Luca Font is an Italian tattooist currently based in Milan. Font has built a body of work which troubles attempts at classification. His organic forms tend towards different levels of abstraction through the deployment of graphical stylistics, elementary colors, and planar experimentation. He describes this aesthetic with a term both precise and laconic: “synthesis.”
What is your name, birthplace, and year of birth?
I’m Luca and I was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1977.
Where did you grow up? Please describe your upbringing and sociocultural background.
I spent most of my life in Bergamo, which is a small town not far from Milan. Every underground scene was small so everybody knew each other—that was cool! From a really young age I became involved in skateboarding, punk music, and later graffiti. We were a bunch of misfits in everybody’s eyes and nothing could have made me more proud.
Where do you currently work? Prior to that, where have you worked?
I tattooed in Bergamo for the first six years of my career, before moving to Milan four years ago. I travel quite often too though, so I’ve worked in quite a few places!
How long have you been tattooing?
This’ll be the tenth year since I made my first tattoo. Time flies yo!
What inspired you to learn tattooing, and what did you initially learn how to tattoo?
I was just curious, really. By the time I started to learn the practice, I had already been getting tattooed for a few years and I was just fascinated with the whole thing. I’ve always felt a powerful attraction towards any form of synthesis and the sheer simplicity of the American traditional style was what I fell in love with first.
Were you trained through a formal apprenticeship? Describe the circumstances of learning.
I began my first steps towards becoming a tattooer before I had any definite plan to do so. I began going to a small shop on the weekends to help out a little bit and watch people work. It was just fun for me—no stress.
“I’ve always felt a powerful attraction towards any form of synthesis and the sheer simplicity of the American traditional style was what I fell in love with first.”
Have you previously studied art in an institutional setting? If so, what level of training did you reach and in what disciplines?
Nah, I always did everything by myself. I grew up with graffiti and spent my life among graffiti writers—does that count?
Did that training help as you learned the mechanics of tattooing?
I’d probably say it helped me stand against those mechanics to some extent. Tattooing, as it was taught to me, was all about adamantine respect of the tradition; graffiti writing was all about individuality and personal style. I ended up choosing the latter.
How did you develop your style? How would you describe it? What are your influences?
Just putting what I like in everything I do. I love graphic design and communication rather than fine art and I always choose simplicity over complexity. My approach to tattooing and drawing in general is a consequence of my tastes.
Have you had or do you have plans to take on apprentices?
I’m pretty bad at teaching and don’t particularly believe in rules.
What do you look for in a shop?
Are any other forms of media, traditional or digital, important to your work?
When in come to traditional media, I both paint and work on sculptures. But I’m definitely not opposed to digital illustrations every now and then. Every different medium offers different possibilities and there’s always something interesting you can learn and apply to something else.
Is traveling important to you? If so, where do you usually travel? Do you have any interesting experiences abroad that you can share?
Once a music producer told me he would have ran out of ideas years ago if it wasn’t for traveling: it can’t be said better than that in my opinion. Getting out of the comfort zone forces you to confront the unknown, and that is the only way to grow up—in every sense. Beginning in 2018, I’m spending more time in the United States, so when I’m not in Milan that’s where I’m more likely to be found!
What is the main challenge of tattooing today?
Foreseeing how its changes.
Ideally, how would you like to see tattooing evolve? How do you think it will evolve realistically?
Ideally, it’ll be forever as popular as it’s been in the past ten years. Realistically speaking, everything goes through ups and downs so it might become less fashionable at some point? Maybe not! It’ll keep evolving, that’s for sure.
You can find more of Luca Font's work online (lucafont.com) and on Instagram (@lucafont).