s request?
I totally loved the idea. But what I loved most was the client and his strength. Wes is deaf and mute since he was born. He decided to follow his passion and went full on into graphic designing.
Then he was in a traffic accident and lost most of his sight, so he couldn’t do this anymore. But what’s really important is that he is always surrounded by fun people and is super nice, energetic and always has the coolest ideas for tattoos. He makes you re-think what is important in life seen how happy he is and how he manages to make people around him happy, including his wife, brother and child.
I notice that many of your works are dedicated to female subjects, especially to their faces. What do you try to capture in a tattoo dedicated to a woman’s face?
Totally. I’ve got a strong Irish mother who was head of a business and a leader. My sister has been like my mother to, always putting me in my place with tough love. I grew up with those two role models. I always go not just for females. In my tattoos I don’t go for the sexy, nice ones. I go for the confident, strong warrior ones! And I know it’s mainly because my sister is also my hero, she is also a businesswoman who chases her dreams.
Can you explain your organization, including timing, since you work in three tattoo studios very far from each other as “Inkology Tattoo Art Gallery” in New York (NY), “Aura IV Tattoo Gallery” in Austin (TX) and “Utopian Tattoo Tribe” in Valencia (Spain)?
I’m the owner of “Utopian Tattoo Tribe” in Spain. But my main studio now is “Inkology” in Manhattan, NY. But I guest spot a lot in Austin. What I’ve sacrificed a bit for the moment is my studio in Spain, luckily there’s a great team of artists and managers running it!