Interview with Maddalena, tattoo artist from Napoli, Italy
I’m Maddalena, i was born and raised in Napoli, in south Italy.
I’m currently working at Little Star tattoo, a super nice and cosy shop where I find my “tattooing home” since 3 years ago by now.
Nice story: the boss of the shop where I work today was the first to tattoo me when I was 19 and I didn’t know almost anything about tattooing, just wanted to be a pirate and do piercings, yes!
Please, tell us the moment you decided to become a tattoo artist.
At the time I was studying engraving and graphic at the academy of fine arts and did piercings in a cute punk way to my friends (Haha).
I had thought maybe that can be my job, and so I went to the regional course, where they give me a tattoo machine for try and I completely fall in love and decided not to do anything else in my life.
How is tattooing in Napoli, a big Italian city? It the same in other parts of Italy?
Naples is a great city to grow up, as a person and as a craftsman; full of art and stimulation, open-minded if you know how, and really a lot of people enjoy tattoos, for a great variety of motifs, so you’ll never be bored for sure.
I love travelling around in Italy and out, even better, for tattooing, every city can offer something different and important.
How is Italian mentality with tattoos? Does it changed in the last 10 years, like in other European countries?
Unfortunately, in the last few years, tattoos have become a real “tattoo industry”, as they call it, so the mentality changes in a commercial way that often ruins all the beauty beyond.
Maybe in Italy a little more.
There are some good things also, for example like the fact that, especially nowadays, playing with our body, exploring and why not, goin’ hardcore, is more socially acceptable.
We DO love your artwork, and we can see a lot of different styles there, from realistic to ornamental ones, please, tell us with which one(s) are you more comfortable and why.
Thank you! 😀
I feel better when I can express myself.
I love doing ornamentals and stuff that allow me to interact with the body shape, love sacred subjects and illustrations because of my background, I love doing lines, and, most of all, it is inevitable for me to put in my works everything my brain has in it.
I do shading like I draw, so I feel comfortable with the dotwork shading technique because of the natural movement.
What is the tattoo you are proudest of?
My next one, obviously 😉
And which one is the more complicated one did you realize?
I think the complexity of the tattoo (once born in the head of course) maybe depends more on the customer, sometimes for technical reasons, sometimes for the empathy.
It's more complicated being a tattoo artist for women nowadays? Is something changing in tattoo world/industry about gender equality?
That’s a complicated question.
Personally, I’ve chosen and strongly wanted my gender not to affect my work since from the beginning.
I chose to not use my image for promote myself in any way, I always try to avoid and fight every stereotype, or sexual discrimination. And I feel well about the fact that overall, people are becoming more sensitized.
Even if the total acceptance of no matter your gender is still far. I think it’s also time to fight the fact that a lot of tattoo pages on the internet and magazines still continue to publish beautiful model with bad tattoos just for the hype that a nice ass can have.
Please, tell us a few tattoo artists who are worth today, in Italy or in the world.
Ok, another complicated question!
I have a lot of super good friends tattooers that I found awesome, also I look at all the different styles of tattooing (I don’t like to label styles, just promote the STYLE 🙂 ) so, that can be very varied.
Of course i have to thanks the boss Claudio Comite, I really admire him and his work, and I’m very impressed by Guy le tattooer, Xoil, Kyler Martz, Álvaro Flores, Lea Nahon, all the grazie of ornamentals.
And when I start, I always look at Jo Harrison’s work.
I believe she was years ahead, and the un1ty project now is awesome.
In Italy I love the works of Massimo Gurnari, Mayo aka Crap Man, the cyberdot concept of wruce bayne, and we have really a lot of super girlZ, so many and so strong that I should name them all.
And now my mind blows me with million names of super great tattooers, I literally found someone new and super every time I travel, go to new shops, conventions, or in those crazy times just open Instagram.
COVID19 is changing the world, did it affect you or your business? Did you tattoo some COVID related ones?
Yes, COVID-19 has ruined all my plans by now.
And the period was the worst ‘cause the stop in the months before summer, and the summer that already was “stop period”, and the uncertainty of the coming months, all those things were really necessary but, really sucks.
We feel uncomfortable with no helps in guidelines from the government. There is a new Italian association born, Corporazione Nazionale Tatuatori, that have done a great work for the Italian tattoo community with the e.c.b.a.i., maybe the only one really helpful for everyone.
Good thing now people seems to care more about the cleaning and the reliability of the shops. I really can’t find nothing else good here, can’t wait to be back travelling around.
Please, tell something to the people who want to become a tattoo artist, some advice you appreciated when you were starting.
Do not start this work just cause is trendy or super cool, if you don’t want to put really all yourself in, screw all the tattoo-rockstar-magnet-artist bullshit, choose well your teacher, and, like once someone really, really cool told me: take your time, and stay focused.