Published Summer 2016.
Paolo’s style is inimitable in the most sincere meaning of the world; its a take on surrealism and minimalism that couldn’t be dreamt up, nor made any more intriguing and interesting than it already is. Alongside the Marine Martin’s, Edekqwerty’s, Caleb Kilby’s and Toothtakers of the world he is taking tattooing offroad, and helping carve a new one that generations in the future will no doubt marvel at, study and critique as we do, so many other cult visionaries from art and music. Enjoy…
What’s the worst job that you had before being a tattooer? I worked in a orange-juice factory for a while. It was with my brother that I really like, so I could already tell it’s not the worst thing that could happen— it was kind of fun in the end. After, I got lucky and became passionate enough to study contemporary art and find an apprenticeship during my last year of diploma. I feel really blessed about it. Then I was straight into tattooing. In what ways has your style changed since you began tattooing? I think looking back at my work I really realise how the process of evolution is important to me. I guess it’s endless research, as cycles or seasons that are always connected to my influences and interest. I got through a lot of references from fine-art to classic tattoos and it really makes me take a turn in my drawing; because of the medium you have a different approach. Traditional (tattooing) especially, as it has a whole new iconography to me that blows my mind. What do you need the most, right now? Now I’m really researching for balance in artistic, emotional and spiritual way. What is the first non-english word that comes to mind? ‘Gruezi’, since I’m living in Swiss-Germany— It means hello and it’s the first word I’ve learnt haha. Tell me a little about your next scheduled tattoo. As I’m still working in a really spontaneous way I really have no idea, which is perfect for me. I like the fact that I go with the flow and deal with the person I have in front of me on the day most of the time. Do you think apprenticeships are still important in producing a well rounded artist? As I did one and had a really good experience, I would say it can really help. It’s like an acceleration as learning through someone gives you keys for opening your own doors. I think the most important thing is finding the right person to teach you and vice-versa. I got verry lucky to learn under Xoil and it’s been really dynamic for my work and artistic evolution. However I don’t think it’s necessary at all, but it definitely helps and make you learn faster. It’s not a matter of apprenticeship in the end, I would just say when you’re with someone you can observe techniques, share dynamic, an artistic point of view and being able to jump into somebody’s professional and creative process, as an artist makes a lot of sense. What three pieces (by any tattooers) stick out in your mind as being particularly unforgettable or groundbreaking? I wouldn’t say pieces because it’s more of a global atmosphere that lies in somebody’s work that stuck to my mind more. Got really blown by Will Sheldon pieces; L.M Knight and Toothtaker so far. What fastfood is most likely to be bought by you? We have a hot dogs micro store near by in Zurich. It’s the best hot dogs I ever had so far. It’s most of the time closed and never has fixed opening hours so when you can get one it’s like a blessing. They know how to keep it precious hahaha. What’s the first tattoo machine you ever bought? Handmade Jacob redmond Shader and using it as a liner. I still work with it for bold lines it’s really good to me. If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be? Definitely would be a whale for a day. I’m reading Jules Verne ‘20 000 lieux sous les mers’— it’s a sick french classic of literature that really makes you want to visit the oceans. What three tattooers embody your vision of contemporary tattooing? Definitely my friends Stephane Devidal, David Schiesser and Michele Servadio. Being surrounded and collaborate with them makes me always learn and open new doors. What has tattooing taught you? Tattooing has taught me a lot of different things from social interaction to professional creation. I learnt a lot about myself as well and it definitely bring me in a certain dynamic. I’m not sure I would have been involved otherwise. How important is collaboration to you as a tattooer? As I’m working in a spontaneous way it has a lot of importance in my work. It’s part of the process for me and when somebody is coming to me it’s really important to figure out by speaking which direction we want to take. I can always propose but would never push it has to be a good balance a bridge between my art and the person that come to me. Does the popularity of tattooing make you cynical or optimistic for the future? Well I think it’s a matter of point of view, I would say that I’m pretty optimistic as I feel that when something is getting popular it never sounds good but seeing further it always push the level, reflexion and creativity. The fact that people from diverse backgrounds come to tattooing is like new branches growing from a tree. Tattoo trunk is solid and ancient it will never break it just has seasons and a special dynamic now. I can see the same thing in skateboarding. In my opinion it also allows certain people to be more experimental or to go back to kind of side movement such as art-courant, and it definitely opens doors. I can’t say that it’s always good but the dynamic is important and people are getting more and more specific and curious about what they want. I think it’s really good.