Art Nouveau is known for its graceful ornamental elements of design captured from the legacy of nature; filigree frames of gold mirrored after delicate leaves and floral motifs, precious gems reflecting the gift of light from the sun. Although the art movement only lasted about twenty years, from 1890 to 1910, a century later it continues to inspire artists across the world, including Tattoodo Ambassador: Vale Lovette.
Vale has made a name for herself doing elegant pieces for her clients that infuse a contemporary eye with the antique rhythmic nature of Art Nouveau, Neo Traditional, and Japanese stylings. Co-owner of the shop Seven Lakes Tattoo in Varese, Italy, she continues her dedication to the art form, honing her artistry and upholding the highest of standards for the tattoo community.
What is your artistic background? How did you get into tattooing?
This is not just a riveting and fantastic journey, but it is simply the story of a passion born, grown and matured over time, born more than 15 years ago, when I was only 18, thanks to some tattooed friends. Tattoos immediately fascinated me and from that moment I started to get excited and understand who and what was exactly part of that world...It was a way to escape, to be unique, to show your own personality...
Unfortunately, I have never had the good fortune to get an apprenticeship and now, I recognize it, I trained myself. Of course to get tattooed and make tattoos has been fundamental. I had a studio before the Seven Lakes Tattoo, in 2008. Unfortunately it was the wrong city and the wrong time: I was working alone and I felt the need to have new experiences and to exchange with others. For this reason I decided to close that studio, to travel and move to Milan, working at Milano City Ink, a place where I had the opportunity to work with many artists, among the best ones in Italy. Without the burden of previous responsibilities, the possibilities to move and travel more easily grew. Milan is a city that has given me so much, but where, unfortunately, I cannot live. That's why I decided to go back to my native city, where I opened Seven Lakes Tattoo, with my partner and friend Vinnie La Rosa.
Your artwork blends a lot of movements and styles, while also infused with your own voice. A lot of it reminds me of art nouveau, but seriously dark. Who are your favorite artists, films, or books? What inspires you?
I love this new ornamental style, I love the movements and shapes that can be adapted to the body, especially to the female one. As you might have guessed, I really get inspired by Art Nouveau, which has always inspired me, because I think it is the artistic current with more flow and harmony. Art Nouveau and Japanese art both go together and, even in the Neo Traditional works I have always used, in the details, decorations that recall lace. I did nothing but enlarge these details to full body and here is the result.
The first inspiration is nature, its perfect and surreal geometries are for me the first ever form of art. I love Mucha, the Decadence, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Renaissance, the Japanese art. I really like cinematography a lot and I could make a very long list of movies that I do really adore, but I will mention one that is the very first one I have in mind: Interstellar.
Currently you have a bunch of large back pieces that you’re working on. What does it feel like to have people give you so much trust with their body? What is the process like in creating such large pieces?
I started these big projects a year ago. The first one was a request from one of my clients and, from that moment on, I developed the idea. It's beautiful when people entrust you with such an important part of their body, in short, I've always had a little fear of dealing with such large body parts. It’s not easy! It requires a lot of study and the development of a suitable technique to ensure that everything works as well as possible, from the project, to the preparation of the stencil, to the positioning of the stencil and to draw lines...you must have a lot of patience, even if I honestly adopted some tricks over time. Generally, especially for the first session, I need to have the availability of the whole day with the customer!
What was it like opening up your own shop? What are the pros and cons of taking on the extra responsibility of shop owner?
I was moving on from a very stressful period and the opening of the new studio in my city was definitely a big benefit. Initially the fear of having to build new customers from scratch was very strong, but fortunately I was followed by many people, and the responsibilities were and are still shared with my partner, with whom there is a relationship of mutual trust and support.
Being a store owner implies many responsibilities, not only from a bureaucratic point of view. For this reason I would never have opened a studio by myself. When you enter the door you feel as if you were at your own home, it's your “mirror” and the place where you spend most of your days, you must feel good in it!
What is most important to your productivity as an artist? How do you keep up with the demand for your artworks?
The most important thing for my artistic productivity are the likes on social networks!! Hahahaha!!!!!! No! Definitely no! I am only joking ... I'm joking about this precise historical period! The most important thing for me is customer satisfaction, it is the center of the goal that we have to achieve, otherwise everything is meaningless. I can fortunately handle my works, so as not to overlap anything and not to overload the work; the request is constant and everything is well-organized, a perfect balance that keeps anxiety away.
Why do you love tattooing? What is it about tattoos that makes them so powerful?
Why do I like tattooing? Tattooing is my life. It means dedication, every day, for every tattoo, with a great commitment. I like to tattoo because I can create something beautiful on a person’s body, something that this person will have forever, a memory of that moment for a lifetime...
Impact, readability, cleanliness and solidity are the main adjectives I can use when I think about how a perfect tattoo should be. The power comes as a consequence, just following small rules. I wish I could go back in time, when the ”watercolor” did not exist yet, aaah how nice it would be!
What do you do when you’re not tattooing? What is your favorite travel story?
When I'm not tattooing, I love spending time with my family and with my friends. I love painting with a movie playing in the background or doing anything that brings me closer to art.
Last year in Japan!!!! A pleasure trip, after a long time without traveling. It was the most beautiful trip ever, a fantastic place that everyone should visit once in your life. It is very amazing: its people, its places, I would say ... it is pretty crazy!
What do you hope 2018 has in store? Any events, travel plans or projects you’ve got in the making?
I hope that 2018 has in store only beautiful things ... of course ... I could think of collaborations with new and old friends, collaborations of which you can’t get enough. I have a project in progress, outside of tattoos, but for superstition I don’t wanna talk about it. Apart from a few conventions, I do not feel like traveling at this moment, I just want to enjoy our studio and make it work well.