Fibs is known for his blend of Japanese, illustrative and dark art illustrations that flow over the skin like tattoo should. A Tattoodo Ambassador who is known for his exemplary portfolio of black and grey works. In this interview with the artist he gives some insight into his background and inspirations.
Originally you grew up doing graffiti. How does that inform your art now? How did you get into tattooing and what drew you to this community?
Graffiti was a very committed art form and of course if you want to be good at something you have to be committed but graffiti is as tough as it comes. So in terms of work ethics it gave me a good base. In terms of art form it was different from tattooing but one thing that I related to was the flow and composition in tattoos, especially large scale work, Japanese, tribal. And that was similar to laying out a wall...stuff had to make sense and flow.
Tattooing seem to be the best option back when I started. In 2002 it started as a job. I was doing walk-ins, trying to learn technique. I liked it but I was more passionate for the graffiti and painting around the city, recognition was everything back then. That was tattooing for me in my first years.
How would you describe your style? Why were you so drawn to Japanese style, and how have you made it your own?
Well, right now I'm fully focused on Japanese or illustrated style approach. I try to embrace outlines and shading. I also focus on composition and how I can come up with new ways to it. When I started Japanese or Asian inspired style it was the masters styles. It had flow, it had contrast, it had certain rules to it. It was complex and because of that it was very challenging. Guess what? 16 years later it still has all that and I think it has even higher standards now just by the amount of quality work that is being produced.
Who are your heroes, both tattooing and not? Who are the artists you look up to, both tattooers and not?
I got a bunch of heroes from music heroes like Maiden, Rush, and Tool to tattoo legends and tattoo artist....friends I get a really positive energy from. All this. I'm also hooked into art history trying to understand evolution and putting myself in different periods in time to understand it.
With all the changes in the industry due to social media, technology, etc. the landscape of the tattooing community has changed a lot. Since you’ve been in the industry for almost two decades, what are the main ways you’ve seen it change?
For me social media has been great. I’ve been able to reach a whole new wave of people. Got to know other artist with similar points of view and style. You can say we are a little group that's there working hard and trying to make a few good tattoos who are very respectful of each other.
Of course, you have the negative aspects of social media which I think is taking away from that learning curve you need, especially as a young artist trying to understand this art form. You need to know your history, to have respect for it, and then work with meaning will be achieved.
Many people have a very concrete stance on things like home tattooers, what makes a good tattoo, the history/future of the art form, etc. What is your personal tattooing philosophy? What is the most important aspect of tattooing to you?
History and future is where we sit, you said it best. We can’t move forward without respect; this is in every aspect of life. Think about it.
Any plans for 2018 that you want to share? Guest spots, travel plans, new projects?
As I write this we are embarking on a 3 month traveling schedule that will take us to Canada, New York, UK, California and Taiwan finally ending in our home town of San Juan, Puerto Rico for the convention. When I say we, I mean my wife who travels with me everywhere. She’s amazing.