was to become one of the best and establish the art of tattoo as a reputable
art form. Opening up the first official shop in Mexico City was one of his many feats. Today,
though, Alex has immersed himself in the competitive NYC tattoo circle and is
doing pretty well for himself. The self-taught artist operates from his Studio
28 Tattoo shop in Manhattan's posh Chelsea area, where he
has amassed a long list of loyal clientele.
REBEL INK: When you first began tattooing in Mexico, body art was looked down
upon. What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome in order to get your
career off the ground?
Alien: I would say fighting against what society used to think back then. You
know, the usual thought of tattooed people being ex-convicts, criminals, or bad
people in general. I had to start educating the general public about all risks
involved in tattooing, such as infections and deceases, which they could end up
getting when going to a non-professional tattoo artist. Most importantly, I was
doing my work the best possible way to stand out of the crowd and, this way, my
clients would come back to me. Those were really rough times. There was so much
going on to put everything in there.
You went the self-taught route because, in those days in Mexico, there
were no formal ways to learn how to tattoo. Would you recommend going the self-taught
route to any hopeful tattoo artist today?
definitely not - even nowadays that we have plenty of information flooding the
Internet. Some of it is wrong, and it can mislead anyone, doing more harm than
good. I strongly recommend all new, aspiring tattoo artists to look for an
apprenticeship with a true professional - it will save you so much time and
will provide you with the right knowledge and education to keep moving forward.
Nothing beats hard work - it always pays off if you put in the time and effort,
The bio on your website says that you can work on any style, but your
favorite style is dark and horror and realistic. What is it about these styles
that you find so alluring?
myself a versatile artist and always try my best to satisfy the needs of my
clients. They come asking me to do many different styles and themes, so this
gives me the ability to expand my artistic horizon. If there's something I feel
I'm not the right artist to do, I will gently say so and will point the client
in the right direction or artist for the job.
As far as
the dark/horror/realistic goes, I've found this imagery very intriguing,
mysterious, and exciting to do. Dark doesn't necessary mean skulls, demons, and
so on; you can create anything you want or imagine in dark style, even
religious stuff. Dark is the use of a lot of black, high contrast, and light
sources - therefore, it's going to look realistic. I'm currently working on a
series of drawings and art that will show exactly what I'm talking about, so I'd
say, stay tuned and check my website so you all can see the art.
What are your machine and ink brands of choice when creating your
use a specific brand of inks or tattoo machines. I own many different [brands],
and I pick the one to use depending on the style of tattoo I'm doing. Most of
the time, I use rotaries. I've been working with them for several years now. I'm
still using coils also just for specific things. I believe that enclosing
yourself on using certain types of equipment and inks, just limits your
artistic freedom. I don't think that the great masters like Salvador Dali,
Diego Rivera, Picasso, among many others, were using just one brand of oils,
inks, and brushes. There are plenty to choose from, so why should we have to
limit ourselves? Art is freedom, period.
You are credited as being the first person to open an official tattoo shop
in downtown Mexico City.
I'm sure that served as inspiration for the younger artists in that area. Did
you ever take on a mentoring role with any up-and-coming ink slingers in Mexico City?
really. Was I an inspiration for others to become tattoo artists? Yes, indeed,
I was. Until today, I haven't taken anyone under my wing as an apprentice. It's
really hard to find the right person. Most of the people nowadays aren't
willing to do what it takes and work for it. They want everything as fast and
easy as possible. We're living in a "disposable era." All the
mainstream has lead us to this point. Family and work values are getting lost,
but those of us who want, can make a difference.
Now that tattooing is more acceptable back in Mexico, would you ever consider
going back and opening up a shop out there again?
in my plans for now. I'm not saying it's not going to happen, but definitely it
won't be anytime soon.
Do you frequent the convention circuit?
much as I'd love to, but I'm planning on doing more in 2014.
Which conventions (if any) would we more likely find you working?
conventions for sure are Philadelphia, Summer Tattoo Vibe, and United Ink - these
last two in Long Island, NY, were organized by Jackie Rubino and have been
great shows so far, let me tell you.
Where online can readers go to get ahold of you or to check out more of
currently working on a brand new website and it's going to be amazing. I'm
really excited about it. I have a fan page on Facebook: "Alex Alien
Tattoos and Art." I'm on Instagram, which is the one I use and update the
most (instagram.com/alexalien). I'll be opening my Big Cartel store soon also,
so anyone interested, can buy prints and original artwork on there (www.alexalientattoosandart.bigcartel.com).
I also have my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/alexalien666). Also I'm on
SoundCloud.com, where people can listen to some of my music and live mixes
because I'm a pro DJ, too, so go to www.soundcloud.com/alex-prime on your
desktop, or look for "alex-prime" on your smart phones and tablets.
I'm very sure that my website will have the links to all these places for easy
reach, so you can check them out and give me a follow.
Is there anyone you'd like to shout out or acknowledge for helping you
grow as an artist?
to thank my family - my wife and daughter for their unconditional support and
love every single day of my life. I wouldn't be here without you. I love you
guys. My best friend, TJ Cantwell, because we both believed in each other and
still do - we've been through so much to keep going on and build up what Studio
28 Tattoos is now and what it's going to be some day - one of the best tattoo
studios in the world. Love you, brother. Also, each and every single one of my
customers who have been tattooed by me through all these years. I'm here and I
will be here for you always. Thank you so much for trusting me.
108 W 28
Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)
New York, NY