Yall Quiñones is not only a great tattoo collector. He is also a wise human being and a true art passionate. I am really happy to have interviewed him some months ago, talking about tattoo values in the past and in the modern tattoo society. I hope he will inspire you in your own tattoo journey, as he did with mine.

Would you define yourself a tattoo collector? What does it mean to you?
Considering that people like Chris Longo, David “Compton” Oropeza , Chuco (RIP) are Tattoo Collectors that have been an inspiration to me and actually paved the way for collectors like myself, being more than a client and getting involved in the industry for good, and also considering that those collectors use this term, well I suppose that I am.
The only problem I have with the term is that it has become trendy, and some people think that getting tattooed will get them some sort of fame or just make them cool when, instead, it is something that should be a matter of passion and respect for the art form.

A true collector represents the industry with respect, honoring history, promoting passion and making his own journey for the right reasons.

What first drew you in the tattoo world?
Everything. First you start with a tattoo, and then suddenly you research more and more, the more knowledge and history you find, the more it all might take you to love this art to a point of carrying it for life and being passionate about it.

Yallzee Interview
Yallzee with the great Lyle Tuttle and friends

Tell me about your first tattoo..and your latest! What is the difference between your past and your present?
My first tattoo was the “Yallzee” tag on my back, based on my history in music and Hip Hop Culture. My last one was this past weekend (ed. it was his latest at the time of the interview) and was a rad Lil’ Hannya that my homie and amazing japanese style artist Master Mike did for me. The difference is that at the beginning I looked for a great tattoo… Now I look for a great experience, a great memory of my journey and a good tattoo by someone I also truly respect as a person and friend.

What do you think about modern tattoo society?
It is difficult to answer because all the media has made everything more available to everybody and that has brought both positive and not so positive things. Back in the days I had to travel to conventions or cities just to talk to the artists personally, for the only chance of locking up an appointment in a future occasion. Or I emailed them with the expectation of being taken seriously… That’s how I made many friends in the tattoo community: right there, face to face, sometimes making lots of sacrifice to build up a budget just to travel and introduce myself to that artist. Now, well, you just have to send a private message through Facebook or Instagram!

Yallzee Tattoo Collector Interview
Yallzee’s bodysuit

What’s it like to be a tattooed man and dad?
Being a Dad is the best thing, tattooed or not… Being tattooed is now pretty normal nowadays but when you are heavily tattooed, well, l I guess some people expect you to be an irresponsible person, only based on their ignorance and poor knowledge of things they have not tried to understand yet.

What advice would you give to the youngest tattoo collectors?
To make their own journey, not only based on what it appeals to them but in general, and of course to go back in the history of the culture and show some love and respect to those that paved the ways and those whom have payed their dues.

This community is like a friendship, you should not befriend someone to see what you can get from him… You befriend someone because you care and you believe that you can be a positive part of that person’s life.

Going back to some decades ago, who is the first tattoo artist that comes to your mind?
Filip Leu, Paul Booth, Tom Renshaw, Freddy Negrete, Horiyoshi III, Marshall Bennett, Bob Roberts, Brian Everett to name few… But it is funny because they still come up to my mind to this date, they are artists that has surpassed times and, still to this date, continue to give us the gift of this art.

Who inspires you along your journey and how does it make you feel?
My main personal inspirations have been Chris Longo and David “Compton” Oropeza… they showed me a lot even many years before I met them in person, they taught me that path of respect and passion.

Yallzee getting tattooed
Yall and Kate Hellenbrand

How would you define the concept of tattoo itself?
Now…to me it means bond, friendship and respect… I think the TATTOO is the most giving, selfless and unselfish medium that exist. It is done by an artist to live into other people’s skin and differs from the other mediums that the artist has in option to keep. In tattooing, whatever you create, all the effort, time put into work and years of learning, go straight to become other people but that artist…

Someone once told me: both beautiful and bad tattoos will be regretted one day, if done without awareness. Do you agree?
Yes and No! It all depends on what made each person go get those tattoos.

What does the word ‘genuineness’ mean to you?
To have integrity, to choose your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain… To be Real and Honest!

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16 novembre 2015

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