Artists: Moni Marino
Personal studio Vienna, Austria
What year did you start tattooing?
1993, in Italy. I was 14 years old.
How did you get into tattooing?
The very, very first time—before using the tattoo machine that my father gave me—I used a sewing needle, thread, and Pelikan ink. I wrapped the thread around the needle tip, and after wetting the ink I tattooed the letter “M” on my wrist by doing the needle points close together.
What was your first shop experience like?
I have taught myself how to tattoo. I only worked for a few months in a tattoo studio before opening my own. I didn’t learn from anyone. It was a very hard time and a very long process.
What is the tattoo culture like in Germany?
I worked in Germany for eight years. The business of tattooing is very strong there, and the demand is high. I’m so thankful to the German public for having supported my work and me for all these years, and now that I often equally work in Austria, almost every day I’m tattooing customers who travel from Germany to Austria to come to get tattooed by me.
What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do this year?
This year I’m really traveling a lot. Here is my guest spot and convention tour: the Starlight Tattoo Studio in Las vegas; The Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth in Las vegas; Artline Tattoo Studio in Austria; the Tattoo Expo in Zwickau, Germany; Da Cosa Nasce Cosa in Piacenza, Italy; the Tattoo Expo in Milano, Italy; the Tattoo Expo in Frankfurt, Germany; the Giahi Tattoo Studio in Switzerland; the Tattoo Expo in Graz, Austria; the Rock ’N’ Ink Tattoo Festival in Chemnitz, Germany; Ink-N-Iron on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA; the Tattoo Convention in London; the Tattoo Expo in Barcelona, Spain; the Evian Tattoo Show in France; and Tattoo Week Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
How do you describe your style?
My style is realism in full color, but also I am in love with tattooing in the Chicano style in black-and-gray. I also love tattooing venetian masks and portraits of beautiful women.
What inspires you as an artist?
As an artist, I think that the best tattoos are those that represent life experiences, memories, travel.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I think it is that I try to give a soul to every tattoo I do, especially in portraits, making them extremely expressive and emotional.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I really admire Randy Engelhard as an artist, friend, and person.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Of course a lot of new custom works. You know, the biggest challenge I faced in my career is the one with myself. Don’t ever think that I have arrived at the destination; the challenge continues every time I start to make a new tattoo. I try to do even better than the last time. It is a continuous challenge, and it is a continuous growth without limits. In the future I will also devote a little bit more time to oil painting.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I am lucky to have wonderful clients who trust me and listen to me. It is important before starting a session that the customer is rested and has eaten enough. A session of seven to eight hours requires a lot of mental and physical strength.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Yes! There are so many! For example, a full sleeve inspired by the world of cinema of the past.
You are sponsored by Intenze. Does using their ink help better your work?
The use of Intenze colors is essential in my work. The infinite range of colors stimulates my imagination and the desire to create a new tattoo that is more and more beautiful and detailed.