Daniel DiMattia, Calypso Tattoo (Belgium) I’ve been tattooing professionally for the past eighteen years, specializing in blackwork. When I decided to tattoo, I looked around for an apprenticeship but couldn’t find anyone to teach me, so I began on my own. Learning on my own was a good experience for me because I was creating tattoos with spontaneity, which helped develop my own style. While I love all different styles of tattoos, from old school to portrait to black and grey, I prefer to specialize in “tribal” or blackwork because I see it as very powerful and challenging. When you don’t have a palette of colors to choose from, you must stretch your imagination and create a unique work that is interesting and beautiful through varying forms and design. To help my imagination, I do a lot of research and traveling. My home and shop are overloaded with books on African tribes, Polynesian culture, Indian henna designs, ancient Greco-Roman motifs, and modern geometrical forms as well as many others. When I travel, I take pictures of engravings and reliefs on buildings, designs on carpets and wall tiles, and even decorated fabrics. This research on ancient designs and patterns is fascinating to me. I feel like I’m getting an education in anthropology as well as art. The myths and stories behind many of these tribal designs are also very compelling. The possibilities of blackwork can be endless.