Italian tattoo artist Claudia Ottaviani is currently backpacking around the world and guesting at different studios.
Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to her about her love for the power of tattooing, here is an insight into her karmic journey through life.
Portrait by Esther Galvan
How would you describe your style and how did you choose it? Even if the subjects are not always inspired by traditional style, I would say it belongs to old school, both for the technique and for the colours. Last year I also approached ornamental and dotwork style. I can not tell which one I would choose, this profession is constantly evolving, but in the end I definitely remain a colour lover!
An Italian girl around the world. Tell me about your experiences abroad. Do you find any difference between Italian and Central European customers? My work experience abroad began more than one year ago, when I moved to Barcelona to work at LTW. This year, in February, I started to organise a small tour in Europe which led me to work in many studios: Admiraal Tattoo Studio, True Love Madrid, The Bunker and many more! When invited to do guest spots, most of the customers will choose you because they trust your work. There is no need to convince the customer to get something less commercial, let’s just say I’ve had better luck abroad.
Can you tell me about the feelings your travels gave you, both as a person and as an artist? I started travelling when I was 19, and at 23 I found myself as a backpacker in South America, an experience that has definitely changed my outlook of life.
I’ve realised that, as much as the tattoo itself, even the travel is fundamental and should be a goal to pursue. And here I am today. New places, new tattoos, new cities, landscapes, cultures and languages. It’s very stimulating and it opens your mind.
Have you ever met obstacles along your way? How important is the support from family and friends? Obviously I found obstacles, as everyone does in their life. Rome was not that easy for me. That’s why I decided to leave it more than once, but I have never felt like an unfortunate victim. It’s life, everyone makes their path!
My family is a good one, I am really proud of them. They have always helped me and believed in me, even though my mother still does not talk to me for three days after I get each new tattoo. Friend are also a huge source of energy.
What do you like best about being a tattoo artist? How deeply can you feel your subjects while preparing them and how important is your state of mind as you create them? Being a fundamental part of the process of creation of indelible marks that people decide to carry forever on their skin is always a great honour. While travelling, the drawing part is physically more difficult, but a lot easier mentally. I will try to explain it better: in the beginning, I sometimes had to force myself to find inspiration and then start creating. Today everything is much more spontaneous and instinctive, there is no need for a particular state of mind, maybe just a general wellness.
What are your favourite subjects? Women, flowers, hands, Kama Sutra positions, everything I see as classic and elegant. This oriental inspiration reached me thanks to a friend and colleague of Barcelona, Alexis Jofre, who one day took me to a nice library. We were right in the centre of the Asian art department. My mouth was wide open in front of those beautiful books! So I had to buy one, it was about musical paintings of ancient India. I could already see a thousand new ideas in my mind. Thank you Alexis!
Are you also interested in religious and sacred images? Is it a choice linked to your beliefs or purely aesthetic? I am not a believer, or rather not in the strict sense of the term. I believe in many things and my vision of life is certainly closer to eastern philosophies than to western religions. That said, there are symbols like crosses, svastike, tao, om that are to me simply fascinating. I like to see the power that these simple cultural lines have, if only put together.
What do you think of the tattoo culture today? People I’m encountering in my path and the experiences I’m having are extremely positive. Regarding the negative side, there is always karma!
Which artists do you admire and give you inspiration? Whether in the world of tattoo art or art in general. Inspiration comes from many people, and the list of names would be infinite. I admire some artists I have personally met, or with whom I had the pleasure to work with. Rodrigo DC, Alexis Camburn, Angelique Houtkamp, Lina Stiggson and many, many more!
Is there a particular subject you would like to tattoo or one you would you never tattoo? I do not like politician tattoos. I think I would love to start tattooing more animals and oriental religious figures.
What tattoos are on your skin and by who would you get a tattoo in the future? On me I have amazing pieces by: Diego Brandi, Alessandro Turcio, Cassandra Frances and many more! I really hope to get something by Tony Nilsson, Guy le Tatooer, Jaclyn Rèhe, the list could never end!