Currently reading : Ten Questions: Dani Queipo
Originally from Spain, Dani Queipo recently relocated to London to work at the newly established East London shop Seven Doors Tattoo. Queipo has developed a reputation for his bold, simplified work and muted colour palette, and an original take on the established canon of traditional tattoo imagery. We recently caught up with Queipo, the self-proclaimed “Straight Edge Warrior”, and had the opportunity to discuss a number of things, spanning from his earliest memories of tattooing to his recent move to London.
What is your earliest memory of tattooing?
It is a vague memory, because it’s quite difficult to know what the fist tattoo I saw was, but I remember spending some summer afternoons when I was a kid, painting friends arms with a Bic pen, with skulls, letters, Snoopy…When I was a adolescent I got into in Punk/oi! scene. It was super astonishing seeing album covers with band members with tattoos, it was my door to get into tattoo world…
From that point, when and how did you become a tattooer?
I’ve always been in love with tattoos, when I was 15 years old I got my first tattoo, it was the moment when I was most interested in learning how tattoos were made. At my first summer job, at 16 years old, I started to save money to buy my tattoo stuff, and at 18 I got more tattoos and I saved as much money as I could to buy equipment.
You worked in Spain prior to arriving in London. Could you talk about your time spent there?
It was a great time, I was working in different studios, living different experiences, and growing as a tattooer. But when I was starting to do some guest spots, my mind started to open up to new work opportunities.
You recently located to London to work at Seven Doors Tattoo. Why did you decide to make this change and how has it affected your tattooing?
I was guesting at Tattoo Circus in Madrid with my pal Deno, and it was a really amazing experience, and the shop has a really friendly and awesome team. It was really exiting to work with people who were super interested about tattoos as I am, and they had the same motivation to learn and understand about tattooing. When Deno asked me about to be a part to Seven Doors Team, I didn’t doubt to say an outright yes. I was super glad because I was sure that Deno and Jondix were looking for a similar-minded tattoo family.
What is the difference between working in London in comparison to Spain?
London is one of the most touristic cities of Europe, not like Barcelona, and it is much easier for me to get my hands on customers from all over the world. Obviously in the UK, there is a very long tattoo tradition, and I can see that really old people with tattoos, and it is super exciting because everyone has accepted tattoos as normal in society. It is completely different in Spain, because just now are tattoos beginning to be somewhat acceptable in society, but there isn’t a large cultural following.
Bold lines, flat areas of colour, and simplified designs have become characteristic of your style. How did your style get to this point and why have you chosen to work like this?
I always was interested in classic tattoos, and it was the base of my work. From the beginning I always tried to draw simple designs without much color, as I love simple things everywhere… I really love to do something that everybody can understand and not to mention that also age well. I am trying to learn more everyday and develop new ways to do my stuff, in attempt to create something fresh and more exciting to do on a daily basis.
Your colour palette consists primarily of black, red, and blue, with the occasional usage of brown and/or yellow. How long have you been utilizing this and how did it come about?
I’ve always tried to do something with few colors, like the original classic stuff. I think it has more impact on the skin and it is much easier to read the design. It is obvious that black, red and brown are the basic colors for a traditional stuff but I also love to use turquoise. Also, one day one of my pals from USA named Christos gave me some that he had made and when I used it, I really fell in love, and now I try to use it in all my stuff.
From what I understand, you are a straight edge tattooer. In your opinion, is there any correlation between being straight edge and being a tattooer, and what effect, if any, has being straight edge had on your work?
I’m very strict with myself in all senses. Straight edge is a personal decision because I love to control every moment of a given situation, and I’m trying to do that in my work too. About my work, I prefer to spend my “hangover” fresh, making paintings or drawings. I love to be able focus on everything going on during a particular moment.
You seem to tattoo a lot of animal imagery. Is this by choice or because of customer requests? What other sorts of imagery do you look towards to inform your tattooing?
I really enjoy to do some animals, but frankly when I am taking my appointments I always draw the designs just before the tattoo. I really love to draw in the last minute and always create new and custom stuff. Sometimes my customers check my flash, and if I can, I try to do something custom again, because I think I can do something fresher every time.
To conclude, what are your short and long term goals, in tattooing and/or in your personal life?
My tattooing goals are to try to learn as much as possible on a day to day basis, and to try and develop something better in every design I create. I thankful that all my customers trust me, and it is super important to me that I look after them, as they are people who allow me to do the work that I really want to do.