Artists: Juan Diego Prieto
What year did you start tattooing: 2013
Do you have any special training: I received an MFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 2017. I had special training in different printmaking techniques during this program.
Tell us about the style of your work: My work develops from a traditional approach to tattooing where I create an interplay between fine line contours and a really smooth black and grey shading. I´m really interested in making tattoos that are both delicate and tough looking, similar to the style that prison tattoos have. I also try to include contents of my Latino background into my tattoos. I do this by working over classical images that relate to contents such as religion, romance, violence, and death.
Conventions usually worked: I work recently at the Villain Arts convention in Wynwood, Miami. Looking forward to doing more this year.
Where did you apprentice?: I apprenticed back in Bogota, Colombia at a shop called Calvo Tattoo.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Lately, I´ve been interested in the work of Ruby Quilter, Sarah Schor, Chuco Moreno and Oliver Macintosh. All of them are fine line tattoo artists.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: Usually, I tell my clients to check thoroughly the design before getting it. People must feel confident with the piece they´re gonna get.
How did you get into tattooing: I got into tattooing just by hanging out at tattoo shops and spending time with other tattoo artists. I´ve always loved graphic art, especially the imagery that tattooing deals with. You know: skulls, roses, snakes, tigers, etc. I decided to become a tattoo artist once I realized how embedded these contents are in the tattoo culture and how tattooers deeply respect their work. Tattooing is a life commitment.
What inspires you to be an artist: Tradition is what inspires me as a tattoo artist. Is amazing to see how powerful are the images and contents that tattooing keeps exploring over and over. I think that my goal is to find my own voice and style within those images, within those boundaries that tradition sets up. How can I push forward a skull design that has been drawn a million times by other artists? This ongoing questioning is what makes me want to tattoo better.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: Bigger pieces. This is gonna allow me to make more intricate tattoos.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: Probably a fullback Jesus or Virgin Mary. That´d be tough.