Freshly Inked Interview Gian Mauro Spanu
How old were you when you started tattooing?
I started tattooing at the age of 27, maybe a little later than the average of many tattoo artists.
What made you want to be a tattoo artist?
Attending the private study of a friend I was able to know the working day of the tattoo artist, from when he begins his work to when it ends, the relationship with the client, the design of the design through the idea given by the client or the choice of a flash ready (and also the importance of good music in the studio.) All this gives life to a beautifully creative and positive energy.
Do you like traveling or working mainly in the studio?
I started working professionally in a studio here in Florence, in the meantime, I collaborated with other nearby studios and I did guest in different cities of Italy, until I opened the Blue Bird Tattoo Studio, here in Florence. For now, I'm concentrating all my energy in this project of mine, and I will resume traveling next year because the journey is essential for a tattoo artist, helps stylistic growth and enriches the soul.
Have you ever been to America? If you have, how was it? If you have not done it, are you going to visit?
I've never been to America, despite being my major source of inspiration. For now, I would like to visit Europe more, I have had contacts with studies in England and Sweden and I still have a lot to see. There is always time and there is no lack of desire for new adventures, so maybe America will not be so far away.
Where else did you live?
I was born in Sardinia and for more than 10 years I live permanently in Florence, where I have lived the years of studies in the Academy. I then returned for a year to Nuoro, my hometown, where I learned the first notions of the tattoo. I have visited other places but only for short periods of work.
Where do you find the inspiration?
I find everything I need in the books and flash collections of all the tattoo artists of the past. I do not like to get too inspired by contemporary tattoo artists, I prefer to start from the roots and try to carry on what they started before me.
A rich bookstore is the basis of a good tattoo studio, I also have good clients who often show me great ideas for their tattoos.
An artist well known from Italy is Michelangelo, who famously said: I saw the angel in the marble and sculpted to make it free. Do you feel like you find that same freedom in your artistic work?
This is a difficult question, in the sense that I try to split Art from the Tattoo. I graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, I lived with art for about 10 years and then I met the world of tattoo, and I realized that between these two worlds there are no great similarities. I see the figure of the tattoo artist closer to that of the craftsman than to that of an artist.
Are there any other tattoo artists you would like to meet?
There are many tattoo artists that I admire and different I met them during conventions and guests, also for this reason traveling is very important.
Were there any interesting tattoos or strange tattooing requests?
Generally, people who expose their ideas to me know that I will interpret them with my style, as I said before, I am lucky to have excellent clients. They can stimulate me with their ideas, I like challenges!
You have a variety of gorgeous women's tattoos, what do you like about that style of women's tattoos? Are you influenced by the women you know in your life?
I would draw women for life, is an ancient subject and always present in the body of the tattooed, there is a woman in everyone's life, whether it is her mother or sister, partner or lover, I like the many possibilities with which it is possible to portray them, I started looking at those of Cap Coleman and Owen Jensen, which I find are the most elegant of all. Learning from their outlines, I also started to develop my personal subjects, I always love to reinterpret those of the past, but I feel the need to be able to go further.
The color you use is very detailed and vibrant, what do you suggest people use to keep beautiful colored tattoos?
As for the color, following the traditional style of tattooing, the advice I can give is that you must never miss the black in the shade with the color, it is the one that lasts over time and that you will see again after 10/20 years, I never fill my subjects too much in color, in the nuance. I like to leave space for the skin too, I would like my tattoos to remain well for many years.
For our Freshly Funny question, If you had to do another job besides the tattoo, what would you do?
Right now only the tattoo exists.