Ink, Passion, and Patience: The Artistic path of Federico Galliani
Federico Galliani, the maestro of ink, embarked on his artistic path straight out of high school. His fascination with the enigmatic world of tattoos led him to diverse jobs, each paycheck meticulously channeled towards a pivotal tattoo course that marked the genesis of his flourishing career. Unbound by the confines of formal art education, Federico's journey was propelled by an innate love for drawing cultivated since childhood. His artistic evolution, spanning nine years, witnessed the opening of his studio, White Label Tattoo, near Milan in September 2019.
Federico's unique style finds its roots in the realm of black and gray realism, a preference born from a lasting admiration for its intricate charm. Noted for his meticulous attention to detail, he imparts a distinctive touch to his creations, ensuring that the final result surpasses the freshly inked canvas, evolving into a lasting masterpiece during the healing process. Federico's portraiture works, distinguished by their depth and meticulous detailing, mirror his unwavering dedication to his craft, free from shortcuts and driven by immense patience and concentration.
Why did you decide to become a tattoo artist? And what did you do before?
- I decided to become a tattoo artist just after high school! There wasn't a real reason; I only know that I was already tattooed, and I was really fascinated by that "world"! So after school, I did some months doing whatever job I could just to gain the money to pay for my tattoo course.
Do you have an art education?
- I didn't attend an artistic school; I just love drawing since I was a child, and I think that passion pushed me into the tattoo industry.
How did your career begin? Were there any difficulties? Who was your mentor?
- My career began nine years ago. I didn't have many difficulties; I have plenty of friends who gave me pieces of skin just to practice, some of them got terrible "tattoos" that they decided to keep on their skin as memories of my beginning (laughs). My mentor was one of the oldest tattoo artists in my city, but I also did lots of seminars to improve my technique.
Where do you work now?
- My headquarters is my studio, White Label Tattoo, in Cesano Maderno, 15 minutes from Milan. We opened it in September 2019.
Why did you choose black and gray realism as the foundation for your work?
- I don't know really, but realism black and gray was the style that always impressed me since I was young. I started tattooing everything the customers asked me, but since I started, I knew I would have loved doing black and gray.
What are the unique features that you personally highlight in your tattoos?
- I love adding a lot of details to my works, but I also want to put a solid imprint on them. Sometimes my works are better when they are healed than just done, and I love this.
Is tattooing art, work, or something else for you?
- Tattooing is everything. It's my passion; it's a way to express my view of art, and it's also the job that I love. I think it's a mix of all three.
Can you tell us about how you create your projects? How can a realism tattoo artist express themselves in this style?
- I always ask my customer the subject he wants and also the meaning he wants to represent. In realism, we work with photos; it's hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd, but I put some graphical elements to "mark" my sign.
Your portrait works are truly delightful! Could you share insights into how you achieve such depth and detail? Are there specific techniques or tricks you employ?
- I don't have any tricks, unfortunately; only a lot of patience, that's my secret. Trying to work slowly and concentrated is the only way I know to do my portraits. There is no magic! We all start from a stencil.
Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, projects, or perhaps some unusual stories in your career?
- One of the stories that involved me the most was a portrait of a marriage kiss between husband and wife, on the husband's arm. He lost his wife just a few months before, and his feelings and his thanks at the end of the job filled me with pride and a melancholic happiness.
What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?
- The most important part of my job is giving my best to the clients, trying to satisfy them with my art and my touch. Tattoo is, for sure, the final result, but also the experience with the tattoo artist, and I always try, in my way, to give my customers an incredible experience.
Do you participate in tattoo conventions? Can you share your experience? And do you think it's necessary for a modern tattoo artist to participate in such events?
- Yes, I participate in some conventions. The feeling with them is love and hate (laughs). I love them because I meet lots of people and there are some competitive vibes that I love. I "hate" them because sometimes it's difficult to remain concentrated while you are working. I think that it's always cool to participate, even if it could be indifferent sometimes.
You are sponsored by two of the most renowned brands in the tattoo industry: Radiant and Dermalize. Can you share how you achieved these sponsorships? What does it mean to you, and what do these collaborations bring to you as a tattoo artist?
- I am sponsored by Radiant and Dermalize since 2020. I will always be grateful to them for believing in me and my vision of tattooing. They wrote to me after mentioning them on my works on Instagram because I use Radiant Black, and they liked my job! It's cool to be sponsored also to know other artists with the same sponsor, and you can have collective growth and knowledge sharing.
How do you assess your popularity? And in your opinion, how can it be measured?
- I don't want to be seen as a "rockstar" or something. I don't like tattoo artists that act like that. I just want to improve myself, be known for my skill, and maybe be an inspiration for modern tattoo artists!
What is the most important thing in your career as a tattoo artist? What goals do you set for yourself? Share your creative plans for the near future.
- As I said, my goal is always to improve my skill, work a lot and make people happier and cooler with my tattoos! Be recognized as an artist and also travel doing my work; that's the best thing in the world! I want to thank you for this interview and hope to see you all soon!