Artists: Victor Chil
Family Art Tattoo
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing at 19. I had just returned to Barcelona after moving to a very small town where I started with graffiti. In Barcelona I started drawing school and decided to get a tattoo by Rafa from Ronin Tattoo. After getting a bit more confidence, I told him that I would like to learn to tattoo. He agreed to help me. Then I went back to my town and tattooed my friends. When I had more practice I started tattooing more often in Barcelona. It was really hard at first because I did not know people in the tattoo world, but I was always very consistent and I never thought about quitting.
Although you have a new school style, your work is very clean, and it’s also nicely saturated. It often incorporates textures and creates good depth, and the way you use the color is amazing and soft. How do you manage to find ways to make your ideas transfer to your work?
I always try to play with several styles. With new school, traditional, Asian, and realism, I merged resources and the applications of each technique into one. Whenever I draw up a design for a tattoo I first look for fluidity and a dynamic in line with the body. The same idea does not have the same composition for a leg as it does for an arm. Each part has its composition, and then I look for a more aggressive, sweeter, or crazier style. Then I add illustration and narrative techniques, which allow a clear reading of the drawing and personalization according to the customer, all with a clear and worked application to last for years.
In addition to caricature, your work in realism and portraits is very good. You use great colors that resemble actual skin tones. You get to work in these styles that are so different from new school—so which do you find more difficult?
The truth is that realism relaxes me. It also requires more time because I have to be copying. Compared to new school, in which I have the flexibility to be more expressive and looser as I decide how to do it. I do not start from any reference, I find it more comfortable and faster. Regarding the difficulty, I think realism is more difficult, as just a line or a shorter color spot in the wrong place can change everything and make a beautiful girl look like a man. With new school, you can change a teddy bear to a fat teddy bear, and that helps. [Laughs] So it is easier since I will decide where the lines and colors go and what colors to use. Obviously, the style that I find most amusing is new school; I can do crazy and funny stories as seen in my tattoos that tell stories very visually.
Where do you find your muse, your inspiration? Inspiration?
I love Pixar animation movies; they do an amazing job! I am also inspired by comic artists, and certainly many tattoo artists inspire me.
What artists inside and outside tattooing have inspired or influenced you?
First Rafa, who taught me. Once I acquired more culture, the likes of Shige, Jeff Gogue, and friends like Alan Padilla, Fonzy, and Riccardo Cassese impressed me. Outside of the tattoo world, artists like Caravaggio, Goya, and many others of that time fascinate me, and my favorite contemporary and close friend of many years, Raul Moreno (Xusco).
You are an artist with a very full schedule. Which conventions do you attend regularly?
Normally I attend conventions around Europe, like Rome, Barcelona, Naples, Amsterdam, Milan, Florence, Nantes, Brussels, and some others. Last year, 2013, I attended the London Convention for the first time. It’s the best yet! I plan to visit friends in Los Angeles in March 2014. I guess I’ll be there a month and I’m thinking of going back again for summer—I cannot wait!
When you are not tattooing, how do you like to spend your time?
When I have free time, of which I have very little, I try to rest if I’m not painting—and attempt, I repeat, attempt to do a bit of sport, and that does take guts. [Laughs.]