Profile: Joe Capobianco
The October issue of Inked, which just dropped, has my interview with Joe Capobianco, the Prince of Pin-Up tattoos. In it, Joe talks about his signature style, quitting the convention circuit, hair pomade, and what makes a woman sexy. Here's a taste:
You have such a signature style that one can look at a pin-up tattoo and know that it's a "Capo Girl." What are the elements you put into your work that make it your own?
"There are certain ideas that go into my work: the shape of the figure, the attitude of the figure--in pinups it's important that the girl has the right attitude. I usually start with the face. In my opinion, if you blow the face on the pinup, it doesn't matter if she's naked with big boobs. If the face is shot, the pinup is shot. In everything I've done, I've looked to great artists like Gil Elvgren, Earl Moran, Alberto Vargas, Hajime Sorayama, and Olivia. Their work is in the back of my mind--it's subconscious--but I don't try to copy them. I think that's something some people lack: they try to make their work look like someone else's, but for me, it's more about letting things happen on its own, naturally."
What do you think makes a good tattoo?
"In my opinion, a good tattoo is something that is readable and something that's going last. Outlines are important, shading is important, solid color is important. I even go a little bit crazy with the saturation of color, which some traditional guys say, "Why do you do that? It's too much." But I don't think too much is gonna hurt the tattoo. I want the tattoo to look like I just did it for as long as possible. It's not high art. It's not your vision on somebody. I know this will sound shitty--and I'm not making points with some people--but I don't think it's fine art. A tattoo is a tattoo. "
Especially considering that you tattoo these tributes to women--what is sexy to you?
"It's not about any one thing. A girl can be drop dead gorgeous and have a killer body that men will drop their fucking drawers for, and I'll look at her and go, "eh." It's something about the way the woman carries herself. It's something you can't put your finger on--and you shouldn't be able to put your finger on. So many women try so hard to be what they consider the perfect woman, and they're missing the point. There is no perfect woman. The fact that you come in all shapes and sizes, that's the beauty of it."
Read the rest in Inked. Get it on newsstands or by digital issue download.