Yomico Moreno is a legendary tattoo artist working out of the world renowned Last Rites Gallery in New York City.
Yomico is a unicorn so to speak, as he vastly excels at both black and grey realism as well as color realism which is rare to find in this industry.
Yomico’s work is unorthodox, thought-provoking, built to last, and highly sought out by tattoo enthusiasts.
I got the opportunity to talk with him about things such as the future of tattooing, having a recognizable style, discipline as an artist, and more. Thanks for looking, hope you guys enjoy.
Let’s start off with an important question. Where do you see the future of realism tattooing going? Have we reached the pinnacle or do you think the best is still yet to come? What type of evolution do you expect to see in this genre of tattooing?
Well here I will talk to you as someone who is living that evolution and who is also looking for it. One of the factors where I have tried to focus my way of doing realism is in conceptualizing ideas. For many years we were very good at copying and pasting, but there’s a moment where you get tired, where it becomes boring to just copy a photograph. Today we can see more surreal work, we conceptualize, we want to say something with the work, and I think that is what art is about – it’s transmitting something with the best possible technique. That’s where all this is going.
What three things (or people) were most beneficial towards your growth as an artist and as a tattooer?
If we talk about tattoo artists, without a doubt Robert Hernandez. He has been one of my greatest inspirations, I think he is one of the most complete artists that exists today. Regarding plastic artists, Caravaggio always blew my mind. It was important for me to understand how he interpreted his tragedies and his ideas in art. In terms of the visual and the surreal, Guillermo del Toro’s works in the cinema has taught me how darkness can be transformed into beauty.
How has working at Last Rites helped you further your craft and take things to the next level?
Paul has been one of the artists that since my beginnings, I have always admired. I always say that he represents the Genesis of many things in the tattoo world, he is an artist that I respect and will admire forever and having had the opportunity to work in his studio helped me to focus a lot on large-scale compositions, to understand the human body and its anatomy and to focus on creating pieces that are part of the wearer.
Your tattooing style is very recognizable and memorable. The imagery and concepts you create are very unorthodox and mesmerizing. How did you manage to create your own style and begin to build your own legacy in tattooing?
Wow… Thanks for that, sometimes you can’t see things yourself or perceive them as they look from the outside. I think one of the important things as an artist is knowing how to identify where you want to go, what you want to say and how to achieve it. I am personally moved by the context of the unknown. Maybe it’s because I am constantly posing questions in my head and studying the opinions of psychologists, filmmakers, visual artists and even musicians, trying to understand what moves us as human beings, life, death, what is before and after, the energy that makes us be here and the connection we have with the entire universe. I think all that has served to try to translate it into my pieces, in the end I think that every artist is projected in his works in some way or another.
What was the most difficult (but important) lesson you’ve had to learn since being a tattoo artist?
That one day we will not be able to continue giving 100% of ourselves and not because we would not want to, rather for a physical reason. The day will come when I will not be able to sit for 10 hours in a tattoo session, that my hands will become weaker, my back, and even my brain. I am already preparing myself for when that happens, that is why I try to give my everything with everything I do, to take all that I have and deliver it in this present moment, years pass… we always think that we will have the same energy, but with time you come to understand that it is not case.
There are tens of thousands of artists in the world hoping to accomplish what you have already done. What are the three best pieces of advice you have for those individuals hoping to master their craft like you have?
The first thing is discipline, nothing is achieved in life without discipline, this goes from ordering your workspace to ordering your ideas.
The second is to sit down and think about what you want to achieve, what is your goal. Many tattoo artists go every day to their studio and tattoo everything that comes in, they fulfill orders from the owner who needs to make money and in that time life is passing by, at this point you have to sit down and think about what kind of artist you want to be. If you just want to be a tattooist okay, if that’s what makes you happy… But, if you want to become a tattoo artist, you have to set your goals and consider how to achieve them. It will not be easy, I promise you, but only discipline and perseverance will bring you closer to your goals.
The third is to work hard for it and sacrifice everything that you need to sacrifice, they always ask me why I tattoo so many hours, but if you think about it, the results of my work would not be the same if I’m working on a big project with a client and only dedicate 2 or 3 hours instead of 8 or 10 hours, it really makes a big difference. Last but not least, you need patience – nothing will be achieved from one day to the next, art is a utopia, full of uncertainties, it hits your ego and many times it’s frustrating and even with all that, no matter how hard you work, it will always be better to feel that you still have not made it, because that is precisely what makes you go on and on to be better, day by day and keep up with the times.
Thank you guys for reading, please be sure to follow Yomico on Instagram @yomicoart.
Thank you so much also to Yomico for your time my brother!