“I believe being an artist can be alone is the biggest challenge you can face, being able to spread your message through art and get people to see, listen or feel your message isn’t something easy"

We went and met Italian Native & tattoo artist Tom Petucco and asked how how he started in the industry, what advice he has for new artists trying to find there way and what his biggest success is to date.  Tom's art truly stands out as his own with influences of street art and pop art his ability to adapt all different styles and make it his own is absolute genius. We are massive fans here at The Hobo Journal. 

So tell us who is Tom Petucco? and when and how did you get into tattooing? 

Well I'm an artist originally from Bassano del Grappa,a town in northern Italy near Venice, travelling worldwide to share art and tattoos as much as I can … My very first memory about tattoos goes back to when I was very very young..I used to love those stick on tattoos and used to cover my body with them, until the day I was at the beach with my grandparents and I saw someone with real tattoos and they weren’t wearing off in water…the very next day on our way home we came across this man and I asked him (I was about 7-8 years old )how the tattoos are still there after a week and not coming off like mine, he laughed and said they are real and not coming off and one day I'll understand why…and that was the spark for me hahah.. I knew I wanted my body to be full of tattoos almost like a protective armature you know… In my teens I was and still very much nowadays into graffiti, hip-hop and street art and there was a nice and inspirational underground scene in my town and I was part of it. After that I decided to move to London as every tattoo magazine I was picking up were featuring insane tattoos and artists based in London…so tha's where where I had to be to learn properly. so I packed my stuff, emptied my flat and left my job and took off to London around the age of 19-20 to follow this movement and try to be 100% part of it …and over 10 years later here I am …

How would you describe your style and is this a style that you first chose or something that has developed over time? 

Mmmh my style? Good question lol Normally I wouldn’t place myself into a specific category of styles..mainly because I can mix quite a few technics and mash everything together like a it’s kinda hard to pinpoint the name of what I do but I would definitely say it’s like modern abstract,  modern pop-art type of work. I took my passion from bold and bright graffiti elements, inspiration from abstract artist, mainly Spanish surrealism artists, and high contrast photography which is something I also enjoy a lot ,put them into a blender and see what comes out of that ,lol.. So over the years my style developed into what I’m doing now but I’m constantly looking for the next thing every time like i said graffiti and street art always been the backbone of my art, it will always have a space in my tattoos because they represent who I am as a person and where I come from, artistically speaking .

What advice would you offer someone considering the industry as a career? And what would you say to young creatives trying to find their style or voice? 

The main thing I’d say is to just to work really really hard and simply go for it… Like every industry you'll find all sorts of people…Some of them will tell ya it’s not for you and you ll never make it, but you'll have to be able to channel this into motivation rather than desperation so you can prove them wrong one day.. I m “lucky” to have a strong personality and I'm very stubborn if i have a goal i want to reach or a dream I can realistically accomplish I'll go for it no matter what it takes and how long it will take. Patience plays a huge part in the tattoo industry especially at the beginning because it takes a long time and a lot of practice to see the results, but if you believe in yourself hard enough everything will pay off in the end… Just work really hard and believe in what you doing no matter what people say..

Do you think there are challenges in being a tattoo artist that artists on different platforms don’t face? 

I believe being an artist can be alone is the biggest challenge you can face, being able to spread your message through art and get people to see, listen or feel your message isn’t something easy…telling this to you being a photographer definitely you know what I mean, catching that moment and try transmit it to people so they can feel what you feel is a huge task but regarding tattooing i think nowadays the challenge would be to find something lasting but also not repetitive and boring … Social media are overflowing with amazing artists and young talents so you always have to keep up because everything is moving really fast. Machines and equipment are getting better and better and I think it’s very important to find the tools your comfortable with, but always keep in mind things move forward and you don’t wanna get stuck behind you know… So if you reach a good level and made your way into the industry with the big boys, you have to work really hard to stay at your top game and don’t fall behind … 

How do you evaluate success as a tattoo artist? 

I would definitely say the uniqueness of you're style and to be able to recognise the artist right away by the piece you see… I think nowadays it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the mass and present something quite unique and different you know… Everyone with practise can learn how to do a straight line and how to do shading but i believe it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an accomplished artist … What you can get out of yourself and your mind and translate into a tattoo or anything artsy and make it really “yours” ,almost like a signature and to be recognised as the artist who did it just by looking at it, that’s a huge career achievement..

What is your greatest personal and professional achievement? 

I would say the aspiration and courage I had to just leave my comfy hometown life and just went literally to chase my dream… I was very young, never really traveled much and didn’t have a good grip on the language and only knew one person in London at the time, but that’s what i wanted to do and nothing would have changed my mind… And now I look back and very often think what my life would of been without moving here to London, without all the people i've met and made the connections worldwide just by living in this city i love so much.. So this covers as well my professional life, because London gave me access to so many cultures, religions, languages and diversity all in one spot so through this you get to know so many artists. I also believe travelling and attending important conventions and expos gave me the ability to integrate and connect with people is the biggest achievement for me…I don’t think I could have done it without living in London for many years with such a mix-match community and many inspirational things and people you can find’s almost like a little world on it’s own..

Here at The Hobo Journal we love to travel hence the name, where is the best place you have visited and why? 

We could be here for hours talking about travels and places to visit haha But if I have to pick somewhere I would say Melbourne is one of them for sure…I had the privilege to be there many times for conventions and i've lived there for a bit too…and it’s like a mini London but more chill and not so fast, people are also super nice, cool and quirky and the city has a lot to offer and has a very good vibe..some of my favourite tattoos were made there.. And the other one would be Venice, although it’s close to my home I pick Venice because there's nothing like it in the world…many places might look similar,or they remind you of it but Venice has a completely different layout each time you turn a corner. A Few yeasr ago I participated at Venice international tattoo expo with my friend and colleague Tom Farrow and when we went to Venice (the convention was inland outside the characteristics Venice) he freaked out by the amount of art, music and general inspiration and atmosphere that surrounds the city…it just screams art and history everywhere…it’s just so magical you do feel like you're inside a movie scene… So for as many times as I’ve been to Venice ,and especially for an artist, it’s like a Mecca of art history and you can only understand it once you step into it for the first time. Last but not least my baby London…the city who shaped the artist I am today..I'm based in Madrid now but I'm regularly trying to be back in London as much as I can and the feeling of it, it’s just sensational …like i’ve mentioned before it’s like a completely different world and it’s also not a city for everyone I guess, it really tests you and you have to be able to handle the pressure and very fast pace of life otherwise you won’t make it ,lol


More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer   

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