Getting Lost in Neon Dreams – Interview with Tattoo Artist Manuele a.k.a neon__dream
I got my first tattoo when I was seventeen. To me it still represents who I was at that time of my life. And over the years, I’ve collected quite a few other tattoos that both convey what I have gone through in my life or the person that I want to become. To me it’s a form of self expression. An expression of what goes on in our minds and hearts – materialized on our skin forever. And I love that. So naturally I wanted to speak to someone who helps people materialize their inner thoughts onto their skin.
I had been following Manuele on Instagram for quite a while. I really enjoyed his style, use of color and UV elements. And I was intrigued to learn more about him and his creative process, so I was very thrilled when he agreed to this interview.
Inspiration & Creativity
Manuele comes from Italy (which is a country I can’t get enough of and travel back to again and again) and runs an Instagram account @neon__dream where he showcases his artworks. Being very intrigued in his tattooing style, I wanted to find out what inspires him as an artist. To which Manuele replied that it can be everything that gives him a particular type of vibe. “It is a feeling without a sense of time, it can only last a moment, but it may seem eternal. An emotion that you always want to feel, and you can’t wait to find again“. It’s something that I find to be very truthful, because how can we really explain this rush of inspiration? The urge to create. Sometimes it appears and surprises you and then you look for it again, only to learn that it can’t be forced.
“So I asked myself – What would I like to do for the rest of my life?”
I was curious to learn how Manuele decide to become a tattoo artist and he explained that it happened while working in a different field. “A client who was a tattoo artist came by and that’s when I realized that it could be a job that I’m interested in“. His job at the time wasn’t related to anything artistic, but he had some previous success with painting and drawing. “So I asked myself – What would I like to do for the rest of my life?“.
Bright lights & Sci-Fi movies
Manuele points out that his signature style can be best described with his Instagram username @neon__dream. “I’ve always liked things that are different and unique. Something you wouldn’t expect“. He’s been attracted to lights and bright colors as well as special effects in sci-fi movies since childhood. “For me all this was magic!“. He uses a special ink that lights up under UV (ultraviolet) light, also known as blacklight ink, which is 100% organic and vegan.
I was interested to find out which is his favorite piece he’s ever done, if he has one. “It’s not easy to choose one, however, it’s probably the cat with sunglasses. It’s my design that I wanted to do for a really long time“.
I was curious to find out what are his thoughts on today’s society’s attitude towards tattoos and if there’s still stigma around it. “I think that depends strictly on where you live and what you do. If you have several tattoos in visible body areas I don’t think you’ll be the only one in town“. He adds that it helps if the tattoos are of good quality. And that’s true, your old-fashioned grandmother would probably gasp a little less if the tattoo is done nicely and not in your neighbors basement. But in my personal opinion, it’s becoming less and less of a taboo. In my social circle there are more people with tattoos than without. I think that’s a good indicator of today’s youth being more accepting to artistic expression and body modification.
Creating out of passion
I was interested in what kind of advice he would give an aspiring tattoo artist. He points out that it’s something that you need to dedicate yourself to completely and take it bit by bit in the beginning. “It’s necessary to spend a lot of time drawing and also making some sacrifices. You have to love drawing and have a passion for the work. That’s the basis of every good tattoo, the techniques are learned over time“. He adds that it’s important getting tattoos from artists with experience and a personal style that resonates with you.
Manuele is based in Italy and can be found on Instagram as @neon__dream where you can also find his contact email for appointments.