We meet TOKIO in the Montana Café. It’s the day that he is to publicly present a series of paper drawings, the fruit of the work that he has been doing for just two years: tattooing. He is one of those graffiti writers who found themselves on this path, and who now dedicates every possible hour of the day to it, whether it be drawing at night in the parking lot where he works, or when he has a commission. He’s a simple guy who says he is now “more motivated” because he’s more clear on where he wants to go, and what he wants to do; almost as clear as he is with his other passion; two dogs, a cat, and a chinchilla, with whom he shares his apartment in Barcelona. He considers himself to be a home-body. He likes picnics, and sees the internet as one of the best inventions ever, as well as a great way for finding jobs.
As a league match between Madrid and Barça is about to start, watching the screen, he declares, “I hate football”.
With his help, we’ll be launching a series of artist banners which you can see in various webs and blogs where we advertize.
Here’s a brief interview with him for you to take a look at:
How did you get involved in the world of tattooing?
I started hanging out with people who did tattooing and graffiti; Llorar, Kezam… and then later I got to know other similar folks, from hanging out in different people’s houses. I was told that the most important thing was to draw non-stop and do water-colors, and bit by bit absorb everything necessary for learning to tattoo. I practiced for four months before picking up the machine for the first time. This was a few years ago.
I’ve always liked the traditional American style, with clear lines and lots of black. Everything is simple, if you take the time to do it.
When you’re painting a wall, do you feel the influence of tattooing?
No, for me, graffiti and tattooing are separate. I think graffiti gives you more bad habits than good ones. It obliges you to develop your own style, to create your own mark; with tattooing, the most important thing is that the final result is satisfactory, without the necessity to leave that unique and personal mark.
Favorite city for living in?
I prefer towns that are more rural than urban. Big cities kill you, tax you through the roof, mess up your lungs with the CO2 from the cars…after a year of that, I’d be finished. I need countryside nearby to get oxygen into my lungs. I came to Barcelona because in my town, if you have to share an apartment, you have to do it with immigrants who don’t have papers, and here you can do it but with students or people who you have more affinity with.
Best city for going out in?
Barcelona. With it being so easy to travel, if you want to go to a city and really go crazy, then come here. If you want to rest, find somewhere else to go.
And a city for painting?
I like Majorca for its climate, the people, the beaches, and because my buddy Hock lives there.
Nick Cave, Tom Waitts, Cohen, Band of Horses…
A bad film you saw recently?
Any film with Jennifer Aniston.
And the best?
“The Lord of the Flies”.
Hardcore or 94?
94. It’s brilliant; matt and low pressure. It has it all.
Black. Without black you can’t do anything, you may was well just go home. Black is light.
Is there life after graffiti? Do you have any hobbies to confess to?
I like taking my dogs for a walk. I have two dogs, a cat, and a chinchilla. It’s the biggest joy of my life.