27 Jan The Art of Tattoo Machines
The Art of Tattoo Machines By Cesar Mesquita
How do you improve your skills as a tattoo artist after 15 years of experience?
Well, I started developing and building tattoo machines, by the artist for the artist.
In order to improve my tattooing skills I understood that it would require a deeper knowledge of how all my tools work, and how could I get the best out of them
A tattoo machine is the main tool for all professional tattooers.
After going through intensive and deep research of my personal collection of machines, I finally figured out this amazing tool. The natural next step would be building my own machines where I could apply my own geometry, electrical and magnetic knowledge; different metals grades and experiment with different mixes to bring specific and better results.
In the early stages my tattoo machines were developed with standard materials and somewhat primitively all by hand, but it was really good fun. Of course, with everything being done by hand there was always some little variation here and there. So I decided to go to precise with CNC 3D machined from solid steel block and avoid the most common methods which use cheap mild steel. This helped me get better quality, better conductivity, better heat dispensation and improved rigidity. I found the precision I was looking for and most importantly the consistency.
Throughout the development, the weight of the machine was a very important consideration. Weight is a big issue for me and for many tattooers out there and it’s an issue with most of the tattoo machines that I’ve owned in my collection, about 50. So, I have looked to provide a more powerful, precise, stylish, reliable and lightweight tool not just for myself but for all Tattooers out there looking for a reliable daily tattoo machine to work with.
Built by hand by an artist for artists
I build all our machines in my humble workshop; where I dedicate time to each and every single machine that I’m working on. It’s all about the attention to detail and taking my time in putting everything together precisely. I tune each tattoo machine to get the full potential to the top in order to provide the best tool as possible.
From time to time I also create custom one-off tattoo machines. I develop from scratch which takes a lot more time but provides a unique singular piece. I continually fulfil myself and keep my learning box always open to come up with new ideas and developments.
Keeping traditions alive
Building tattoo machines, for me, is a way to keep alive the tradition of this craft. I have the utmost respect to the people that started all those years ago and with those who build machines today. A tattoo machine (not tattoo gun please) is not just a tool for me. As a Tattoo Artist, I consider my machines an extension of myself when I work. I create a tattoo design idea, I have the knowledge to create that tattoo and I’ve the client willing to let me work on. But, without my machines none of this would be possible, or at the least to produce the precise high quality work that my clients demand. So, my machines allow me to make this possible.
A final word of wisdom
Since the early days, a professional Tattooer knows that tattoo machines have always been named as a ‘Tattoo Machine’ and NOT a tattoo gun. For us, it is a matter of respect for this amazing tool. Don’t run the risk of making a fool of yourself in front of others professional tattooers and tattoo machine builders 🙂