Here you can gladly read part of a interview between Colo Lopéz and Gordon Claus made for Tattoo Kulture Magazine issue No. 35. In this version you will be able to read a part of it in English however the publication is delivered in German.
Please enjoy worthwhile reading,
It.s my privilege to present a great Spanish tattooer. If you were from Spain you would’ve already heard from Colo Lopez, probably you have anyway. Colo is someone who is full of action and always at the right spot at the right time!
Colo for the record, please introduce yourself,
Thank you Gordon. My real name is Álvaro López but Colo has been my nickname since Highschool. I’m tattooing since 2007, for the last 5 years in Madrid at Veneno Tattoo and travelling quite often.
You travel quite a bit for sure. I remember meeting you in Mallorca 2014 with Alvaro and Nil Marques Coll. That was a funny time for sure. Since then I have been following your doings. Always mint on spot Tattooing! Whats your recipe? What’s the secret?
Passion! Haha kidding but really I love tattooing. I had never invested so much time on anything before, never so focused on something, never interested for so long. I really enjoy our profession and although travelling is exhausting sometimes I like to keep contact with all the friends I made through the years. It’s not career building, I do it for the fun.
I totally get it, you are doing this for fun. Every time I meet you I really have a feeling that you are always in some kind of fun mode. When you are working you’re always in some kind of zone mode. You see more concentrated than a lot of people do I know. Maybe this is also one of your assets. I mean let’s get it straight, a lot of your work freehand? What about it?
For many years I was taking it too seriously. Always trying to make the perfect design, heavy referenced on tattooers from the past. I studied a lot classic references to a point I felt kinda trapped into that. I was seeing my tattoos a bit static, lacking life. So I decided to take some steps back, draw loosely, if it could be straight on the skin even better. There’s some sort of momentum when you’re drawing onto someone’s skin. One line leads to the next, you unlock all your abilities and knowledge and go straight to the point. There’s no procrastinating in front of a paper sheet. No overthinking or overdrawing. Just the essentials, the rest will come with the machine. Fresh and dynamic just like that. I’m enjoying way more now. It also frees me from homework hahaha.
Yeah, I agree, that is definitely a good way if you take things a step up, in your own way. It’s a valuable information for life, that will actually get everybody the benefit in no matter which job for occupation he is in. Every five minutes you spent on something will bring you a profit later.
Talking about fresh, your new prints are amazing. looking at what you’ve done in the past it’s crazy to see you in which direction you developed. You really found something unique there.
I think it’s a part of that same process. Trying to think outside the flash sheet. I’ve always been interested in fantasy and sci-fi so it had sense for me. I still wanted these paintings to be somehow tattoo related but also explore different themes and techniques. I have always been inspired by people like Esteban maroto, John Byrne, jack Kirby, John buscema, wally wood, Joe Jusko und Boris Vallejo.
Well for now I think you’re ahead of the times. We really look forward to seeing what you’re going to be up to in the next years to come. The same with your tattooing. It’s always fresh and it’s always tough. Certainly the mix of traveling and being free in your drawing has brought you there. Settling science-fiction and fantasy gets the mind going and does something for your imagination. What were the favorites? What series did you watch back in the day?
Definitely tv and movies were a start. Those mice eating lizards in V, time travelling robots in Terminator, swords and magic in Conan, the grotesque creature in Alien… I remember my parents going to the movies to see an Alien screening and not letting me go for being too young but bringing me an action figure of the monster that became one of my favourite toys. Then expanding this interest with books, comics. I still read hundreds of comic books every year. I guess I’ll never grow up (not that I want to)
Yeah maybe exactly that’s the point. Staying young!
Thinking back at back at Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica, robots really do make a fantastic tattoo image.
I always have to think back at the freehand masters of the universe tattoo you made with skeletor riding that Panther.
Is there a tattooer out there, that taught you something, really out of range. Surely, One of the guys must’ve given you a valuable trick along!
Of course! And maybe they’re too many to name all. All the people I’ve met through the years have added something. But moving to Madrid to work at Veneno was a turning point l. Brujo is a tattooer I looked up to and working day by day with him and getting work done by him really changed things for me.
Very true, for those who know, he is the man.
It’s funny how Luis and him really managed to put up a great team. There are a lot of really talented fantastic tattooers right there at Veneno. Over Tattoo is one of my Favorites!
Yes it truly is an amazing atmosphere, couldn’t expect a better team.
So tell me when you break away where do you go to? I heard you sometime visit your friends in America?
I love to visit my friends in America! Tattoo 13 in Oakland, one of my favourite cities right now. Recently made new friends on the east coast I’m looking forward to visit again soon. I love to go to Gordon’s Black Tide in Bottrop a few times a year, work with my friends in Berlin. Florian’s in Paris, Tatuata in Helsinki, Honest in Athens… Red Roses in Malaga and Behardcore in Motril in the south of Spain and Katattoomba in A Coruña and El Gato Negro in San Sebastián in the north. Union in Zaragoza, El Nido in Valencia And Barcelona Electric. It’s good to have friends everywhere!
Oakland has a totally different vibe from what I experienced on other American cities. People is so raw so real. Love working at Freddy’s shop and hanging out with the guys at the bar across the street every night of the week!
Proper living the life! I can totally understand. If I remember correctly, Freddy was just in Europe on Patrick Kitzel’s Tribal Tattoo Tour. I heard they all say it’s supposed to be the new fun thing in Tattooing. Reminds me of being free and away from duty’s and stuff.
Yes! That’s the way. Although I gotta admit I live without much duty and stuff. Only my next appointments.
Such a cool thing that Tribal Tattoo Tour. Loved the concept from the first moment I heard of it. These are the kind of refreshing ideas this scene needs. This year I was lucky enough to get myself an appointment to get tattooed at the tour -with Steve Byrne one of my all time favourites- and loved the experience. Great vibes all around. It was great witnessing as a customer and meeting lots of new and old friends, lots of tattooers drawn to the event like me in a sort of pilgrimage. Tattoo history right there.
Oh wow! Steve Rules. I am sure it turned out Sweet.
You know, us as Tattooers, we should get tattooed regularly. And of course you wanna get tattooed regularly.
((I missed the urge with some Young people tattooing, but they don’t have tattoos. It’s a disgrace.) studying art and then tattooing down in the basement.)
Colo Maybe list up some ethics and morals please…
– Absolutely! I think getting tattooed is essential. Collecting not only from your close friends, putting yourself in the hands of someone whose work you admire. Take the role of the customer. See how it feels the whole experience. How the other tattooer does it.
You make money out of tattoos is fair that some of that money goes back into tattoos, that keeps this thing rolling.
Also I think it shows commitment. Specially these times full of people marking people’s skin without any love for the craft. Bother yourself to travel and get tattooed. When someone is into this for selfish reasons, money, fame or whatever it shows on their bodies.
Most of the tattoos you see around are bad. Bad designs, poorly executed and that’s sad. You see people full of shit around. And in part it’s their own fault but the customers are not to blame. They bought what they were being offered, the tattoo industry allowed this to happen. Selling tattoo gear to anybody, promoting spectacular but short living “tattoos”. It seems like anything goes nowadays, everything is valid. I don’t agree. I don’t really consider a tattoo something that fades after a couple of summers but we don’t have another word for that and that’s a part of the problem too. Names give birth to realities. I think we should be able to call everything by it’s name. Calling someone who just ordered a shitty machine on amazon a tattooer -or even apprentice; real apprentices deserve respect, to be an apprentice you need to have a master, you can’t just self assign that title to yourself- reassures them into that unearned position. Tattooing changed a lot in the last few years but the essentials are the same. By giving too much credit to the art sometimes the craft is forgotten and I believe tattooing, like other branches in design, is more a craft. You first gotta learn the unbreakable rules and then little by little start breaking them when you feel you need to but never completely forgetting. That never changed and I don’t think it ever will.
I agree. Thinking of all fantastic traditional tattoo is out there!!!