Who are you and how did you get in to tattooing?
My name is Rafael Delalande, I started tattooing about 11 years ago, with Guy le tatooer, the guy who taught me, in Toulouse in south of France. We opened a shop together called La Tannerie but that shop lasted only 2 years because we both started traveling a lot and its real difficult to both run a shop and also stay traveling. I kept traveling for 8 years without stop, and about 2 years ago I moved to London into a house with a girl. Then I started working at seven doors, because I meet Jondix in a convention in Paris, he walked over and liked my work, and well he is Jondix right so I already knew who he was and we hit it off right away and now I work there.
Great man, congratulations with that. Could you please tell little about your style?
I find it interesting to mix prison style and Russian prison style mixed with the dark. Yes, I work only with black, I like it that tattoos can scare, before tattoos did scare people but now its more accepted and if you want to scare people now you have to push it further. I've worked a lot with dots, well I started working dot by dot, my first influences were Russian tattoos and criminal tattoos of France and little by little I started moving towards a darker aesthetic, more metal more devils and such things. With me it comes from growing up in a catholic home and it became the best way to rebel. My opinion is that tattooing and the rebel aspect should, go hand in hand, and should be that way.
Since you started out doing dots, could you say something about what year that was and how did you get influenced to get into that?
The influence I had to start doing dots was obviously Xed, because he was the first to do that, but the thing is that I never felt or was into that tribal or psychedelic stuff its not for me and its not what I have lived, and so I started doing figurative with dots about 10 years ago. And about no one was doing it at the time, well Thomas Hooper had started to and obviously he was quite an influence as well and Jondix, who was doing it. You know their works is more ornamental, I chose something in a more radical direction like criminal tattooing, soon enough I got to know the work of Duncan X with whom I feel very close to in styles.
What time period was this?
Must have been around 2004 where I started doing the back and dot style previous of that it was more a graphic black thing, only black, always black I have never done a tattoo in colors. Never.
Do you ever get scared of touching that Russian prison style? Or get the thought that it might be wrong to do on anyone?
I've never done an actual typical Russian prison tattoo. I feel like it can be compared with doing a traditional Polynesian tattoo. Its not my culture and I am no one to do those things. When I say that I am influenced by the Russian tattoo it’s the esthetics that I like, or for example criminal French tattoo or anything inspired by it. It’s not necessary to have been in jail to have one I think that everybody has problems in their lives. Or is sad or have a drug problem, or have dead ones behind them, well everybody with some kind of sadness, that actually deserves that kind of tattoo in my opinion.
Great answer! Could you say anything about you tattoo equipment and what importance do you give it?
Of coarse it is important obviously, and I am working with a thick line and have purchased a Sailor Kea that works perfectly for a round shader and punches up to an 18 needle without a problem. I like a strong line and well since I work with Xam at Seven Doors I have bought some of his machines, a rotative one and a couple of liners that are great. And as for a power supply my college makes these beautiful things called five moths witch work great. and as for needles I always use Kwadron. Which for me are what’s best, I also like magic moon but Kwadron is the best. I will try out your new immaculate needle.