Growing up, Venezuelan artist, Jeanmarco Cicolini, was immersed in art. Drawing and painting since childhood, he later studied graphic design, going on to become a web designer later in life. After seeing the movie Poison Ivy, starring Drew Barrymore, Jeanmarco was mesmerized by the scene where Barrymore’s character, Ivy, gets a cross made of rose vines tattooed on her leg. From that point on, Jeanmarco says that he began researching the process and procedures for tattooing.
These days, Jeanmarco is an award-winning ink slinger known around the globe as one of the lead artists in the complex style of geometric tattoos, creating awe-inspiring tattoos with incredible accuracy and precision. Known as the “Mandala Maker,” the Spain-based artist has also added mandala designs and dotwork into the mix along the way to add yet another level of wonder to his portfolio.
Ink Latino reached out to Jeanmarco to chat about his early days in the tattoo industry, his inspirations, how he goes about preparing his intricate tattoo designs, his travel plans for 2016, and he even offered up some advice for both clients and aspiring tattoo artists who are looking to dive elbow-deep into ink.
Ink Latino: What was it about tattooing that made you want to venture into a career as a tattoo artist?
Jeanmarco Cicolini: I started tattooing my friends at home. I liked the experience of decorating the skins of people with beautiful designs. Tattoo art is my passion.
When you first dove into tattooing did you seek out an apprenticeship or did you go the self-taught route?
At first, when I started, I was self-taught—then, I moved to Italy to work as an apprentice in a tattoo shop.
Who were some of the artists that trained you?
Various artists helped me: Mayla (of Inside Tattoo Shop in Italy), Gianni, Chell (in Venezuela), Darwin Enriquez, José Contreras, Yomico Moreno, and some others.
Can you tell us a bit about how you came upon the geometric style of tattooing and what was it about that style that made you decide to master it?
When working in Italy, I accompanied my colleagues to tattoo conventions and, at the Convention of Napoli, I met the artist Marco Galdo and his wife. I think it was the first time that I saw tattoos and geometric designs made in dotwork. Since that time, I started to research about the geometric style of tattoos.
Your pieces look like they require an elevated level of concentration. How are you able to accomplish these pieces with such accuracy?
Yes, they require a lot of concentration and precision to achieve good pieces. I put my designs into 3D models to analyze the size and the complexity of the design before I begin to tattoo. That helps me a lot.
What goes into the typical preparation for one of your pieces?
I always design in Photoshop, drawing all the designs, and then I place it in a 3D model to adjust the exactness of where I want the pieces to stay. Out of the entire process, the stencil design I think is the hardest part of the tattoo.
You also apply dotwork to your pieces. Is the process of doing dotwork as time-consuming as it seems?
I usually take a little longer doing dotwork, but the end result is amazing. However, every time I do one, I find it that I’m getting faster at it.
What inspires your artwork?
I rely on geometric shapes oriented in the platonic solids and sacred geometry. Artists such as the tattoo studio Black Ink Power are the ones who inspire me to do my projects.
If you had to choose, what other style of tattooing would you like to master?
I love Trash Polka!
Currently, you’re part of the team at La Mano Zurda in Madrid, but do you ever travel working conventions and guest spots?
This year, I will attend conventions in Spain, and I’ll be guest-spotting in Italy in September.
Can you offer some advice for someone looking to get a tattoo?
My advice to customers is that they have to love the tattooist’s work first, and then consider whether the tattooist’s style is the client’s type or not before doing it.
What advice do you have for any aspiring artists out there who are thinking of venturing into the tattoo industry?
Drawing and a lot of patience goes a long way. I’d also recommend apprenticeships in a tattoo studio, so you can absorb all the technical and hygiene aspects that goes into tattooing.