Featured Artist: Pablo Mascia

Tattoo Hybrids – The battle between new school and old school.

Pablo Mascia from Frontyard Tattoo in South Australia talks to backinktime about the new problem facing the industry.

For people who love tattoos and want to get a tattoo, knowing where to get them from has always been a big issue in the industry.

A pet peeve for many tattoo artists is that “people just settle for the convenience and they don’t look too much past it. They just assume that there’s that one artist in a local street-shop that can do everything” says Pablo of Frontyard Tattoo.

What Pablo sees in the future is the merging of the traditional mentality, with the newer/modern style of tattooing. “There are 2 generations of tattooists right now and I’m in the middle of it”. ’I grew up old school, was taught new school and I see such a divide at the moment almost out of arrogance”

“What I would like to see is tattooists starting to become hybrids” Realism done in a traditional way, a style that is shown in his artwork. “The utilisation of both old and new techniques”

“They are both as valid as each other but it seems to be their own religion”. He uses the reference as tattooing being a martial art, utilising the disciplines from both prominent forms as opposed to only one. He thinks it’s going to be amazing to see what the future would hold for the evolution of tattooing if this mentality is employed by all artists.

How has tattooing evolved since you started?

Huge leaps and bounds in not only the equipment (machines etc.), the ink, techniques, as well as the change from the old school designs on the wall. If you didn’t have them on the wall you wouldn’t tattoo, you wouldn’t make money. I’ve also witnessed the change from the custom field, nowadays it’s allowing more of the artists to come through.

Seeing that change was quite an experience that only a few people from around my era that are still tattooing would have seen.

Through what era was this change?

In the late 90’s and the early 2000’s

How is the unsilenced tattoo scene affecting you as a legitimate artist working in a studio?

I’ve dealt with this situation for many years. It doesn’t really affect me, it only promotes the good tattooists really because there is so much sh** around. When you compare someone who gets their mate to do it or when you pay $2000 for a high end / high calibre artist to do the same thing there’s no comparison. So it doesn’t really fear me. The only thing that concerns me is the potential for hygienic issues which obviously the media thrive on and will use any means necessary to slander our industry. While giving only a one sided story..

So who is on your tattoo wish list?

A European artist called Boris, from Hungary. @boristattoos (click on photo to visit Instagram)

Who/what are your influences?

I have different influences for different things. Nature is definitely my biggest influence. What I see and what I feel is my influence as well. I generally draw or tattoo based on my mood or what I feel like as opposed to I’m going to do it this style.

Some of the prevalent artists who have influenced me are a lot more Australian than anywhere else in the world.

Artists like:

Shep (The Body Art Shop – Adelaide)

All of the crew at “The Black Mark” (tattoo studio – Melbourne) @theblackmarktattoo

Paul Braniff & Tony Ranger – @gold_coast_tattoos

Teneile Napoli (Garage Ink – Queensland) @teneile_napoli@garageinktattoo

Byron Drescher has been a big inspiration for me @frontyardtattoo@inkjecta

Emily Rose (Private Studio in Melbourne) @emily_rose_murray

How old were you when you started tattooing?

17, I’m currently 32 so I’ve been tattooing for 15 years and I think it’s taken me 13 years to finally be happy with what I’m doing now. I’ve used those 10 years of being in a street run typical old school shop without thinking there’s too much more out there and just sticking to what I knew.

When did you find there was more to the industry?

When I quit tattooing. I quit on my 10th year (2012) for 4 months. I had enough. I fell out of love, I was stressed out and quit my other job.

When did you make your return to tattooing?

Byron (Frontyard Tattoo) gave me a call, and I was just talking to him. I’ve known him for years, I knew him when he was an apprentice so we’ve always kept in contact.

He works in this studio which was on top of a hill away from everyone, it was fairly new, it was wasn’t what I was planning on going to but he said to me a lot of things that resonated with me about his experiences and he could understand my position and how I fell out of love with it. So he basically gave me a home to lick my wounds and nurse myself back to health. I kind of felt like I was lost and I was just throwing it away, and he told me “ don’t throw it away, you’re almost there” he believed in me so he gave me a second wind, I owe a lot to him for showing me the path to finding the love for it again.

What other media do you work in?

Photography, drawing, designing and tattooing.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve swapped a tattoo for?

“House renovations, bringing back to the bartering mentality”

What’s the most interesting gift you’ve been given by a client?

A hand written series of scrolls, with lots of information about the planets and the moon.

And then she gave me a chalice with raven’s feathers. Blessed with sage and stuff.

It was her way of introducing me to the spiritual realm because she could sense that I had something in me. She planted the seed there.

She was the chick who showed me how to tattoo a pentagram without the negative energy incurring on me, and I just became obsessed with that. She kept telling me things that was opening my mind and then the next day she came past with a whole gift pack of stuff and sent me on my journey.

This was all in my early 20’s

I didn’t think there was much to it at the time, because all of my information was coming from TV, what I read what I saw. So I didn’t look much past that. But my intuition was telling me to look into it. The more I started listening to my intuition, the more it lead me to these places and ultimately now that’s all i listen to.

(Mind you social media didn’t exist in these days)

Do you listen to music while you tattoo?

I listen to something called Holosinc, it’s a holistic mix of ambient sounds with different frequencies that lower the gamma waves and keep your mind at a certain frequency optimum for creativity and positivity. Or tribal music like didgeridoo etc.

What locations/countries do you want to tattoo out of?

I want to tattoo up near the Aurora lights, Macho Pichu, Egypt..

I think tattoo collectors are walking art galleries of the best artists in the country and bring a lot of prestige to the industry from the basic fact that they are passionate about art and love to promote their artist. Turning tattoos into a collectable commodity. What are your thoughts on collectors?

They really are the pinnacle of a client. That’s the best example you want to have. They really think out their tattoos and do a lot of research also. I think they’re great and I totally understand why they do.

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