Skip to main content

In an ideal world, we’d all wake up every morning excited to go to work. This isn’t an ideal world, however—jobs often end up sucking the vitality out of us, even when it’s in an industry we love.  Andres Makishi is one of the lucky ones. Looking at his work, you can immediately tell he has fun at his job. Makishi began his tattoo career in his home country of Perú before he made the move to New York City, where he delights his clients with his vivid and imaginative designs. He’s a tattoo polymath: able to execute designs both large and small, color and black-and-grey, detailed or simplified. We caught up with Makishi to learn about his entry into tattooing, his favorite movies for artistic inspiration and much more.

Take us through your upbringing and how you developed a love for art. 

Everyone in my family is an artist, and they’ve been a great influence on me. My parents aren’t tattoo artists, but they do other things like painting. I can say that since I was a child, I was surrounded by art in some way or another. I graduated top of my graphic design program back in college, but I was really into tattooing. A good friend from my neighborhood offered himself as a canvas, my dad made my first tattooing machine, and that is how it all began.

How did you go about learning how to tattoo? 

I started learning from tutorials on the internet and watched how other tattoo artists worked. After a year, I had the opportunity to join Zhimpa Tattoos, a very well known tattoo studio in Perú. It was an amazing experience because I got to learn from Zhimpa Moreno and the other members of the team.

How does your process differ when designing a micro tattoo versus a large piece?

When I’m working on a large piece, I try to use less elements and characters. I do this because I don’t want to oversaturate the piece with too many things so that the final piece will look good from any distance. If I overcomplicate the design with too many things it won’t look as good, in my opinion. On the other hand, when I’m working on a micro-realism piece I like to add a lot of details. This sounds a bit contradictory because the space for micro-realism is way smaller.

Do you prefer micro tattoos or big pieces? Black-and-grey or color?

I prefer micro tattoos because of the complexity and the details I can work with in such a small area. Color will always be something I prefer since I can work with different tones and textures. I like to play with colors and try to find the exact colors for the piece. Also, when you work on a color micro tattoo I think you can appreciate the details more.

What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve done? What makes them stand out to you?

I think the tattoos I’ve done at conventions are the ones I’ve enjoyed most. I think this is because of the excitement of working in a space with other artists. For example, at one of my last conventions, I did a micro-realism piece of Walter White from “Breaking Bad” and it had a lot of details in it.

Tell us about the stained glass tattoos you’ve done. How did you come up with this idea and how has it grown since then?

The first stained glass design I did was Alice from “Alice in Wonderland.” I saw it in a Disney art book and I liked the concept, so I’ve brought it to my designs with my own style.

What other art mediums do you work in, aside from tattooing?

I’m always trying to learn new things that will help me artistically. I like to create with different tools—like markers, pencils and acrylic paint—but I have found that oil painting is my favorite. I think I can achieve better details with oil paint and I find it easier to work with than other paints.

 What are some of your favorite movies to find inspiration? 

I really enjoy Studio Ghibli movies like “Ponyo,” “Porco Rosso” and “Princess Mononoke.” The stories, characters and art in every movie are unique.