The following article is published in the #RGNNMadrid Magazine: Vol. V, Summer 2018, produced during ROOSTERGNN Academy’s Travel Journalism, Photography & Video Internship Seminar in Madrid, Spain, under the editorial direction of RGNN Expert and Mentor Juanjo Montanary. Follow #RGNNMadrid for all of our Madrid coverage.

Spain has always been a driving force for European fine arts and it’s no different today with modern tattoo art. The city of Madrid, specifically the district of Malasaña, is dense with parlors where many talented and different tattooists work to express their personal aesthetic through their art. As a tourist however, it may be hard for you to know the best person for your specific style. So here’s advice straight from the mouths of the artists, and Madrileno inkthusiasts!

Blanca Mediavilla is a talented blackwork tattoo artist in Malasaña. Her use of pointillism gives her art a sense of class | Calvin Ramsay

While the overall styles in Madrid are similar to the rest of the world, locals and artists tend to prefer four specific genres: Realism, blackwork, traditional and cartoon.
“We are returning to old School and traditional. We make all types but mostly traditional.” Blanca Mediavilla, an artist at La Mano Zurda said.

The clients of the artists featured in this piece are all avid supporters of these styles and the artists to which they allow the artists full freedom of expression upon their bodies. While most people may not be as brave as these patrons, they do however provide a good outlet for tattooists to showcase their full potential. These clients and artists share a friendly, lovely, and trustworthy relationship with each other that is truly special.

Black work can pertain to a wide variety of styles. Any tattoo that is made solely with black ink can be considered to be under this category. However, many blackwork artists will incorporate their own inventive expression to create pieces that can look chic, classy, or cool. Blanca Mediavilla pairs blackwork with pointillism and hatch marking to create art that looks enchanting and fancy. The aesthetic of her art is modest and professional, but also different and whimsical like pencil on a sketchbook.

The office of La Manuela Tattoo is clean and showcases some of Luis Peraez flash art. A lot of his work can be found on his instagram, @pelaezarte | Calvin Ramsay

Realism is a difficult and relatively new style of tattoo due to technological advances in equipment. They are beautiful and very professional when done right but are laser surgery nightmares if done wrong. This is also one of the most common styles in Madrid. Artists such as Luis Peraez have many years of experience and are very talented.

Luis Peraez has been tattooing for over nine years but says that only the past five have been noteworthy to him. Originally from Argentina, and only recently moved to Madrid two years ago, he says that the way parlors and artists work in Spain is different. Spaniards are expected to be specialized in one or two specific styles while in Argentina, they are more commonly jack-of-all-trades type of tattooists. Luis’ favorite part about doing realism is having the ability to depict mundane everyday objects as surreal and awe-inspiring pieces of art. He is someone that is passionate about his trade and wants to do work that he knows will satisfy his clients. For the creation of art like this, he says that a lot of trust must come from the client so that he can truly do what he knows best. He strives to create original art that is made by both client and artist so that it contains love and passion.

Victor Konan draws up new designs for his flashsheet at Estigma Tattoo. Many of his pieces can be found on his instagram, @vkonantattoo | Calvin Ramsay

Cartoon tattoos are fun and can give a sense of childhood nostalgia. Andres Drako, an enthusiast and local of Madrid, likes cartoon, biomechanical, and realism tattoos and allows Víctor Konan, an artist at Estigma Tattoo, to have full artistic expression. Víctor has been tattooing for 8 years and gains inspiration for his art from horror movies. His style of cartoon complimented with a hint of realism is something that his clients respect and find intriguing.
“He is a great tattooist, perfectionist with work and loves to tattoo cartoon style.” Andres explained.

All of these artists appreciate when clients come with an idea and want to work with together, rather than lead the way. They are passionate about their work and truly want to create art that can be appreciated by creator and client alike. In order for this to work, clients must understand that tattoo parlors are not supermarkets rather they are the working environment of proud artisans as Peraez explained. He also says that one of his pet peeves is when customers ask for tattoos that have already been done by another artist. It is plagiarism and unoriginal in his opinion. Now with an understanding of Madrid’s tattoo culture and what it has to offer, it’s now your choice to decide what expert and style is best for you!