Going deeper behind the scenes of what it's like to be a tattoo artist, we interviewed Tattoodo Ambassador Lupo Horiokami about his work, and how he has made a home for Irezumi within Italy. From his young punk rock roots to his current status of Mushin Studio owner, and incredibly well respected tattoo artist, of Vicenza, Italy, Lupo's works have caught the eye of clients all over the globe. Gracefully merging traditional Japanese designs with bold, contemporary motifs, Lupo Horiokami is a highly skilled artist Tattoodo is honored to call family.
How and why did you get into tattooing? What do you think, as far as your past, background or upbringing, supported your artistic career?
I entered the world of tattoos through music and my passion for drawing. Later, around the years 96-98, I was listening to hard core punk music, as I used to go to see American bands that played and many had traditional American tattoos very much showing. Having already a passion for design, they catalyzed my attention very strongly.
I believe that every background is important for the training of a person's work, I have been more artistically supported by my passion for music and by the journeys I have undertaken over the years.
What artists, art movements, or other visuals, like movies, inspire your artwork?
I feel a deep interest in Japanese art and prints, among my favorite artists are Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Hokusai, Kyosai, Yoshitoshi, Utamaro and others less known. I am very inspired by natural compositions including the movement of clouds, water and rocks. I like studying the less obvious parts of the compositions. At the cinema level, I grew up with the classic 1970s samurai films, and then I approached the arthouse films, like Akira Kurosawa.
Your tattoos are immediately recognizable as your own handiwork. How has your style evolved and why were you drawn to Japanese art forms?
I believe that the Japanese style must have a basic study in order to understand the fundamentals, even just the dynamics of the tattoo. everyone chooses a style of Japanese that is closer to their personality according to their culture, this style varies depending on the experiences you make during your life and based on what you want to express, I am convinced that the style of a tattoo artist is constantly evolving, always maintaining a traditional base.
What do you love about Italy? What is the Italian tattoo scene like?
I think that Italy is a wonderful country with many resources, above all natural. The Italian tattoo scene has evolved so technically in recent years, but the artistic part of the tattoo has lost a bit its traditional roots of the study of the subjects and I believe that Italian tattoo artists are more limited to look at the work of others rather than putting themselves to study a personal and personal style. Doing so you lose identity.
Beyond tattooing, what are you most passionate about? If you weren’t a tattooer what would you be doing?
If I had not been a tattoo artist I would have always remained within an artistic field, perhaps I would have dedicated myself to the study of ukiyo prints and I would have continued to draw in general, probably making graphics, or working in the worlds of art or fashion.
What does success mean to you? What makes you happy?
For me, success means being able to have the freedom to do what you want and have the resources to do it, and be 100% free to express yourself. It makes me happy to be able to have a balanced life and find the time to travel and do what I have to do without stress.
2018 is hopefully going to be an awesome year...do you have any travel plans, collabs, projects, or new materials/techniques you hope to work in?
I have a lot of new ideas for work and new collaborations in fashion and design, and I hope to spend some time on these projects, in addition to my desire to travel for work, and to work with people who inspire me, is always present.