Fellipe Romeiro: 20 Years on the Artistic Journey
Embark on a visual journey with Fellipe Romeiro, a 39-year-old maestro of ink hailing from São Paulo, Brazil. With two decades of expertise, his tattoo artistry seamlessly blends urban vigor and ornamental finesse. In this exclusive interview, delve into the narratives of his 20-year career, explore the nuances of his distinctive style, and catch a glimpse of his future aspirations. Bridging the worlds of tattooing and broader artistic realms, Fellipe leaves an indelible mark on both skin and culture. Join us as we unravel the captivating intersection of fine art and tattoo through the lens of a seasoned artist.
Please tell our readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? And where do you work now?
- My name is Fellipe; I'm 39 years old and Brazilian, born in the city of São Paulo, one of the largest and craziest cities in the world! I started tattooing in 2002 at the age of 17 and never stopped. I love traveling and exploring new places and cultures, and tattooing is great because I can travel for both enjoyment and work at the same time. I've had the opportunity to travel and work in many places in Brazil and Europe. Currently, I am not a resident anywhere. I'm in a phase where the focus is on traveling and experiencing new surroundings. And who knows, maybe one day I'll anchor somewhere.
Who was your teacher, and who inspires you now?
- My first teacher was the late Leandro 'Vaca,' but Urubu, the owner of Tattoo Company SP, and the guys there were crucial to my development. They were the sole representatives of Micky Sharpz in Brazil, very active, and in the spotlight.
Today, many inspire me. I really like the graphics of Nissaco, Fibs is a great inspiration in utilizing body anatomy and flow. Naza is one of the greats in blackwork, defining large areas well in positive and negative. Isabella Buhring - inspires me with ornaments and foliage. I appreciate the textures that Amina Kat - adds to her work, creating veils and depths. These are the first ones that come to my mind right now.
Do you have an artistic background?
- Yes, I have a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from Belas Artes São Paulo. It was an incredible experience where I learned a lot, made great friends, and it wasn't easy at all! Hahaha. People think it's just about drawing, hahaha, but it goes much beyond that! It was four years of learning various techniques, supports, history, sociology, always with a lot of theory, practice, and concept. But I never stopped studying, always keeping myself updated. In recent years, I've taken courses in calligraphy, photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, etc. I find it extremely important to stay active and never stop learning.
Is tattooing art, a job, or something else for you?
- Tattooing is my job. But tattoo is my life…everything about it is related to tattoo. I'm fortunate to work with tattooing because, for me, it's fun and a pleasure. Now…whether tattooing is art or not is a controversial topic! I think we're on a fine line between being a craftsman or an artist. It's clear that tattooing has created a language, is intensely present in society, and great creative artists are developing incredible things to show their voice, create their original perspective, and for me, that is Art!
Your portfolio includes works in graphics and ornamentation. What do you prefer, and why?
- I look at graphics with the intention of ornamentation; I have no attachment to meanings. So, I believe ornamentation is what I've been seeking in these 20 years. At some points in my career, I didn't have it so defined, but it was always there. More recently, I understood that this is my focus.
What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?
- Transforming the skin into something even more beautiful. I want the person to carry that ink with pride and feel even better! Besides, I always enjoy myself.
Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, or projects, or perhaps some unusual stories in your career?
- Every tattoo is important to me, so I don't have a favorite tattoo. I have many clients who have become friends. One of my best friends, I met while tattooing. I find this relationship with clients very cool; it's one of the things that fascinate me in tattooing. It's an incredible experience to be with someone you don't know and spend hours talking with them.
And, of course, in over 20 years, I've had many unusual stories. Suddenly, I remember one from the beginning, where I tattooed the symbol of a football team on a guy, and when we finished, he looked in the mirror and said I had written it backward. He couldn't understand that the mirror reverses the image hahaha... he only believed it after calling his wife, who confirmed that it was correct hahaha...
You travel a lot. Where have you been so far? Which country has influenced your creativity the most? And where on this planet do you feel most comfortable?
- I've been to Argentina, Italy, Spain, France, the United States, and also extensively in my country, Brazil. Brazil is a huge and culturally rich country with incredible tattoo artists. But Italy is my favorite country, where I’m also a citizen and where I could travel and work with various tattoo artists. It's a country full of inspirations and references for my work.
You've been in the industry for over 20 years, and many know and appreciate your talent. However, you haven't actively developed your social media compared to your peers. Can you tell us why? And what has changed?
- When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I established my first studio, and it proved to be very successful. However, managing an open/street shop consumed a significant amount of my time. In 2007, I made the decision to transform my studio into a private one, exclusively catering to my clients and referrals. At that time, social media in Brazil wasn't as robust, and I was somewhat averse to it, perceiving it as purely exhibitionist. Consequently, I didn't give it much importance, as I already had an abundance of work and a loyal client base.
It wasn't until 2020, amidst the pandemic, that I recognized the crucial role social media could play as a global communication tool. Only then did I begin studying its dynamics and my wife, Luanda El Khalili, who has been working alongside me since the beginning, started studying social media management and takes care of our online presence. Today, we boast more than 30K followers, which is highly impressive to me. Until now, I haven't followed the overly commercial models of others; I tend to lean more towards Instagram stories, always with an artistic approach..
How about tattoo conventions? Can you share your experience?
- I participated in many conventions when I started tattooing, but there was a significant period when tattoo conventions became dull because they became too commercial and competitive. I think the internet also contributed to taking some attention away from conventions since we didn't need to go to a convention to see what was new or to buy different materials. The internet started giving us that, so I distanced myself completely. But I think some conventions are changing and returning with the intention of bringing people together and becoming interesting again. From 2020 onwards, many conventions were canceled, and some were even extinct due to the pandemic, so these last years were not the best for conventions.
Recently, I participated in a sensational convention in Rome, Italy, at the largest cultural and social center in Europe (CSOA-Forte Prenestino). It had only invited guests, and I was the only international tattoo artist. It was incredible, a festive atmosphere without competition, where the goal was to tattoo, get to know each other, learn, have fun, and part of the income collected by the tattoo artists was donated to an institution that trains tattoo artists in Rome. It was unforgettable! And now, conventions are returning to their regular schedule, and I've already started receiving invitations and registering again. For now, my next one will be the Ankonvetional-Ancona, Italy in November, but the year hasn't even started!
What else do you do besides tattooing?
- Almost 100% of my time is involved with the tattooing world. Besides that, I’m always drawing, painting, creating patterns and designs for my future products and projects. But I also love motorcycles, and I'm always traveling with my wife, skateboarding, and going to shows and bars to have a good beer with friends.
What is the most important thing in a tattoo artist's career for you? What goals do you set for yourself? Share your creative plans for the near future.
- I believe the most important thing is to find a balance between the various aspects of a tattoo artist's work. It's important to tattoo, but it's also crucial to be aware of what's happening around us, always studying, drawing a lot, and having a good relationship with clients and other tattoo artists. An active tattoo artist is a creative soul.
In the future, I want to strengthen my relationships with other tattoo artists and collaborations, participate in and create events like conventions and exhibitions, bridging the worlds of arts and tattoos, and enhance my relationship with the tattoo industry. And obviously, travel to other countries for tattooing.