Italian artist-tattooist Matteo Cascetti works in a rare style for today, bringing tattoo art closer to the fine arts of the past. The uniqueness and unusualness of his works amazes the hearts of lovers of modern tattoo, not constrained by any kind of framework and limitations of self-expression.
Hello, Matteo. Let's start from our traditional questions. Tell us, how it all began for you? How and when did you come into tattooing? what did you do before?
- I started tattooing very young, in 1995 when I was 15 years old. I was a turbulent teenager and the only thing I liked to do was to draw. So when a guy gave to me my first tattoo in 1994 in a back room, I was immediately fascinated ... I had found my way, I decided, I would, I wanted to dedicate my life to this art. I did all my best to be able to buy the equipment for tattooing, and after that in the evening I tattooed my friends and relatives.
What possible career did you leave for tattoo?
- I would say, no career, I come from a village in central Italy and I did not have many opportunities to study. At the best way, I would have finished in the factory, when there were still jobs in the areas, the current situation in central Italy has worsened, economic crises and earthquakes helped the young to leave their work. I would say that I made the right choice even though there was less tattooing at the time, now I do a job that I love, on my homeland with which I can lead a dignified life and support my family.
Do you have any special training?
- I am self-taught, at the time there were no courses, seminars and web. There were only 3-4 tattoo shops for hundreds of kilometers, and everybody were very jealous of their work ... nobody told you anything, at most you could go, get tattoos from them and watch.
Do you remember your the first customer and your feelings as the tattoo master, when you did the first tattoo?
- I was able to find a tattoo machine by writing a letter to a Dutch company that I believe no longer hesitates. When I arrived I had no idea how to assemble needles etc ... in various attempts I managed to weld a few needle and I did my first tattoo, a rose, on the wrist of my older brother ... I was very excited and I had the sweat dripping from my forehead, I was enthusiastic at work, reviewing it for today is not the best, but at that time that little rose had filled all the empty spaces in my life, it was magical ... I did not stop anymore, I was hungry to "know" more, the tattoo had kidnapped me.
What is the most attractive thing in the tattoo for you?
- The emotions that I perceive have changed over the years. A few years ago I wanted to push to improve my technique more and more , so every veiled nuance I could get filled me with pride. Over time I began to understand that I wanted to make unique and recognisable works over the years. Now the part that I like best is the story of my client, it is always a challenge to be able to interpret human thoughts and emotions...
What or who is the source of inspiration for you?
- Drawing as a child, at the beginning, I was inspired by the great artists of the past, from Caravaggio to Rembrandt ... then I discovered the impressionists and modern, I love Gauguin and George Braque. Many tattoo artists are also inspiring for me. Even if I try to transmit my personal energy in my works, inevitably I influenced by multiple images with which I come into contact every day and through the "social" all this becomes more and more frequent.
A couple of years ago, when my son was two years old, he started scribbling on sheets of paper ... at that moment I realized that I had not learned anything, all that technical research achieved had the sole purpose of pleasing the client to discomfort of simplicity, so I started to unlearn and let myself go. My best teacher was my child.
Tell us about the style of your work.
- At this moment in my works the one can easily notice a great Cubist influence, even if with some more "soft" notes. The grotesque human condition has always fascinated me, even though I often represent it with a touch of irony and rich in symbolism. Probably drawing is my best medicine. I could define my style «introspection".
What’s features makes your tattoo really yours and unique?
- I do not know. I do not think that I have reached my "lighting on the way to Damascus" yet. I do not follow a precise style in the setting of my artistic "showcase". I do not want to be pleased. I want to have fun while I do my work and get excited at end of work.
What does the word «tattoo» mean for you?
- I like to believe that every person who chooses to receive a tattoo of mine will do so with the desire to express strong, beautiful or bad emotions.
To tell something about himself or his vision of the world, an expression to strengthen one's inner "self" in a world that is increasingly indifferent to the thinking individual individual.
We are now considered and treated as a "flock" from the system, I think that the tattoo is a practice that awakens in us a primordial instinct, that of identifying us as human beings still able to dream and desire, a cry from our unconscious to say: here, I exist ... and I born and die every day.
Thank you, Matteo!
- Thank you very much!