The Epic And Heavily Tattoo-Themed Art Style Of Ricardo Cavolo

Xavier in Stories

Tattoodo talks to visual artist Ricardo Cavolo about his inspirations, tattoos, and the music he listens to when he's making kickass art.

Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram

Ricardo Cavolo is a Spanish artist whose art definitely captured our hearts, making us want tattoos of his works all over us. Cavolo has his own brand of what he would describe as naïf style, which possesses elements like bright colors, bold symbols, tattoo imagery, and culturally-infused themes. It isn't the type of art you take one look at and then look away. There's a lot going on in his art works and we're here to find out more behind the man's art drive.

Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo

How would you describe your personal style?

I think it is a mix between naïf* style, with powerful color palette and full of symbolism to give a narrative sense to the artwork.

(*Naïve art is a classification of art that is often characterized by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique)

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Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo

And how did you develop this particular style in your art works?

I pretended to work on kids' books, that’s why I started to use a simple style. The sense of the colors [I use] was something my father gave me some lessons about. Something [about] being careful and spending more time on color (which is pretty basic). And [also some things regarding] the symbolisms because I love it when you find “something else” in an illustration, not just a beautiful drawing but some special meaning.

Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo

Where do you usually find inspiration? 

History of Art in general, especially from Romanic style and outsider [types of] art. I also find so much inspiration from old school tattoos.

What mediums do you use in most of your works?

I usually work with brushes and pens, calligraphic ink on paper.

Neck Deep's ”Life's Not Out to Get You” album artwork by Ricardo Cavolo
Neck Deep's ”Life's Not Out to Get You” album artwork by Ricardo Cavolo

Talk about the collaboration you did last year with the band Neck Deep and the story behind the art. It made a really big impact on the listeners.

Well, they liked my work, so they wanted me to work on this cover. As I told you before, I like to work on symbolisms and to give a narrative sense to my works. So I thought on developing the title of the album on some kind of long way adventure. It really worked, because after that they wanted me to develop a whole comic book with the same concept.

“101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die” by Ricardo Cavolo
“101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die” by Ricardo Cavolo

How about your book, 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die?

I love music and I need it every minute [like I need] oxygen or water. So I decided to create this sort of personal diary and to choose the 100 main bands I usually listen to as a personal profile [or playlist journal].

Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo

Tell us more about why tattoo imagery is very present in many of your works.

Tattoos [have] always been symbolic and that is one of the most important aspects from my works as well. I love the way [tattoos can] explain a concept with just a couple of symbols combined. And a tattoo has that primitive sense of magic by creating art on the skin [which may act] as protection or [some kind of] an amulet.

Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram

Share some things about your own tattoos. (We notice some of your designs among them!)

Yeah, most of my tattoos are my own design. [My art] is my language, so I need my own language in my own skin for the rest of my life [and] no one else’s language. All of them are episodes [taken] from my life or something I need to keep in mind; something I need to happen… There's always this primitive magic sense of [an] amulet [in them].

Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram

Do you plan on exploring tattooing or tattoo design?

I do design tattoos. I’m always receiving commissions for personal designs. And I love when people choose some of my drawings to get tattooed [on them].

Who are the artists you look up to the most?

All of [the artists I look up to] are anonymous, outsiders.

Which musicians are on your playlist when you’re at work? 

Especially rap, I get this funny vibe to work [when it's on]. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, Chief Keef, Future, Travis Scott… But I always have time for my favorite one—Johnny Cash.

Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo
Courtesy of Ricardo Cavolo

Tell us a bit about your future projects.

Right now I’m working on my new book, a project I had in mind for ten years and finally I got a book company to [get it] published. It is gonna be a sort of a handmade illustrated encyclopedia about all the outsider elements (people, cities, countries, animals, plants, artists...) of the world. And I’m also working on my own clothing brand.

Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram
Ricardo Cavolo/Instagram

Follow Ricardo on Instagram. You may visit his website here.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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