The Artist: Deno [NYC feature]

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Name: Deno

Profession: Tattoo Artist at Circus Tattoo, Madrid

Instagram: @denotattoo

The Story

“And he stole from the rich and the poor

and the not-very-rich and the very poor

and he stole all hearts away

he stole all hearts away….”

As Deno and I belted when the song, First Of The Gang To Die by Morrissey, came on during our tattoo session.

Deno is a Spanish tattoo artist that is based in Madrid and has been tattooing for 12 years. He recently opened his own tattoo studio, Circus Tattoo in Madrid where he has two apprentices, Jesus Cuesta and Bueno.

Wondering how he got started in tattooing, his reply was:

“I got a few tattoos and saw that it was very interesting. It was something different from graffiti and that got me interested.”

That decision he made getting into tattooing, is one that he does not regret, however it was how he started out that he feels, should have been better.

“I bought my own tattoo machine and basically experimented with my friends, looking back, those tattoos that i did were ugly and stupid.”

Having said that, Deno didn’t undergo an apprenticeship but learned his skills and techniques while working with other tattoo artist at different shops around the world.

Deno’s tattooing style of bold lines, vibrant colors and unique imagery is influenced by his graffiti style, which he has been doing since he was 15. Way before he started tattooing. The key for him has been to stay true to what he enjoys doing and to be an artist known for his unique graphics. One that whenever someone sees it, they know, it’s Deno’s.

As I arrived at Kings Avenue Tattoo studio, Deno approached me, introduced and then asked what tattoo design I wanted to get. Telling him, what I had in mind, he then proceeded to the drawing table to draw out the design. Being curious, I approached Deno and asked him if he was going to use a tattoo flash that he had already done before, but his answer was:

“I know that tattoo flash would make things easier for me, it saves time and effort. But I like to work on what my clients want. So that they get something personal and truly theirs.”

Immediately, I knew I was going to get something special and one of a kind!

The conversations that we had we aplenty. From how pain a tattoo feels on different parts of the body to the economic situation in Spain. It got interesting when we got to the topic on life, and doing the things you want to do. The debate was as usual, does money equal happiness.

I can say that the conclusion that we both had was that money is essential to get by. But rather be a slave to the system, the joy of waking up and knowing that work is enjoyable what you do is the best feeling ever.

“Each morning I wake up knowing that i’m going to do what I love. The hard work to reach where I am now is just part of the process. You either strive to do what you like or slave to what get’s you by.”

That instance, it made me realize that Deno, who by the way graduated as a philosophy major is truly happy at what he is doing.

When asked what advise he could give to people wanting to get tattoos, Deno immediately mentioned that one should always do some research about the tattoo artist that they are thinking of.

“Basically to understand each tattoo artists individual style and work. Work that they are great at, to get the best tattoo experience and meet ones expectations.”

By the end of our tattoo session, I realised that all the song that were playing were from Morrissey.

“I like to listen to Morrissey when i’m tattooing, but sometimes he get’s a little too… (Cues, Deno’s rendition of the Morrissey’s song Everyday is Like Sunday)…everyday is like sunday, everyday is silent and grey, if you know what i mean…”

We both burst into laughter once he was done. We finshed up, shook hands and I left. Leaving and knowing that Deno was an amazing tattoo artist and person that should the opportunity arise, I would like to meet him again.

Thank you Deno for this experience.

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The Tattoo Treasury

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