Artists: Carlos Ortiz
What year did you start tattooing: 2006
Do you have any special training: since I was 8 years old, I learned from watching my older brother tattoo. He was 13 years old when he started and I watched him for the entire 17 years that he tattooed. I also have a bachelors degree in illustration form the American Academy of art in Chicago.
Tell us about the style of your work: realistic is the most appealing to me at the moment, both in black and grey and color. I like to apply tight detail but make the piece more about the overall look rather than the tiny details.
Conventions usually worked: mostly chicago conventions at the moment, I enjoy meeting local people and it gives them a chance to find out about my work when they otherwise might not. I have recently started doing mor out of state and international shows as well.
Where did you apprentice?: I learned and apprenticed somewhat non-traditionally from my brother form an early age. when I was young, I would draw things for him and he would tattoo them, I would also make his stencils by hand for a while before he bought a thermofax. We did any tattoo to grow the business, and When he finally decided to open studio, I worked with him side by side constantly for about 6 years straight. There was many nights I worked until the sun came up and I found him passed out on the couch when I was done, those were some good times in my life. Unfortunately my brother developed stills disease when he was only 23, and he struggled with it until he passed away at the young age of 31. I always keep him on my mind when I feel down and feel grateful to have been given the time to get to know him and learn from him.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Any artist combining great technique with great ideas. There is too many to count but one of my favorites is certainly Robert Hernandez. I also constantly read and watch videos of artist from many different mediums that I admire, not just tattooing.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: give the artist as much leeway as possible with the design, particularly if you are not an artist. be open to interpretation and don't have an exact image or location in mind, because often we will need to change the idea to make it something that is strong on skin. the best tattoos I've done were because the client gave me only a few words and let me do the rest. When things go the other way and a client directs the tattoo from beginning to end, it usually sacrifices the quality to me. The most important thing however is for a client to be happy with their piece. They are going to be wearing it and that is something we need to remember.
How did you get into tattooing: When we would visit Mexico early on, we would see really young kids tattooing themselves. kids barely turning 11 or 12 where doing it on the streets. My brother was very mechanically inclined (he received a degree in mechanical engineering) and began making home made machines and tattooing before he was even in high school. I was practicing with my brothers equipment after learning from him for a long time, and I finally decided to purchase my own equipment. After that I began working as often as I could stay awake.
What inspires you to be an artist: Many things inspire me as an artist, I love the feeling of creating something or learning something new. Doing work for people when it makes a difference in their life is also very inspirational and gives my career meaning. The history and amazing development in the last 100 years is inspiring to see, especially when I think back and see how it developed in my own lifetime. I can't help but feel lucky to see it grow so much in the last 20 years.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: I look forward to tattoos that give me a lot of freedom. It has a lot to do with a client having the trust in you to make the best decisions for a piece. when this happens a tattoo artist can really come up with things that will be attention grabbing and truly stand the test of time.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I would love to do more surreal and horror inspired tattoos. up to now I feel like I have been proving my technical ability and I can't wait to continue doing what I do and taking my work in different directions. Developing myself in every way is important to keep a sense of satisfaction in my life and career.