Issue #5, March, 2012, Tattoo Mag - Argentina
I would like to say a thank you for Daniel at Revista Arte Tattoo Magazine for publishing my work.
Where are you from?
Hello there! My name is CAESAR. Originally, I’m from Hungary, but for the past 9 years I’ve been living in the United States. Since 2008 I’ve been running my shop in New York City’s East Village.
I was always a little better with a pencil than the kids around me. It’s something that I probably inherited from my father. Drawing was always part of my life—however, not on a consistent basis. Sometimes I wouldn’t drawn anything for months, and then there would be times when I wouldn’t put my pencil down for days.
Seeing your works, I would say that your tattoos are based on fantasy and realism. Do you agree?
I agree with you 100%. No question about it, and I’m flattered that my work clearly and readably reflects my intentions. No matter what direction I’m going, I always end up with realism. I might start to play around with a 2D image, adding a little of this… a little of that, some form shadow, a little cast shadow and there you go… a 3D design shows up.
This is a difficult question and I don’t know if it can necessarily be answered. This is like asking where the border between illustration and fine art exists. I don’t know. In my world, I use the same elements and techniques regardless of the topic. I try to keep it fresh and avoid repeating boring elements. And trust me, this is not an easy task to accomplish. Reinventing constantly reoccurring topics like Heaven and Hell, Demons and Angels, or Good and Evil is not an easy task.
I’m not a colorful guy. My favorite color is Black and all its shades. My shop is all black. That’s how I feel most comfortable. Gray layers tell me much more than the color hues. A monochrome world is more understandable for me and we get along much easier. However, using one contrasting color is just a little spice that I’ll add in certain pieces. A touch of the red is just another tool for emphasizing a certain part of a piece or to lead the eye of the viewer in a different direction.
As I mentioned earlier, I try to avoid using the same reoccurring elements in different compositions. Mixing different ideas and designs creates novel moods and feelings for a piece. When I work with a customer we need to find a cohesive idea that creates a sense of unity, otherwise the viewer might get confused. The more successful the composition is the easier it is to read from alternate perspectives. It took me a long time to learn that less is usually more.
The customer brings the basic idea most of the time. During the consultation we start throwing ideas around about topic and work on tuning it up. This is how the first draft of the composition develops. Then as the basic idea of the piece continues to develop we keep the usable ideas and discard those that don’t fit. I like taking personal elements, such as zodiac signs, numbers, landmarks, and words or quotation from the person’s life and melting them together in some meaningful that creates one large solid piece. The basic idea determines the tools that I can employ. For example, if I am commissioned to create a dragon design, the piece might not easily lend it self to the use of tribal elements. Nevertheless, if that is what the client is looking for I have to find a way that I can blend them together and still create something that we will both be satisfied with. These are the challenging parts.
I use a soft touch during the shading process, which allows me to go back to the same spot—multiple times if necessary—without destroying or overworking the skin. My own premixed ink system allows me do consistent shade work. I usually use 6 shades out of my bottles and an additional 7 when I’m setting up my workspace. I use 13 ink caps filled with different shades during one session. This is something that I’ll talk about in great detail on my lecture website. seminar.caesartattoo.com. The way that I work and all of my little tricks are going to be revealed there. Hopefully the website is going to be up and running in another 3-4 months…by Christmas 2011 at the latest.
What can you tell us about your technique?
I’ve been using the Cheyenne Hawk Tattoo Machine for close to 3 years now and have a high opinion of it. It works pretty well with my pressure sensitive technique. It is like using a pencil. The greater the pressure you exert the darker the mark…although you must not forget the value of the shade that you are using. If you force it you might overwork the skin! I just place the layers on the top of each other until I am visually satisfied. Learning how the different shades will heal and projecting it during the tattoo session is the point when you can feel that you have mastered the media.
Favorite tattoos that I’ve made? Sure…the latest one. That’s the one that contains most of my knowledge in almost everyway. I have had topics of course that were closer to me than others, but I put the same amount of energy and thought those as all of my other pieces. This is what makes the design process extremely interesting...and even torturous at times. The tattooing is the fun part. Especially since that is what you get paid for ?.
I can split my influences into two distinct groups divided by media: Painters and Tattooists. I like painters from the Baroque era. Those guys were amazing. I have no clue how the hell they created works of that caliber considering what they had to work with. I can literally look at their artwork for hours analyzing and study it. So much information, knowledge and life experience is squeezed on a framed canvas teaching and showing us the way to the perfection in vision, composition, color choice and so on.
What projects do you have going on in the future?
I’m going to continue to make seminar videos for a while to help fellow tattoo artists out—specially, beginners who are just considering a start in tattooing. But I truly wish to move toward classic oil painting. This is a nice and calm way that I can express myself and represent life as I see it. Tattooing is commissioned art so you have to constantly keep the clients demands in mind. And also, let’s not forget that we are working on a living organism all the while. All skin reacts to tattooing application and pigments differently and it is the tattooists job to figure out how to make it all work. When I am painting on canvas I am not limited by these constraints and I am free to go as crazy as my mind wants.