Faces and figures of women are at the centre of the visual universe of Gaia Leone, illustrated of the cover of the new edition of the Italian Tattoists Yearbook, open to all professional tattoo artists working in Italy.
We met up with Gaia to talk with her about this image which we’ll be seeing on newsstands from September, at all the Tattoo conventions where Tattoo Life is present, and naturally, on sale with our other publications on tattoolifestore.com: a woman’s face together with a sacred heart in pure Traditional style. Let’s step inside her shop, Hardtimes Tattoo in Turin.
Hi there, Gaia, what made you choose this design for the Yearbook cover?
Hi! I thought I would create a design that best represents the work I do, and the union of a woman and a sacred heart seemed the perfect choice seeing as how they are definitely my favourite Traditional imagery.
Traditional women’s faces are your speciality. Why is this and what do your different takes on this theme reflect?
They sure are my favourites. It is the subject in Traditional tattoo that has always intrigued me and over the years I’ve tried to give it a graphic twist of my own, creating female figures who were “mine” in a sense, who resemble one another in looks but at the same time are all different in terms of identity and details.
They are all the product of my imagination or a request from a client and each of them has her own story and personality.
Who are your mentors in terms of Traditional and what led you to this style in the first place?
I fell in love with Traditional tattoo when I first got involved in the scene, before I ever started tattooing. I have always been fascinated by the history of the style and its simple yet bold graphics in all its subgenres.
I draw inspiration from the great masters of the past, artists such as Ben Corday, Cap Coleman and Amund Dietzel, but also certain contemporary tattooists I genuinely admire.
Seeing as how we’re talking about female figures today, I’ll mention some of my favourite women tattooists whoa re such a continual source of inspiration to me: Marie Sena, my friend Gaia Zeta, Becca Gennè Bacon, Bruna Yonashiro and Marcelina Urbanska.
Where do you live and work and how long have you been tattooing?
I live and work in Turin, the city where I was born and where in 2011 I opened my shop Hardtimes Tattoo. I first got into tattooing as an apprentice in 2007 and I’ve been a tattooist since 2008.
How did you get involved in tattoo?
There wasn’t any particular event that got me interested in tattoo. Ever since I was a girl I was absolutely fascinated by tattoo and as soon as I turned 18 I was able to take a closer look and get my first tattoo. From then on, everything kind of fell into place.