Interview with Colombian Tattoo artist – Steve Niño

This week we caught up with Colombian Tattoo artist, Steve Niño to talk about what inspired him to become a tattoo artist, his style and much more.

What inspired you to become a tattoo artist? 

At a younger age I was into watching Miami Ink which was my first exposure to the tattoo word. Years later around the age of fourteen, I got into hardcore punk music and submersed myself into the culture. Everyone I met had cool tattoos and I thought to myself “One day I would love to create art and tattoo people all over the world”. When I started university I felt lost and a close friend advised me to leave my fears behind and to start a tattoo artist apprenticeship. While on my journey to becoming a recognised tattoo artist, all my friends that I had made in the hardcore punk scene supported me by getting a tattoo.

What are your views about the tattoo industry?

Throughout the years I have been able to see how this industry has been accepted more and more in society, and it warms my heart to know that we as artists are not seen as negatively as before. The industry has also grown so strong, more techniques and machinery have evolved and this has helped the artist to grow in their capacity to create amazing art. Also there has been new tattoo styles that have become popular and there are more options accommodating individuals’ tastes. In my opinion, it is important that each client can pick freely what style they would like because the main job of a tattoo artist is to create an art piece that reflects our style and what the client is asking for.

How Long did it take you to discover your style and do you have any tips for other tattoo artists? 

I am still figuring out my style but I have had the fortune of trying different techniques and styles which have helped me become a versatile artist. My biggest advice is to try and find your unique style by first exploring any style that you identify with and feel that you can eventually master. I also believe that it’s a good idea to look up different types of references like painters, other tattoo artists, imagery and nature, as this will open your eyes to a greater spectrum that feeds your creativity.

What plans do you have for the future?

In the future, I would like to take an art course to improve certain techniques, acquire others and expand my knowledge and continue my progress as an artist. I would also love to start a clothing line with my designs printed on them, and create a book with quotes and illustrations.

Do you believe a career as a tattoo artist is flexible? 

I would say it is a really flexible career, it all depends on your mentality and how you manage your lifestyle. In my experience I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot and work abroad, on the other hand, I’ve met some tattoo artists in Colombia that haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity and it may be due to them not wanting to venture out of their comfort zone.

Are there any other ventures you see yourself doing?

As an artist, I believe it’s important to learn about our culture and history, so I would like to take a course in: History of arts, history, English literature and other languages. Learning languages is such a key aspect in understanding other cultures and truly getting to know them.

If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be?

That’s a hard one, I would have maybe been an interior designer because I love decorating and creating colour boards/ mood boards.

If you had one free day in London what would you do? 

London has so much to offer so that is a tricky question. I would probably go to Green Park, walk around, go to a gallery or a museum and finish off In a cool café.