A humble artist with immense talent, Guillaume de la Torre, also known as Gandhi Horibooty, mostly focuses on Japanese works. Vivid colors, and with a uniquely personal touch, Gandhi works out of Ritual Tattoo and Purple Sun in Brussels, Belgium. In this interview, he gives us a peak into his beginnings as a tattooer, what he loves most about the community, and what he might bring with him if stranded on a desert island.
How did you get into tattooing and why were you drawn to it?
Why and how is delicate, because it’s meetings and how life has drawn me! But to be short, I have been interesting in this sub-culture and the interaction with other arts such as music, for example. After self tattooing on my leg like everyone, I was getting tattooed by the French tattoo artist Lea Nahon who was working in Paris at the moment. I fell in love with her freedom of creativity; at this time I thought tattooing was only Traditional or Realistic.. and then I started searching tattoo artists who were trying to do something different...I was pretty young and immature and asked shamelessly where to buy a machine etc. and mistakes never going alone, I started to make scratches on friends, and luckily they don’t feel a grudge! Then after an opportunity as an apprentice in Brussels that didn’t last or end so well for me, I finally found a place in the older street shop where I still work in Ritual. And friends of mine and former residents in Ritual offered me to join them at Purple Sun.
Why is Japanese the style you decided to focus on? What iconography or imagery are you most inspired or drawn to?
I really love Japanese for many reasons: it’s full of history, stories and folklore references. It considers the entire body as in placement and background, and it's lasted super well regarding how long this style exist in the tattoo history, like Tribal or Western Traditional. Ukiyo-e, animals, and flowers are my all time favorite!
What have been your favorite moments during your tattoo career? What do you love about tattooing?
I can’t tell if I already have a tattoo career! 😅 The meetings with the people who I really love their work is something that's the most exciting and you learn more even if it’s not about tattooing! Long sessions talking about everything with Jean-Luc Navette or tattoo time with my masters or my clients, in all ways I love tattooing as a craftwork...technically, artistically, and socially!!!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the best advice you feel you can give? What’s your definition of success?
As a young tattooer, the best advice I received and I could give is to focus on a style, or few, and push it again and again and to give something personal but keeping in mind that, nowadays, no one can really invent something really new, but create with your own inspirations!
How do you feel about the future of the tattoo industry? What needs to change and what should stay the same?
Well.. I am not legitimate about the industry as a craftworker and not a influencer haha, I’m just a dreamer hoping that most of the tattooers do this job with and for Love...not for the fame.
You’re stranded on a desert island and can only have one book, one toy, one movie, and one record. What do you choose?
Ouch, on a desert island, I would be practical with “the market gardener” something like this!
1 book, Walden by H. D. Thoreau
1 toy, my bike? Or dice if limited in size
1 movie, The Shawshank Redemption
1 record, OM ‘s Advaitic Songs and all OM’s and Grails discography! And Melvins, Moby’s Ambient...
too hard for 1 record!
Rose and butterfly tattoo by Gandhi aka Guillaume de la Torre #Gandhi #GuillaumedelaTorre #japanese #roses #butterflies #butterfly #traditional #tattoosondarkskin #darkskintattoos #floral #nature #flowers
Do you have any projects, events, or plans upcoming in the future you’d like to share?
The future is uncertain, in Belgium we are closed for 3 months in a row and 5 altogether this year so I don’t have real new plans about tattooing except to start big projects and to push more in the way I use to do in 2019 haha! Thank you for interviewing and for reading me ❤️