The 2nd Chaudesaigues Award
After honoring American tattooist James Kern, the Chaudesaigues Award continues its quest to find and showcase talented tattoo artists from all over the world. Now in its second edition, the prestigious prize was presented this year to Italian ink slinger, Matteo Pasqualin. The award was a fair recompense, crowning the amazing career of a young man from a tiny town near Venice, Italy, who started out working as an electrician.
His passion for drawing came at an early age “I’ve always loved to draw and I have my dad to thank for that; he was an amateur painter. I got into oil painting because I like its technical aspect. I did it for fun in the beginning, but also as way of getting closer to my father.”
Tattooing came later for Matteo, during a trip with friends when he was 18 years old. They set out toward the nearest (and only) tattoo shop in their area, where Matteo got his first ink: a Pegasus. “As is often the case, I got this first tattoo without thinking much about it.” Be that as it may, the tattoo would nonetheless make a profound mark on the future tattoo artists. A few years later, as Matteo had started slinging ink at his house, the artist who has originally inked his Pegasus asked him to come work for him. “This is when I resigned from my factory job and set out on this new adventure.” This adventure, as Matteo puts it, would last six years and came to an end for a number of reasons including frictions with his boss. But it was also motivated by Matteo’s dream to work in his own shop. He opened a parlor in Porto Viro, 50 kilometers from his hometown.
Is Matteo attached to Italy like a mussel is to a rock? “I picked this location knowing that people were more bold and were more inclined to ask for large pieces. At the same time, it was a great opportunity to work more and hone my skills in the process.” Matteo was in business and soon after, opened another shop nearby: The Inkers. Demand for bigger tattoos soon increased for Matteo who also attended his first conventions in Italy, followed by Frankfurt, Miami, Budapest and London. Understandably, recognition from his peers and many distinctions soon followed. “I won two prizes in the Black and Gray category in London and in Rome in 2011. I also received a Best Color in Milan the same year for a Star Wars-themed tattoo. I really enjoy myself at conventions because they’re an ideal place for me to learn from observing how other artists work.”
We wanted to know what inspired this friendly Italian tattooist. Could it be his European roots, the local folklore? “I was always fascinated by black and white photography. I would try to reproduce them in pencil, down to the smallest detail. I don’t know if this particular style has a name, but all I know is that I like to polish up my work with details, even when that’s time-consuming. I really get absorbed in capturing all the shading and contrast in my black and gray work.” Results speak volumes for Matteo’s dedication to details; his tattoos are striking and truly jump at you and their high level of detail produces sublime pieces. Matteo says he admires the work of artists like Dmitriy Samohin, Den Yakolev, Andy Engel and Carlos Torres, but his work is without a doubt on par with that of his idols. “When customers come for a tattoo, I always ask them to provide as many detailed photos as possible; they will help me design and execute a beautiful tattoo in the most instinctive manner. Sometimes I am surprised how people are willing to trust me with their skin, especially when all they have seen of the tattoo is a rough sketch.” What really surprised Matteo though, was his nomination for the Chaudesaigues Award. “Getting this prize is a very big deal for me. I can’t get over the fact that someone as important as Stéphane Chaudesaigues could show interest in my work. I just can’t believe it and words fail to express how I really feel now.” Does Matteo have another dream he would like to fulfill? “I’d like to do a sleeve on the theme of my favorite film: Pulp Fiction. I hope to be able to do that soon.” We wish Matteo and the person who will lend their skin to him the best of luck.