Strong faces where man and wild seems to merge into one another. From Belo Horizonte, in Brazil, Fredao Oliveira deep lines calls for contemplation. He tell us about his journey as a tattoo artist.
Lire l’interview en français ici.
What did you dream of a s a kid ?
As most kids, I wanted to be a fireman to help people.
Who were your childhood heroes ?
Rocky Balboa and Bruce Lee.
What did you thought you would do ?
I’ve always imagined myself involved with art. Drawing was and is serious stuff in my opinion. Besides, I felt I didn’t fit regular schools as a child. I didn’t fit the system. My brother, the older one, was an artist and he always gave me good advice. He taught me to focus and that art was something to be taken seriously.
What was your first tattoo ?
I got my first tattoo when I was only 13, in such a precarious situation. Obviously, I didn’t tell my mother. I got a Japanese letter and it was terrible ! But I believe the most important tattoo was one I got on my hand by Felipe Andrade. I admire him a lot. He is the one who introduced some fundamental techniques to me.
Of all the designs and drawings you tattooed on people, which tattoos are you especially proud of ?
I believe all tattoos are important because every single one of them teaches me and makes me better. But while in Europe, recently, I made an elephant that I’m very proud of. It took me three days, eight hours a day. The piece came out nice. Besides, the client came a long way from another country just to meet me, and he sat like a rock. Tattooing the chest and the stomach is pretty painful. It was special.
How would you define your style as a tattoo artist ?
My training comes from comic drawings. That’s what I always did. But when I started tattooing, some people told me it would not work well on skin. So I started working on other styles, such as new school and neo traditional. As I started feeling more confident, I came back to the start, which is the thing that makes me truly happy. Then my work became close to a much more rough style, lots of contrast and textures and details. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t know how to define myself in terms of style.
Do you think everybody will be tattooed in the future ?
I sure do ! And I even think that we’ll have some kind of product to remove tattoos to make space for new ones !
In the end, what do tattoos stands for ?
Tattoo stands for life. Tattoo is my life. Everything that I am and everything that I have is because of my work as a tattooer. That’s how I met my friends. That’s how I met my wife and had my son. Tattoo saved my life.
07/18/2016 – Email interview by Christophe Chadefaud