Who are you and where do you work?
MB: I am Micky Benavides, tattooer from Chile now settled in Oslo, Norway.
So lets start just the way every other tattoo interview starts,
MB: You mean how I got into tattooing?
Ok hehe yes, I started to catch an interest for getting tattooed alot at first, before starting to tattoo myself. In 1996 I met a guy that had made himself a homemade machine, you know one of those rotary machines made from just any motor and I started getting entusiastic about making my own tattoo machine. Thinking that tattooing was easy, of course I was wrong.
It wasn´t huh?
MB: Hehe no.. Just little by little I started digging more and more into the world of tattooing...
It was very slow learning process because of the limited information that was available in those days by there not being any internet like now, nor any other place to really get any good info about tattoos and about tattooing. The magazines we had in Chile at the time were very expensive, especially for a boy my age. So i took a motor from a cassete player that was in my parents house and turned it into my first machine using regular sewing needles. Everything was handcrafted at that time in Chile. There were no tattoo supplys to buy real equipment and materials from, and what they did sell was all shit and expensive.
What were the first tattoos you saw?
MB: My first encounter with tattoos was when I was very little, think it was when i was like 3 years old. My neighbours where I lived at the time was an old man and his lady, they were tattooed and I remember how surprised I was by it. Thought they looked awesome and I liked it alot, I have met them again after many years and the tattoos were fatally ugly hahaha!
Haha, what style did you start tattooing?
MB: In my first years I was very drawn to black and grey because i listened to metal music and was amazed by what was possible to make on skin. In reality I did not know and did not have any notion of styles and what tattooing really was all about. Also caused by the lack of info.
How was it that you got into doing dotwork?
MB: After many years of tattooing i did all the styles, but one day I guess the moment came when I started to want to follow only one particular style. I was studying traditional japanese tattoo and in those days I started doing a little bit of dotwork here and there, little by little I got into this style and took it more and more seriously. I noticed that I identified myself with it and chose to make it my style 100%
Which were your influences?
MB: Principally I am very inspired by the London school, I think that that scene is the one I identify with the most. There are many people making these tattoos but dont have the London-esque essence. Apart from that I love the tribal school that was formed there.
What would you say made you grow and reach the level you have reached now?
MB: Well, my first trip made me grow alot, well acually both traveling and also competition made me grow. More than anything it was travelling, I left my country for the first time in 2002, i went to Spain where I lived for a few years and traveled from there to places like Australia and Japan. Alot about observing other cultures, observing the discipline of the Japaneese inspired me a lot and I learned much from it. Other than that is the thing about competition, I´ve had moments where I felt that I had to stand up for myself and prove to myself and others that I´m better.
Times came where the competition was disloyal to me and I felt I had to step up and kind of kick some ass you know? Kind of shitting on them by proving that my work is better. In those days I started getting annoyed by the fact that there were many tattoos of poor quality circulating that were done by me, so I needed to make a big jump and go above myself, and at the same time shut up alot of evil tongues. It´s that fight that instinctively makes you grow and advance, I think thats important. Now I think it´s time to grow more, I want to see myself amongst the bigger tattooers.
What does the equipment mean to you and what machines do you use.
MB: The only time i actually care about brands at all and where I am really demanding is with tattoo equipment. I like to find the good stuff, well, actually the best stuff. And I´ve always liked asking for advice and seeing what the great tattooers use, and tattooers in general. As far as machines I´m now using the ones from Wizzard of Japan and Seth Ciferri, and rotarys from Roy Ritchardson.
Where do you see tattooing in 5 years? MB: I see many good tattooers and maaaaany mediocre tattooers, too many intruders and the whole thing getting more and more plastic. Positive side would be a high level and good tattooists.
Take tattooing seriously, not for the fashion nor for the money of it. That makes me sick.