PIEL Studios Spotlight Interview, United Ink No Limits Tattoo Expo Coverage Part II
Address: Ave. Luis Muñoz Marín, R7 Mariolga, Caguas, 00725, Puerto Rico
Phone: +1 939-439-2802
Services; Tattoo and Body Piercing
United Ink No Limits International Tattoo Expo provided amazing insight on the industry. Our previous coverage delved on the sights and sounds at the event. Artists from across the globe were in attendance. Each participated in putting their talents on display for the throngs of attendees. Resort World Casino hosted the 2017 United Ink No Limits International Tattoo Expo.
The event provided a connection between artist and canvas. This wasn’t the typical corner parlor where patrons are eyeing bargain deal ink work. The expo featured art by renowned artists. The platform served as an opportunity for creativity to shine. Prizes and acclaim were goals for many participants.
A panel of judges eyed the best of the best in a slate of competitive categories. The competitive themes included Horror, Biomechanical, Avante-Garde and more…
This, the tattoo industry is a global fascination. This is a trait tattoo themed television shows fail to portray. These reality-based competitions are mere ratings lures with fabricated personas. While the field is competitive any sub-categories exist to refine unique specialty.
Our coverage extends with a spotlight report on an upcoming tattoo artist. This interview had a personal aspect. Our Interviewee was Maxwell Rivera a visionary and entrepreneur. Based in Puerto Rico Rivera also served as an extension to a new and developing culture thats breaking stereotyped foundations.
Rivera embodies passion and commitment to his work. He serves as an in-house tattoo artist and owner of PIEL Studios. Tattoo Artist Carla Pinto and Body Piercer Ricardo Miro comprise Piel Studios. Together they serve their unparalleled talents with the denizens of Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Maxwell Rivera is a soft spoken individual yet his talents speak volumes. At United Ink Tattoo Expo Rivera stood apart from the competition. His distinction was not his absence of ink or elaborate piercings. A positive vibe surrounding the PIEL Studios booth, a mix of humility and amicable presence. As the crowd swelled interested patrons flocked to the booth for body mod services. The PIEL Studios staff greeted each customer with refined Boricua hospitality.
Before our interview session, Rivera asked why our interest on selecting PEIL Studios. As a Latino journalist, there’s a personal duty to showcase the aspiring Latino talents. Its an honor to use DecayMag as a vessel for the Latino community to aspire in the creative fields. Every performing medium has its challenges.
In today’s social standing we’re not a minority, we’re a majority. Yet, established obstacles are a continued hindrance to our progression. For example; in film Latinos as a whole continue to as stereotyped portrayals. It becomes invigorating to see Latinos shatter these elements of creative suppression.
1. Video Interview
Below is a condensed English translation from the video interviews courtesy of Enid Artuz.
2. Maxwell Rivera, Owner PIEL Studios
DecayMag How long did it take to establish credibility as a Latino artist in the tattoo industry?
DecayMag What do you think about the contribution from Latinos in the tattoo industry
Maxwell Rivera: I love the idea. This right here is my third convention and it been one after the other. We did one in Puerto Rico, Texas and now in New York City. I actually found a friend that I want you to meet with and get together for pictures.
We are Puerto Rico in New York and that is super cool even though some people have told me about the rivalry and competition. That is obvious we know that there are different categories and it gives you the chance that makes me proud.
DecayMag Which are your favorite tattoos and which are the ones you like to do the most?
Maxwell Rivera: That question is very difficult because I’m always talking with my colleagues. I have told them that I don’t have a particular style. It is very difficult to say “okay this is my style.” Some of the people that I have tattooed and see the work I do say yes this is your style.
My colleague Carla Pinto has noticed something about my tattoos. The truth is that is hard for me to determine which tattoos I like to do. I like doing all of the but there’s some I like more like the neo-traditional, realism, color and portraits.
DecayMag: Where are you located in Puerto Rico and what are your hours of operation?
Maxwell Rivera: We just opened a new Tattoo shop in the area of Caguas, Sector 7 Malayolga. We are open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm from Monday to Saturday that’s the hours we accept people and we also do walk-ins. We also offer body piercing with Ricardo Miro.
DecayMag: Where can you be found online?
DecayMag: Is there anything else you care to share with the public
Maxwell Rivera: I would like to thank the organizers of DecayMag Ken and Eneida for the opportunity of interviewing me. I’m very grateful for what you’re doing and to continue providing an opportunity and supporting Latinos.
3. Ricardo Miro, PIEL Studios
DecayMag What inspired you to become get a career on piercing?
Ricardo Miro: Well first and foremost, I’m a body piercer and I do modifications and I work with my colleagues which they are tattoo artists. I enjoy the art. What inspired me really inspire me is that it a “job” that really accompanies each day you grow and learn from it and the fact that you start from zero. For example, in my case, that is body piercing and I also do things that people like and for me to learn to do a better job
DecayMag How many years you’ve been doing body piercing?
Ricardo Miro: Well, I started at the age of sixteen with someone guiding me and then at the age of eighteen I started performing body piercing professionally. Now I’m thirty and I’ve been in the industry for fourteen years.
DecayMag What’s your opinion of Latinos working in the art industry?
Ricardo Miro: I understand that is very important to us as a community within the tattoo and body piercing industry. As Latinos, we are, we should support and help each other to succeed because I believe we have a great talent and you actually can see how much Latinos stand out on conventions like this one and others.
DecayMag What message do you have for someone that wants a career in body piercing?
Ricardo Miro: For you to do this you need to study a lot and be willing to make a career of it and to know that it not all about the money. It’s about you performing and building the name you do for yourself and also to bring the best work possible
DecayMag Where can customers find you in Puerto Rico?
Ricardo Miro: I’m actually working at Piel Studios in Caguas. It’s a the center of the Island when you wish you can come and visit us.
DecayMag Do you have a page where people can see your work?
Ricardo Miro: Actually, I have an Instagram that is; mirobodypiercing there you can see the type of body piercing I do.
DecayMag Is there anything else you want to share about body piercing?
Ricardo Miro: Body piercing is not as it was in the 1990’s. The industry has gotten better. The materials are good quality. There are so many body piercers with many talents. All I can say is if this is the profession you want to make sure you study because it’s more than just using a needle.
4. Getting Inked
At the time Maxwell Rivera didn’t have a Horror inspired artwork in his portfolio. For my tattoo design, I created a concept based on a reference image. I made slight enhancements to the illustration to add my personal flair.
Rivera took a concept and executed it with grace and attention to detail. I got tattooed on four different occasions and am well aware of time and pain involved. In all honesty, my previous experiences didn’t compare with Rivera’s expertise.
Before getting artwork got forever etched into my flesh Rivera noted his adjustments. Positioning and design additions were explained. After his presentation, Rivera opened the platform for my feedback, to which I had none. I agreed with his suggestions, placing trust in Rivera’s knowledge and artistry.
One attribute to Rivera’s technique was the fact that he didn’t manhandle the design area. With exception of my first tattoo, the artists I had prior were rough handed. These artists felt the need to add unnecessary pressure on the tattoo area. For readers that have ink, you’re all well aware of this all too familiar pain.
For those without tattoos try to imagine the rapid prick of a needle against the skin. Now imagine having this feeling for a five-hour stretch. Added discomfort is not necessary while infusing ink to skin. It seems this is what defines amateurs artists from professionals.
During my five hour session under Rivera’s tattoo gun, I felt relaxed and comfortable. Rivera also took initiative by asking if I needed to read adjust my seating position. The focus was on the client and the art.
Rivera also took the time to explain what he was doing. He provided insight on why he was painting certain areas. Information was also added on the type of needle he was using. This made the experience insightful.
In the end what I received was true artwork. This is an illustration am proud to display. I’ve received much acclaim on the technical execution of the design. I’m honored to have served as a human canvas for Maxwell Rivera.
It should also be noted that unlike my previous tattoo experiences. The ink transferred with perfection into my flesh. The day of application there was no blood or ink smearing across the wound. This can not be said with most human canvases at The 2017 United Art No Limits Tattoo Expo. In the days that followed the tattoo area healed without complications. This was a surprise. Excess ink displacing from the design area is the norm. Yet, that wasn’t the case.
Rivera has a light touch when conducting masterpieces this is without question.
The competition was fierce. Although the final design did not win the Horror themed category The 2017 United Art No Limits Tattoo Expo Rivera’s work till this day receives recognition as spectacular work of art.
I learned a lot while covering The 2017 United Art No Limits Tattoo Expo. The tattoo culture is about unity and appreciation for artwork. Nationality, sex, and appearance have little value in this field. What’s most important is the value of the work and the bond between artist and canvas.