João Paulo Rodrigues on Travel, Tattoos and Influences

NY Body Art recently had the pleasure of talking with the uber-talented, João Paulo Rodrigues. From Rio de Janeiro and currently rocking New York’s tattoo scene with his amazing work, Brooklynite Rodrigues’ talent has had us buzzing for a while. You always know when you’re looking at a João Paulo Rodrigues piece. His work is consistently amazingly detailed, vibrant and flows beautifully on his subjects’ bodies.

Regularly on tour, sharing his work and expertise, Joao’s unique work and global perspective is inspiring. Check out what this jet-setting disciple of Japanese style tattoo art had to say:

“ (Japanese Style Tattoos) changed my whole way of thinking about tattoos. It’s the ultimate thing you can do on a body…—João Paulo Rodrigues

How did you get started as a tattoo artist?I got into tattooing because my dad got a couple of tattoos when I was a kid and that fascinated me. I would never imagine that I would be doing this in my life. It just came to me basically after me studying music and having bands. At a very young age I was already in a tattoo parlor back home and was very luck to meet my first mentor Kiko Lopes, who showed me the beginning of everything. After I moved to NYC, I had a very good friend, Rico, who gave me the light to go my way and helped me a lot in everything i know. I think all my influences and master was everyone I ever worked with. Together, they were all my inspiration.

Your work is AMAZING and so versatile, tell us about your love of Japanese style tattooing?
Muito Obrigado, I got into japanese a little before I came to NY but got completely in love after I moved here. I was a lot more exposed (to it) here and it took over me after I saw a full traditional japanese body suit in front of me. It changed my whole way of thinking about tattoos. It’s the ultimate thing you can do on a body, it fits really well.

What’s the piece that you’re most proud of?
I really don’t have a favorite piece, I think they all are special and I have a different experience with each of them. Of course, the bigger they get, the more time is spent and the more fun we have. It’s fun to do it and interact with my clients who, of course, become very good friends most of the time. I see them so much, which is such a good feeling. We don’t get those uncomfortable or awkward moments.

When you get called on to do a piece, what excites you? What do you look for in a client?
I love all the ideas of people come with. When they make me think or it’s something that I’ve never drawn before, I love it because it gives me a new thing to study deeply. I’m always up to do more studies for new pieces, so basically everything inspires me and gets me going. I just always hope that the client can take all the pain i will give. (laughs)

I see you tour a lot, compared to other cities in the world, what do you think of New York’s tattoo scene? How can we make it better?
Yes, I do love to travel and meet lots of people, tattoo them and get lots of inspirations around the world. It’s an open mind movement. I think the New York scene is great, has a lot of good tattooers but what makes really the scene for me is the variety of people who gets tattoo in this town. You can take a subway ride in the summertime and in one single car you can count at least 5 people with tattoos with completely different style of characters. It’s really impressive. I think we could make (the scene) better if we stop popping tattoo parlors on every corner of the town and people really take their time before opening shops. A lot of people are tattooing without any skills or shop experience and just decide to open shops. It loses the magic a little, but i guess there are so many people that the demand is big too. It’s a roller-coaster.

What artists inspire you? Who’s working in New York right now that blows you away?
That’s a tough one, NYC is full of great artists. I think the most inspirational people for me, are the people that I ever worked and shared knowledge with, like Kiko Lopes, Rafael Plaisaint, Rico & Shion, Lara Scotton, CJay, Dane From Inkmatic, Robertto, Paolino Caraffa, Rodrigo Melo, David Sena, Luigi Stopar, and one of my favorite tattooer Ivan Szazi. Of course, there are the great names like Horihide, Shad, Mick and lots of bands and music. Without music, I can’t work at all. Oh, and my Flamengo, I’m a soccer fan.

Got any big projects coming up this year? Where and when? Where can we find you?
I just came back from Cape Town, South Africa for the convention and had a solo artshow in Italy named the Valentine’s Sins with 7 watercolor paintings to describe the 7 Sins of Saint Valentine. It was pretty awesome.

I have a couple more conventions coming up, right now I’m in NYC but in the middle of The Black Hawk Tour and going to Australia, Finland, Denmark, Greece,Holland, Canada and couple more where I share a booth with Lara Scotton. In Brooklyn, I have my private studio Acqua Santa Tattoo. The best way to contact me is thru my website and be a little patient if you cannot get your appointment right away but it will happen.

Like what you see? You can check out more of João’s work at his website, you can follow him on Twitter (while drooling over his jetsetting coolness – like we do) and like him on Facebook.

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About Lucette

Lucette is a longtime tattoo enthusiast who builds communities on the web as her 9-5. She is one of the people behind the launch of NYBA and in addition to helping here, she's currently working her ultimate plan to become an old surfing midwife.

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