A rebellious teenager, very much part of Rome’s Gothic/ Punk scene in the early ’90s. The life story of a tattoo artist.
Mauro had dreamt of a professional football career that would clash with an unconventional tattoo lifestyle at that time.
“I was a rebel without a clue”.-Mauro Imperatori
Art and music were passions and remained in the background with the ultimate goal of emigrating to either the US or the UK. However, strong ambition would be the driving force that facilitated a hunger to find his fame and fortune. Tattoos always had a strong connection in his mind; it was part of a lifestyle reliant on the music scene.
A few friends were experimenting with tattoos at school. Mauro picked up a sewing needle and created his first small design on his hand.
Chapter one began in the ’90s. A move to a bustling London scene where music impacted his lifestyle would find him submerged. Many jobs would see him work, from a hairdresser in Kensington market to a doorman in the legendary Intrepid Fox in London.
Mauro the brand
One year rolled into another, and that only played to the scene. A striking Mohican with an array of Tattoos was a good fit for London, where his style and brand developed.
The Networking Magazine was keen to interview Mauro. A man stooped with history and a way of life that would see him carve a successful professional career in the Tattoo industry.
How did you get involved with tattoos?
Tattoos always fascinated me; some of my favourite bands all had them. Of course, that conception of a rebel and an outlaw lifestyle wasn’t for everyone, but it always attracted me.
So, I would say that from the early 2000s, a really good friend of mine who was also a tattooist pushed me to tattoo myself, and I liked it. However, nothing happened until 2007/ 2008, when I decided to get back into my art, drawing and painting. It led me to a place that fitted me perfectly.
I got an apprenticeship at a place called; True Love tattoo in Denmark Place, and this is where my journey started.
Do you think that it’s an art form?
I believe it can be considered an art form, but I think it is more of a craft.
Who was your influence?
Some of my favourites are; Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrel, Felip Lue, Robert Hernandez, Guy Atchinson, Freddie Negrete, and Jack Rudy, to name a few.
What was your most complicated tattoo, and why?
I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind; however, I always think the next one will always be the hardest. The next tattoo always keeps me on my toes.
Do you assist with the designs?
Times have changed regarding this, the internet is a wealth of information, and people can do substantial research online.
Very often, people bring their designs with them. I’m always available to offer input and advice, especially for custom work. I also offer my designs or tattoo concepts if needed.
How do people train to be tattoo artist?
Now more than ever, the requirement is to have basic art and drawing skills and working industry knowledge. This means basic history, the names, the styles and an understanding of the tools involved.
Sadly, the tattoo lifestyle that I have always known is changing as the world of social media replaces some of those values. However, it’s always less of a taboo and more socially acceptable within most age groups.
There are lots of skilled artists who are now involved in my industry, and competition is high. In the old days, the only way was to look for an apprenticeship in a shop. In my opinion, this is the best way to learn this craft.
Hours and hours will soon mount up and eventually lead to a skill base you can apply under supervision.
How have designs changed over the last five years?
Social media has played a significant part. Small minimalistic or abstract designs with fine line detail have become extremely popular in the last five to ten years.
Trends and new designs have their peaks and troughs in terms of popularity. The social media landscape often dictates those trends. Lions and pocket watches were very dominant in my line of work. I would say these designs found me rather than me looking for them. Like any Tattoo artist, you become an expert over time within an inevitable trend.
If you could speak to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give?
I would tell him to be his own boss and to make his own choices.
If something doesn’t feel right, make a change because nobody will do it for you.– Mauro Imperatori