Miss Arianna

Published: 24 February, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 189, August, 2010

To take a traditional image and update it with a bolder colour scheme is haute couture amongst so many artists, but Miss Arianna breathes individuality into each of her creations that sets them apart.

She twists the structure of time-honoured motifs and forges them into flights of fancy that encompass whimsical and leftfield concepts with a timeless appearance that is afforded by her use of Americana-infused sentiments. Her home in Rimini, on Italy’s glorious Adriatic Coast, is the scene of both her education in the art of tattoo and her base of operations at Skinwear Tattoo Shop. We’ll let the lady herself talk through her career thus far…

About 10 years ago, in Rimini, there were a fair number of tattooists, but none of them were looking for a trainee. Only my regular tattooist, who eventually became my ‘maestro’, noticed my constancy and my true involvement in this activity, and after about a year he took me in his studio as an apprentice. It has surely been a fundamental experience, and there I realised it would be my profession, especially in the toughest moment of the apprenticeship. I remember that tattoos weren’t as popular as they are now, and an apprentice had to work a lot of hours during the day (especially in the summer), and earned very little, or even nothing sometimes, and for 2 years I never even touched a tattoo machine.


I had my first tattoo at 18, from a nearby tattooist. It was supposed to be a sun with Celtic knots, but as the man was in a hurry for a dinner that night, he made it too quickly, and it’s actually more a black spot on my arm…


I had my apprenticeship in one of the first tattooists in Rimini.  For more than two years, I cleaned the studio, sterilised the working equipment, set the needles, welcomed the customers at the reception and made tonnes of handmade stencils without ever touching the tattoo machine. During the day, I kept on looking and looking at the tattooist at work, trying to learn as much as I could. 


After the apprenticeship, I worked for another studio for two and a half years, in which I used to manage the whole studio and the other tattooists’ work that were there for the summer. The start of my career was very hard; to me, tattooing is quite demanding even now. Since the very beginning, I’ve always been very accurate, so even my first works had a very clean cut look, and then time, exercise and my will to improve have made the rest and I can really say that all that brought me where I am now, but I am very down-to-earth.


I strongly believe that apprenticeship is the best way to become an all-round tattooist, able to do any kind of tattoo without difficulty, but things are so different nowadays.  It’s hard to find reliable people that really want to learn this profession with patience and humility. 


The style I love to perform is my personal version of traditional. I like it because it’s similar to me; it’s direct, clear and solid. It has a unique strength and balance. I deeply admire big names such as Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm, Percy Waters, etc, but I think it’s so limiting to use their flash and only employ the colours of that period. I don’t like to reshape their flash and put my name on it, as though they were my drawings. I respect those who do it, but I think that working out my own drawings is definitely more interesting, perceiving what my customer wants, and then perform it in my personal traditional style: solid line, tonnes of black, and full colours.


I always have a strong concept in my mind when I start a tattoo: a deep respect for the customer, and for myself. Anyway, I don’t put my ego in front of everything, there are always the flash racks. I always try to understand properly what the customer wants so that I can do the best subject for them. I’m very exigent with myself, and prior to the final drawing, I do many trial runs.


Compared to when I began, things have changed quickly. Looking at magazines from just 4 or 5 years ago, I noticed impressive improvements in technical execution. The tattoo ‘industry’ (such a bad word) runs fast. Tattoos are not only related to a category as it was some time ago, and it’s not seen as it was some time ago. Unfortunately, as with many other things, mass exposure has brought bad facets: everybody wants a tattoo, and everybody wants to be a tattooist, qualitatively dumbing down the tattoo scene. Unfortunately, even some conventions are conforming to this negative trend in my honest opinion: I’ve actually worked side by side with people who I really can’t define as professional. 


I’m a very grateful person, so I never forget to thank those who advise and help me in any way. The people who really supported me since the very beginning are my parents, my dearest friends and my boyfriend and work-partner, Andrea. I want to thank all the people that every week move themselves from Italy and abroad to Rimini to reach me, then leave with a piece of mine on their skin.




Via Tempio Malatestiano 35

47921 Rimini, Italy





Miss Arianna Pictures Credits :
Silvia Matteini





Tattoo Pictures Credits :
Andrea Alberghini




Tattoo Pictures Credits : Andrea Alberghini


Artist Profiles: 
Skin Deep 189 24 August 2010 189