Ed Perdomo - Stardust Tattoo

Published: 27 July, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 182, February, 2010

Ed Perdomo was born and raised in Colombia where he started out on his quest to become a tattooist. After a few years working from his homeland, Ed decided it was time to venture forth into the big wide world to see what it had to offer him. His travels took him to South America, Asia and finally Europe where Ed has set up a base in Sweden.


His extensive travels have opened Ed’s eyes to the endless possibilities of tattooing inspiration and this includes his passion for animated movies, where he has gleaned many fresh ideas for his tattoos. Ed still says he has a long way to go in the industry - saying that, all you have to do is look at his exquisite work to see how far he has already come – and he is constantly looking to improve and find his own unique style. Personally, I feel that Ed already has a very distinct and unique quality to his work.

 

He also is a big fan of bright, vibrant colours and believes that tattoos can make people very happy and tries to include his optimistic outlook on life in his work and this is more than obvious just by looking at Ed Perdomo’s tattoos.

 

So Ed, what are your earliest memories of tattoos? What inspired you to start tattooing? When did you start and where? Phew, that’s a lot of questions in one go!

Well… I guess the cartoon character  “Popeye” was the first one I ever saw wearing a tattoo, I come from Colombia and in my country, being tattooed has never been popular, especially in the beginning of the 90’s. Back then some friends and I wanted to get tattoos so we built tattoo machines out of toy parts, mechanical pencils and Chinese ink. Then we started to tattoo each other.

 

Where do you think your interest in tattoos and tattooing comes from? Did you ever think you would be tattooing for a career?

Everything started as a game for me, a friend of a friend knew I was playing around with tattoos and so on and just like that, I got bunch of guys knocking on my door wanted to have a tattoo. 

 

At what age did you get your first tattoo and by whom?

I was 17 years old and I got a little “Tasmanian devil” from one of my friends.

 

Did tattooing come easily to you from the off?

Eventually, after working at the process for a while, it did came easy but for the first few years I was what people might call a scratcher, I’m ashamed to say.

 

Did you get an apprenticeship or where you self-taught?

I never had any kind of education, including tattoos, I have been self-taught.

 

Do you think an apprenticeship is the best way to learn the business?

I think it is the best way to learn how to tattoo; I wish I had had an apprenticeship, it could have saved me so much time and so many people would be much happier now with their tattoos. But on the other hand, it’s not easy to became an artist when you learn everything from someone else because in the end, your work will look pretty similar to that of your teacher’s work or at least that’s what I’ve noticed looking at other people’s work that I have seen.

 

I believe that you travel the world quite a bit working at different studios. Do you find this a good way of meeting new artists and maybe learning something from them?

Just being in different places gives me lots of inspiration and fresh ideas. In some places I have the opportunity to share quality time with good artists and people; but I do my best not to talk about tattoos and maybe focus on composition, interpretation, flow, harmony and such instead...

 

How are tattoos and tattooed people perceived in Columbia?

Things have changed quite fast over the last couple of years, I am guessing those “reality shows” have helped people to see tattoos in a different and more positive light.

 

I presume that now you are based in Sweden things are a little different tattoo-wise from South America?

If I could compare a South American tattoo scene with the Swedish one, I would choose the Brazilian tattoo scene. There are a lot of good artists in Brazil and lots of collectors who actually listen or even better, leave everything up to the artist.  

 

Your work seems to be all about bright colours, animals and happiness. Is this a conscious thing and are you an optimistic person, as it seems to come out in your tattoos?

Colours make people happy - at least they make me happy! I also enjoy doing optimistic pieces with some real sense of humour added and people’s response has been very good so far; besides I really think that out there are way too many people who have joined the 

dark side. It’s time to lighten up!

 

Have you worked at many conventions? 

Not so many in the past but in last couple of years when I moved to Europe, I started to attend as many as I could. Now I am trying to slow down and get involved in less conventions so I won’t get sick of them too early; for me, the point is to have fun.

 

How did people at the conventions perceive your work?

To my surprise, I’ve had a very good response; a couple of years ago no one knew who I was but somehow I managed to get involved in some really fun projects. 

 

Did you pick up any additional tips and tricks from the artists working at the conventions?

Not really, there always seems to be too much going on and there’s never enough time to share information with other artists, which is a shame. 

 

Do you find that certain styles are prevalent depending on whereabouts you are in the world?

Definitely! Every place has their very own “tattoo fashion” sometimes even in the same country from city to city, you can see how people like a certain kind of work more than others.

 

During your trips abroad, have you noticed any particular areas that are more welcoming to tattoos and tattooists than others? 

I never noticed any differences, until I moved to Europe where you can see the welcoming or unwelcoming attitude for being a “tattooist” or  indeed for being South American. 

 

Do you think that formal art training is beneficial to a tattooist?

It is fundamental as long as you want to become a tattoo artist but if being a tattooist is your personal goal; then I don’t think it is that necessary. 

 

Who are your main influences, including both tattooists and the more traditional artists?

My biggest influence will be master Miyasaki, but I also love other artist’s work such as, Fernando Botero, Peter d’ Save, Obregon, Alfonse Mucha, Craola; there are far too many to mention... 

My favourites tattoo artists… first of all Mauricio Teodoro (simply the best!), Marcio Duarte, Mauro Nunez and Cory Krueger. 

 

Can you describe your own tattoo style?

I love the Asian style of tattooing and to describe my work to people is hard as they usually want to classify what I do into a category that already exists; then they label it as new school and to be honest I don’t like it because once you classify or label something, it takes away the freedom. But if I had to call it something, I would call it cartoon style. 

 

How do you go about designing a tattoo? What processes do you go through to get from the initial idea to the finalised design?

Before sketching, the first thing would be to meet with the collector to fully understand their ideas, then I trace the body area, marking the muscles and focus points; then couple of long, sleepless nights developing characters and making something happen on paper. 

 

Do your clients tend to have set ideas of how the tattoo should look, or do they give you a concept to work from and let you control the outcome?

Some of my collectors have an idea or kind of key words that point me in a certain direction to go with the design and some of them leave it totally up to me, which is quite liberating. 

 

What would be the ultimate tattoo for you to create? What subject matter/placement/techniques would you use?

I would love to do a cartoon body suit, I guess I would do it as a complete traditional Japanese parody, using pretty much the techniques I’m already using.

 

Where do you draw the line on what you will and won’t tattoo?

I love tattoos and tattooing more than anything else but its important as in every profession to have ethics, knowing when to say no can be a matter of opinion; but in my personal opinion:  I won’t tattoo subjects that I am not comfortable with like lettering or particular styles; for example old school or things I have no experience in. Also I don’t do hands or necks unless it is someone that is heavily tattooed and they understand how it will affect their life. I won’t ever do tattoos on the face.

 

How do you relax and spend time away from tattooing?

I spend my free time playing the guitar even thought I suck at it! Watching lots of movies and hmm, I guess that’s it, I am not really that much fun to hang out with!

 

Who has tattooed you?

I’ve erased or covered much of my first tattoos and some of the people I am proud of have tattoos from are Mauricio Teodoro, Marcio Duarte, Mauro Nunes and Jee Sayalero.

 

Are there any other artists that you’re planning to get work from?

I recently started my body suit from Jee Sayalero leaving no room for anyone else.

 

Do you work in any other mediums, e.g. sculpture, painting? Do these pursuits influence your tattooing work at all?

The only technique I use besides tattoos are colour pencils, which have been a great influence in my work.  Just recently I started painting with acrylics and hopefully some day I will have something to show.

 

What’s your favourite part of being an artist?

Being myself is probably my favourite part of being a tattooist.

 

Do you have any ambitions in either the tattooing industry or otherwise?

I want to have my own studio and do this thing until the day I die!

 

Is there any other information that you would like to add?

Only need to add my gratitude to you and your readers for letting me share my work with all of you. Thank you!

Credits

INTERVIEW: NEIL PHOTOGRAPHY: ED PERDOMO

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Skin Deep 182 1 February 2010 182
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