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In this INKED Exclusive with Yomico Moreno and Paul Booth, they share their thoughts on mastering their craft, the tattoos they wear on themselves and the tattoo industry is a whole. 

Yomico Moreno

Instagram Handle: @yomicoart

Hyperrealism artist, Yomico Moreno, from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, made his first tattoo with a homemade machine. Eventually getting a job at a friend’s tattoo studio, Moreno began to grow his craft. Now tattooing for 15 years, the 36-year-old credits his thirst to learn for landing amongst the greats in the illustrator industry.

“My first tattoo was done on my cousin,” Moreno said. “I always loved painting and drawing, but I remember that day I was super nervous, because I knew that it would be on someone's skin for the rest of their lives.” He adds, “Obviously it was a disaster, but the sensation of finally doing it was definitely something I will never forget.” Moreno enjoys creating concepts that tell a story, in the hopes that it can be understood without being explained. Noting artists like Paul Booth, Dmitri Samohin, Filip Leu, Shige, Victor Portugal, Carlos Torres and Nikko Hurtado, Moreno says, “Without these names I would not have had the necessary inspiration to continue growing. I will always be grateful to them.” Appreciative that he has had the opportunity to thank these tattoo legends with a handshake, Moreno adds, “Respect and recognition for me are necessary in this industry.”

Yomico Moreno’s first tattoo of his personal collection was of a skull, and says he still loves getting skulls inked on his body, adding, ”Perhaps it shows how we truly are on the inside.” Tattooed by artists like Robert Hernandez, Steve Butcher, Jess Yen, Sam Barber, and Axel Lopez, Moreno, like many artists, has tattooed many of his own illustrations on himself. He summarizes his tattoo collection as “marked memories,” saying, “Though I have tattoos done by excellent colleagues, I have others that are just part of my personal evolution in life, as well as artistic evolution.” Not wanting to cover any of them he adds, “I like seeing them and go back in my head to 5, 10, or 15 years ago.”

Paul Booth

Instagram Handle: @paulbooth

Through Paul Booth’s black-and-grey macabre tattoo style, a cult-like fandom soon followed. The 52-year-old artist, having tattooed WWE icon the Undertaker, members of Slipknot, Slayer, Pantera and Lamb of God, as well as Greg Allman and countless other rockers, has been knighted as “The New King of Rock Tattoos” by Rolling Stone Magazine.

A painter before he a tattooist, the proud metalhead considers himself a multi-disciplinary artist, working in mediums such as sculpting, filmmaking and music, alongside painting and tattooing. Booth's favorite subjects to tattoo include demons, monsters and anything that deals with the dark side of the human condition. He prefers large-scale work; tattooing on torsos, backs and creating bodysuits. “The bigger it is, the more I can make it fit the body,” he said.

The self-taught tattoo artist opened Last Rites Tattoo Theatre in New York City in 1998, and later, dark art exhibit Last Rites Gallery, which quickly became a legendary destination for those dedicated to – and inquisitive about – Booth’s demonic domain. In 2000, Booth co-founded the international charitable art organization, The ArtFusion Experiment, with artists Filip and Titine Leu. This organization, in association with The International Child Arts Foundation, is devoted to bringing art to underprivileged children from around the world. In 2005, Booth was the first tattoo artist to receive the honor of being inducted to the National Arts Club.

Booth’s first tattoo was of his daughter’s name, which started his interest in the art form. Now covered in old-school work, he describes his tattoo collection as “moments of my history that I reflect back on when I look at them.” Booth says he gets tattoos for individualism, rebellion, and a bit of shock value, adding, “Tattoo art is a transformative process and I am grateful to play a role in that for my clients.”

Requiring 100% artistic freedom from clients when he designs a tattoo, Booth prefers to develop an idea with his client in the moment, and let it happen organically on its own. Being a legendary leader in the tattoo scene for over 30 years, Booth has seen many changes within the industry. He assures us: “It’s going to Hell in a hand basket.”