In an ideal world, we would wake up every morning excited to go to work. It’s not an ideal world, however, jobs often end up sucking vitality from us, even when it’s in an industry we love. Andres Makishi is one of the lucky ones. By looking at his work, you can immediately tell that he is having fun at his job. Makishi began his tattoo career in his home country, Peru, before moving to New York City, where he delights his clients with his vivid and imaginative designs. He’s a great tattoo artist: able to perform designs both large and small, in color and black and gray, detailed or simplified. We caught up with Makishi to find out more about his entry into tattooing, his favorite movies for artistic inspiration and much more.
Tell us about your education and how you developed a love for art.
Everyone in my family is an artist, and they’ve been a big influence on me. My parents are not tattoo artists, but they do other things like painting. I can say that since I was a child I have been surrounded by art in one way or another. I finished my graphic design program in college, but I was really into tattooing. A good friend in my neighborhood offered himself as a canvas, my dad made my first tattoo machine, and that’s how it all started.
How did you learn to tattoo?
I started to learn from tutorials on the internet and watched how other tattoo artists worked. After a year, I had the opportunity to join Zhimpa Tattoos, a well-known tattoo studio in Peru. It was an amazing experience as I learned from Zhimpa Moreno and the other team members.
How is your process different when designing a micro tattoo compared to a large room?
When I’m working on a big piece, I try to use less elements and characters. I’m doing this because I don’t want to oversaturate the room with too much stuff to make the final piece look good at any distance. If I complicate the design too much with too much stuff, it won’t look so good, in my opinion. On the other hand, when I’m working on a micro-realism piece, I like to add a lot of detail. It seems a bit contradictory because the space for micro-realism is much smaller.
Do you prefer micro tattoos or big chunks? Black and gray or color?
I prefer micro tattoos because of the intricacy and detail I can work with in such a small area. Color will always be my favorite thing as I can work with different tones and textures. I like to play with colors and try to find the exact colors for the room. Also, when working on a full color micro tattoo, I think you can appreciate the details more.
What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve made? What sets them apart for you?
I think the tattoos I’ve done at conventions are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. I think it’s because of the excitement of working in a space with other artists. For example, at one of my last conventions, I did a Walter White micro-realism piece from “Breaking Bad” and it had a lot of detail in it.
Tell us about the stained glass tattoos you have done. How did you come up with this idea and how has it evolved since?
The first stained glass design I did was Alice from “Alice in Wonderland”. I saw it in a Disney art book and liked the concept, so I brought it to my designs with my own style.
What other artistic mediums do you work in besides tattooing?
I always try to learn new things that will help me artistically. I like to create with different tools, like markers, crayons, and acrylic paint, but I have found oil paint to be my favorite. I think I can get better details with oil paint and find it easier to work with than other paints.
What are some of your favorite movies for inspiration?
I really like Studio Ghibli movies like “Ponyo”, “Porco Rosso” and “Princess Mononoke”. The stories, characters and art of each film are unique.