We recently connected with Gotti Flores and have shared our conversation below.
Gotti , appreciate you joining us today. How did you learn to do what you do? Knowing what you know now, what could you have done to speed up your learning process? What skills do you think were most essential? What obstacles stood in the way of learning more?
I actually started tattooing in prison, I also learned how to draw/create better. Like draw out of my head and put my ideas on paper and skin. Tattooing how you draw is a big pinnacle in tattooing, puting ink in the skin is a different application than ink on paper. Definitely one of the hardest parts of tattooing to master. Tattooing in prison, your only allowed to practice your craft when it’s possible. So the learning curve can be drastically slowed if your not applying yourself correctly. And believe there is plenty of distraction to detour your mind. One thing that helped me practice the most, when I was not able to tattoo. Drawing with a pen, your forced to learn from your mistakes and turn your mistakes into art that coincides with what your drawing. Once I was able to tattoo oitside of jail, it was tough. I was basically learning how to tattoo all over again. New machines and new inks, more efficient tools make it easier to do too much in the skin which can scar your skin or overwork the area. One of the main things that holds people back from learning and progressing in this craft is themselves. You have to take criticism well, if you don’t move this craft doesn’t move. You can progress being lazy, plain and simple. Tattooing is a raft that will quickly weed out the ones that aren’t meant for this life. Tattooing chooses you, you don’t choose tattooing.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I’m coming up in my 10th year tattooing, and I gotta say I have the up most respect for tattooing. Tattoo ima has not only put food on the table for me and my family. It’s pulled me out of the deepest hole a human being can ever be in. It’s made me a better person changed my perception on life, and has taken me places I never thought I would have gotten a chance to go. Starting in prison and just that whole setting, puts you in such self motivating mindset. Your the only one pushing for you in there, you have to believe in you and what you do genuinely for others to feel that same feeling when they see you do what you do. I do a fine line black and grey realism style, pretty much single needle prison style.like I said before the material you use in prison don’t compare to what you use normally. So you can really bring this style to life with efficient tools. They’re aren’t very many artists that tattoo this style, it takes time but very rewarding at the end. A lot of artists use this needle grouping, but very few do an entire piece with this one needle. I also have a brand called Fine Line Mafia, it’s a clothing brand started to give people the chance to wear what they live. At the end of the day I’m just a normal person pushing my art everyday and in every way, I know what it’s like to have ambitions and feel like there is no way to let it flourish. It takes a lot of self discipline to push passed the negative, and become something in this industry.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
Once I got on the right track in life and started becoming the person I wanted to be, I was so hungry to learn, progress, and grow as much as possible. Being in prison for those 4 years was traumatic in the way of feeling held back. So I got into a sprint, a positive sprint. But I was in such a sprint prior to prison, a negative sprint. I soon realized it’s a marathon, and the slower I get in, the slower I’ll leave. Moving slower and pacing myself I’ve developed more skills and more knowledge, more direction, and more purpose. I used to tattoo for a living, now I tattoo for wealth.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
In the beginning it’s like everyone else, you do the most, you do what’s in style, trying to keep up with the crowd. As time has gone on I’ve gone back and forth about using social media. I’ve deleted cause I felt it was to much clout. Ive got it back cause I’ve realized it’s free advertising and I need to utilize every aspect of the world. I guess In the end it’s about self discipline, using things in moderation. Balance is key with this subject, to much can hurt you and to little won’t be enough. At the end of day no one can deny good artwork. I started focusing on who saw my profile, instead of how many.
- Website: http://finelinemafia.net/links
- Instagram: @gotti_flores
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UC4MQsmR5-pHmRYdTsyxB8vg