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The black-and gray realism tattoos are a recent development.
Artists like Oscar Castano Every day, they produce mind-blowing artwork that forever changes what was possible 10 years ago. Castano is a Columbian native who has made America his home. Castano works currently out of Under Skin Art in Bergenfield, New Jersey, Castano surrounds himself in amazing artists, from which he hopes to learn more. Castano is a well-known tattoo artist who has won numerous awards at tattoo conventions. Castano spoke to us about his passion for art and his interest in tattooing animals portraits.
When did you first develop an interest in art?
Every aspect of art has fascinated me since I was a child. I love drawing, painting and sculpture. But it was high school that I first began to study art.
What was your journey to becoming a tattoo artist.
All it took was luck, and the right people at the right times and places. I never thought that I would be a tattoo artist.
When I first started tattooing, everything was much more difficult. No technological tools existed. A mentor was the best way to learn how to do this art. He taught me little by little, and I began serving my first clients at 19 years of age. I then started full-time as a tattoo artist.
Why did you choose black-and-grey realist?
After exploring the various styles I found that my passion was to be able achieve high contrasts with shadows and lights using only blacks. However, what excites me most about these tattoos is how they heal.
Do you think that color could be a future option?
This is something I would consider considering I worked in the industry for 10+ years. Although I really enjoyed it, I was ready to give up on it and just focus my efforts exclusively on working with black-and gray after I discovered a deep passion for this look.
Let us know how color is used in black-and-grey pieces.
They are sometimes used when I need to emphasize a particular point in the design. I also try to use a small amount of color to create a strong visual impact.
Do you want to tattoo more?
Japanese design is something I love, but haven’t been able do much with. To learn more about the Japanese culture, and to be inspired by artists that do it, I must first learn how to make this happen.
Which tattoo designs are your favorites?
These tattoos are animal-themed. They are very easy to do and they can be done many times. I love the challenge of creating their intricate details and textures.
What are your options for finding references?
When I am making animals, I usually look for professional photographers that specialize in animal photography. I also use search engines like Pinterest and devinart to find different references.
Many awards have been won at tattoo conventions. Do you think tattooing is competitive?
As I’ve seen at the conventions, it seems that the majority of artists work on excellent pieces, with which to compete for trophies. Artists feel great artistic satisfaction and personal fulfillment.
How do you judge conventions?
The jury meets at the table every time to determine the guidelines that will be used to judge. I, however, look at how the tattoo looks, what contrasts and lighting are used, cleanliness, quality of finishes and composition in the areas where it is being done, creativity, as well as the treatment of the skin.
We would love to hear about your experiences tattooing in America while running a business in Colombia, thousands of kilometers away.
It was easy for me because I had always wanted to tattoo in America. On the other, my Colombian shop is managed by an extremely competitive and trusted artist. It allows me to grow my business in the United States, without it being a problem.
What direction do you see art heading in the future
There are many high-level tattoo artists in the United States. As I look to the future, I envision myself learning from and sharing my knowledge with them.
I will be able to continue my education and improve my skills in the country. My greatest challenge is to exceed myself every day and continue offering my customers top-quality pieces.
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