Artists: Juan Salgado
Color Conspiracy Tattoo Gallery
Centro Comercial Altamira
Calle Perseo Esq. Sirio #4
San Juan PR 00922
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing in 2002 when I was 20 years-old and I was studying art in college full-time.
How did you get into tattooing?
Tattooing has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. None of my family members had tattoos so I think probably the music I listened to throughout the years has been the biggest influence. I have always been interested in art so all of my friends wanted me to tattoo. I was interested but getting the opportunity here on my island was close to impossible. One day a friend of mine came back from Boston, where he lived for a couple of years, and brought with him some tattoo equipment he got there. He lent it to me and I haven’t stopped since.
Where did you apprentice?
I started the first three months in my house and then a nearby shop heard about me and offered me a job. I spent four years working there and then my partners and I opened our own shop.
Do you have any special training?
I have studied art since I was little in private classes, then I studied in an art high school here in Puerto Rico at Central de Artes Visuales, which was amazing, and then I studied different mediums of art in three different Colleges. I have studied commercial arts, drawing, painting, sculpture, computer design, etc.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I’ve worked in a couple of local conventions here in Puerto Rico and in the US. My favorites or most memorable would be Hell City, OH, Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Massachusetts, Las Vegas Tattoo Convention and Skin Design Tattoo and Arts Convention In Puerto Rico. I’ve won probably over 40 awards already in multiple categories, especially Tattoo of the Day and Best Color.
How do you describe your style?
I think my “style” is a combination of everything I’ve learned and liked throughout my career. With every project I do, no matter the medium I use, I always do my best using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years. That is why it is hard to catalogue myself because I don’t see a particular style, I am just trying to convey my art the best I can.
What inspires you as an artist?
Beauty in every aspect of it, from the darkest to the most glorious. Nature, feelings, dreams, the psychology of the mind, optical illusions of any kind and lots of other stuff. I can get inspired with a sunset or just a small thought so I can say everything inspires me.
What other mediums do you work in?
Right now the other mediums I’m working with besides tattooing are oil painting, acrylic painting, aerosol cans and colored pencils. I think colored pencil is a great training medium for tattooing. But my favorite, because of its blending properties and freedom, is definitely oil painting.
What tattoo artist’s do you admire most?
I admire a lot of tattoo artists. Among my favorites and most influential is Guy Aitchison who is not only my friend, mentor and tattoo artist but is also one of the biggest figures the tattoo world has in it’s history. I also admire Nick Baxter for always pushing the limits and keeping all of us artists pushing them too. I want a tattoo by him, Shige, Phillip Leu, Paul Booth, Adrian Lee, Jesse Smith and much more!
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Anything that blows my mind and is fun to do! I love the human figure, especially the hands and faces, skulls, flowers, women and also lots of flow and movement.
Have you tattooed any celebrities?
Yes, I’ve tattooed a couple of local celebrities here in Puerto Rico like Ricky Martin, Willy Rodriguez of Cultura Profetica, Sergio Curbelo, Ivy Queen and some more.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
I would love to tattoo anyone interested. I think girls make great canvases for my art. There are a lot of people I admire that I would want to wear my art. Definitely at the top of my list is Robi Draco Rosa who is an amazing artist, music producer, writer and is from Puerto Rico also.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I always advise them to trust my decisions. I usually illustrate their idea so I have what they want in mind and I try to visualize it. Every project for me is a collaboration between client and artist.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I want a full blank body to create an amazing body suit. I would love someone willing to get it, knowing the enormous compromise they are making. I often do all of my pieces having in mind that people would want to continue expanding it at some point.