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Despite its current state of political unrest, Venezuela is home to some of the most talented and hardworking tattoo artists in the world. One of those artists is Orbis Lopez, who creates stunning realism tattoos in the heart of Caracas, the nation’s capital. Since beginning his career as a tattoo artist just over five years ago, Lopez has developed an impressive reputation as both a skilled color and black-and-grey realism artist. From his first tattoo onward, Lopez has strived to create beautiful tattoos for his clients and isn’t planning on resting on his laurels any time soon.

When did you first pursue a career in tattooing and which artists were influential in your decision?

I did my first tattoo at 19 years old. The funny thing is that this tattoo was not made on a person but on pig skin. It took a couple of months for me to feel confident enough to tattoo a person. I always had an idea that despite being new and having little knowledge about the art of tattooing, the work that my first clients would get would be the best possible.

What motivated me to start was not necessarily an artist, but tattooing as another artistic technique. To carry work of the same quality and artistic value as a painting or a sculpture to the human body.

How would you describe your signature style and how have you developed it over time?

I would define my way of tattooing as a combination of several styles, all with elements of realism. I’ve been developing and improving over time, since at the beginning, most of us who make realism focus on reproduction. Evolving as artists, we put a twist on the composition so that besides being unique, the tattoo has a personal touch and is recognizable.

How does someone become a world-renowned color realism artist?

I have faith in my work and I strive everyday to improve and perfect it. I think that to reach that title, all of us who live by and for art have to leave everything in each piece we make. In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to represent my country, Venezuela, and achieve success, but I think that my best work is the one I haven’t yet realized. The next one should be better than the previous one and perfection is unattainable.

Where do you find inspiration for your horror tattoos?

I consider myself a cinephile and the horror genre is my favorite. What inspires me about this genre is the power to combine creativity and the most common fears of society. My favorite horror movies are Halloween, Chucky, The Exorcist, The Conjuring, It and Saw.

Which artists do you admire, both past and present?

My biggest inspiration of all time is Salvador Dalí, for being the father of surrealism. Another thing that makes me identify with him is his eccentricity. I have so much admiration for this great Spanish artist that I have my left arm completely tattooed with my favorite works by him and three of his portraits.

Beyond tattooing, which other art mediums do you work in?

In addition to tattooing, I obtained my university degree in advertising graphic design. Since I was very young, I have learned artistic techniques such as charcoal, graphite, oil painting, acrylic, watercolors, color pencils and sculpture.

If you had to choose, would you choose black-and-grey or color?

I feel very comfortable doing color as much as black-and-grey, but if I had to choose, I’ll admit that black-and-grey is my passion.

Follow Orbis Lopez on Instagram @orbis.lopez