Artists: Carlos Torres
1117 S. Pacific Ave.
San Pedro, CA 90731
What year did you start tattooing?
I did my first tattoo in ’96 but didn’t start tattooing at a shop until a couple years later.
How did you get into tattooing?
I drew a lot as a kid. A lot of my friends encouraged me. I owe them for that!
Where did you apprentice?
I probably shouldn’t say this, but I never had an apprenticeship. Those same friends that were encouraging me also let me practice tattooing on them, a whole lot of trial and error. It’s not something I’d recommend. I think I would be a lot farther along in my tattooing if I had apprenticed under someone.
Do you have any special training?
Other than my Special Forces and CIA training? I like to oil paint.
What conventions have you worked? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I’ve worked at quite a few conventions. I couldn’t even begin to name them all. I like to work the conventions in Europe. I have won some awards; probably one of the coolest was first place black-and-gray in London last year. As far as convention memories, there are way too many. It feels good to run into my friends all over the world. I only get to see them every so often, so it’s always a good time!
How do you describe your style?
Black-and-gray realism/surrealism. I think I have more of a painterly style.
What inspires you as an artist?
I guess just life. Seeing as much as I can, anywhere I can, and trying to retain the information.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I’m not sure if I do anything special that sets me apart from all the other artists, but I do like to work hard and learn from every tattoo or piece of art. I get inspired and motivated by not being happy with most of my work. I know it can always be better, so I keep pushing.
What other mediums do you work in?
I have really been into oil painting the past few years. I also like to draw with charcoal and pencils.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I’m hoping to pursue oil painting in the future. I have been privileged to take classes and workshops with some awesome painters like Shawn Barber, Sean Cheetham, [Michael] Hussar, and Kevin Llewellyn. I have also worked with Sullen Clothing Company for the past few years, making designs for t-shirts. It has been a pretty fun experience. Those guys are practically family.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
There are way too many to name! There are so many good artists out there right now. I’m actually about to get tattooed by Victor Portugal in Poland. Robert Hernandez is also one of my favorites; I really enjoy his originality and creativity. There are also the guys that are really pushing color, like Nikko Hurtado and Jeff Gogue.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I really like to draw, so I look forward to doing realistic and surreal images. Big and bold!
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
A full bodysuit, black-and-gray, that I can plan from the very beginning on a new, clean canvas.