Artists: Jerry Magni
What year did you start tattooing: 1996
Do you have any special training: In 1986 I enrolled the School of comics in Milan and after I got my diploma in 1990 I started my career as a comic artist and illustrator in the firsts 90s. I believe that the path to become a better artist is strictly connected to a continuous learning so I try as much as I can to participate to as many seminars, workshops and online classes as I can; not just about tattooing but also about art, anatomy, digital painting and more.
Tell us about the style of your work: Right now my style tends to the realism but it's mostly because the kind of requests I get, but I like experimenting also other styles, in particular I would like to have the chance to work more on cartoony works. I feel to be a quite versatile artist, I like to draw almost anything and almost in any style. I like the idea to make something unique for my customers so I take all the time needed to study in detail the drawings I will tattoo. I like that my works aren't just some iconic images on skin but they tell a story, of course when the clients request permit that. I think I'm bringing my background as a comic artist and illustrator in that.
Conventions usually worked: I participated to few of them but I think my way of working don't fit them. I prefer to discuss the work in detail, taking all the time needed to prepare the preliminary drawings and work in a more relaxed environment than a convention. So, unless I have the time to plan the work ahead, it' a situation I avoid. But I cannot resist invitations so, if invited, maybe I participate even if I have no bookings, to know other artists, see them at work and maybe to work on some nice piece from scratch on clients that pop up by chance.
Where did you apprentice?: Unfortunately I never had the chance to get a proper apprenticeship. When I started tattooing seriously, during the 90s, the tattoo culture in Italy was at its early stage so there wasn't tattoo shop or professionals on which I could relate, for sure not close to the little town where I live.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: There are so many, too many to list them. Limiting the discussion to tattoos there are a lot of artists able to do spectacular works but I think there are few of them that really create something new, recognizable and hardly reproducible. Those artists are the ones I admire the most, their skill in creating a unique style that can't be reproduced without being recognized as a copy I find it's mazing and I hope to reach that level one day.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: A question I often ask to my clients is: "this drawing you want on your skin, would you frame it and hang it on the best wall of your house?" If I see any doubt or hesitation I invite them to reconsider the project. With my clients I always try to dig deep inside to understand what push them towards an image or a meaning, this helps me to understand better if there's a different and/or better way to do that works. I think this kind of reflection will also help them not just finding the best image to represent what they desire but also make them love their tattoo for many years to come.
How did you get into tattooing: It was a long journey. I started tattooing myself at the early age of 14/15. My friends after they saw my tattoo asked me to tattoo them also and with all the irresponsibility a 15 years old kid can have I accepted. this thing went on/off for some years, the requests increased when I enrolled at the school of comics, probably because at the eyes of friends and acquaintances the fact of being in an artistic school made me even more legitimate to do tattoos. During the mandatory military service I even became the tattooist of my battalion. After that, in the firsts 90s, I started my career as a comic artist and illustrator, at the same time in Italy the tattoo culture started to spread out and subsequently the requests from people who wanted a tattoo from me increased, so in 1995 I got my first tattoo kit to tattoo safely and responsibly (until then my tools were just a sewing needle and some cotton ball). In the same year I published a book of tattoo flash and the next year I started collaboration with a magazine about flash. From then on it was an increasing not just of projects related to tattoos but also of proper tattoos, but despite the constant and increasing interest for tattoos I still wasn't interested in the idea of making it a profession. Around the firsts 2000, due to a crisis of the editorial market in Italy, I felt quite unsure about my future, it was then that a dear friend of mine made me notice how everything I was doing related to tattoos were going smoothly and that maybe I stayed for too long time def to the path that the destiny was trying to show me from years. Those words pushed me to re-evaluate my career and in 2005 I opened my studio trying to fill the gap and doing my best to increase my knowledge about tattoos as much as possible. From then on it was a crescendo and I never regret enough my inability to see the signals that the destiny was sending to me, but probably that was the path I needed to become who I am now.
What inspires you to be an artist: Everything can be inspirational, a comic, a painting, a song but over all the inspiration comes from my clients' ideas. When I listen to them I leave to my mind the freedom to create images and finding the style that can fit at best their ideas.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: There isn't a precise kind of tattoos. I like working on big projects, full coloured, on original ideas that can give me the chance to create something unusual. sometimes I have ideas that I would like to work on but I have to relate to my clients' requests so many of my personal ideas end noted or basically sketched in some drawer waiting they can fit some client's idea.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I always wanted re-interpreting in my way the 22 major arcana from the tarots but until now I never had a request which gave me the chance to work on even one of those arcana. I would like to work on those drawings and hang them on my studio waiting for clients interested in those drawings but tight now I'm so busy preparing so many drawings that I don't know when and if I will find the time to work on them.