Artist Profile: Lorena Morato
One of the reasons I love traveling to tattoo conventions is meeting artists and getting excited about all new kinds of work that I haven't seen before. At the last London Tattoo Convention, one artist whom I fell in love with is Lore Morato -- not just for her beautiful tattoo work but for her generosity of spirit. After many years tattooing outside her native Brazil, particularly in Germany, Lore has returned home and is opening her own tattoo atelier Golden Times Tattoo in Belo Horizonte. She took a break from building her shop to talk to us about her fascinating life and work.
When did you first dream about becoming a tattooist?
Since I was 16, when I used to hang out with friends and sketch their tattoos on paper.
What were some of the most important moments in your path to fulfilling this dream?
When I went to Europe as a 20-year old, I was already dreaming of being a tattooer. I arrived with no money at all. I was a punk seeking adventure. I had no idea what would happen to me, but it was better not to think too much... hehehe. So in the beginning it was really hard because I had no home. I used to live in squats in Barcelona and eat recycled food out of the trash ("freegans" you know? Hehehe). I needed to work really hard in small jobs, like babysitting or handing out flyers on the streets, in order to get money to buy my first used machine. The path was long, but I knew that good moments would eventually come.
There were so many important moments for me, for example, when I finally found a cool lady: Petra Kempka, who helped me a lot and got me a job in my first good tattoo shop in Germany. Or when I finally started tattooing only what I really love; and also when people write me telling me they are so happy with their tattoos, and I see that I can help them with my machines... like when they go through an important moment or when they need to heal wounds from the past, and they want to transform this in tattoos and choose me for that! This is the best part.
Your distinct style of tattooing blends Neo-traditional with the spiritual. Could you explain your approach to this work?
My mother and grandmother back in Brazil raised me in a very spiritual way, teaching me about magic stones, plants, making wishes and believing in the universe. My mom always said we women are powerful witches. Their teachings are the greatest source of inspiration for my work. Since then, I started studying and celebrating the Divine Feminine, the magic and mystery about being a woman: worshiping different goddesses, seeking the balance between male and female. My work is part of me, is part of what I believe. It's all together, all in one.
You have very strong female archetypes represented in your work. What are your influences and inspiration behind them?
As I said before, all the goddesses that I worship are sources of inspiration, but mostly I draw on the archetype of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, my favorite goddess and also my guide. She is the queen of heaven in the Sumerian mythology and goes down to the underworld to face her sister, who is also her own darkside at the same time. She learns to embrace her shadow in her journey, and when she does it, she goes back to heaven as the queen of both heaven and hell. I am fascinated with this story!
What are your thoughts on being a woman tattooer -- do you believe there are still obstacles women in the industry must overcome today? What have been the more positive aspects of being a woman artist?
I believe there are still obstacles for we women in many places around the world, not only in the tattoo industry but in most other jobs as well. This is so sad and something we can't deny, even when we think it's 2014! There is still a lot of things to fight for. As one of my favorite singers, Melissa Auf Der Maur, says in one of her lyrics : "As we stumble together, we fall alone". So if we want to overcome sexism or any other "ism" that diminishes us, we need to stand together as artists, as workmates, as sisters.
The most positive aspect of being a woman artist is just the fact of being a woman! We were all born powerful, and when we start to realize it, the tattoos we make will become more than just tattoos, they will become tools for healing.
Tell us about the creation of your new studio. What are your goals for Golden Times Tattoo?
This a dream coming true for me, and in my own tropical country. Can you imagine a "tropical new-traditional tattoo shop"? Hahahaha! My boyfriend and I are the owners and we expect to bring some artists from Europe and the rest of the world to work with us as guest artists. The new-traditional scene in Brazil isn't that strong yet, but people are always curious and very excited about it, so interest in neo-traditional here is definitely growing. We are also an art gallery, and every month we will have space for artists to make exhibitions, not only tattooers but all kinds of artists we want to support. Our goal is to make this place a place for dreamers, for inspired people to give and receive inspiration, a place that people feel good and at home.
What conventions/guest spots do you have planned for the new year?
I will be in Europe from August to the middle of October: I will be at the London Convention (26 to 28th September) and at the Stockholm Ink Bash (29 to 31th August) also making some guest spots in Zurich (Switzerland), Leeds (UK), Berlin and Cologne (Germany). Dates and shop names will be in my page very soon: Facebook.com/goldentimestattoo.
What is it you most want to accomplish in the new year?
I want to paint more oil and watercolors and do other projects besides tattooing, and dedicate this year to enjoy my shop here. I also hope to continue following my spiritual path since I am now back in Brazil, which is my home.
If there is one thing you'd like people to know about you, what is it?
That it doesn't matter where I am and what I am doing, I will always believe in dreams and magic; and that my tattoo equipment are healing tools for me, I do my job from the bottom of my heart. If you get a tattoo from me, it will not be "just a tattoo," we will be doing magic together!
What do you love most about your life?
The fact that I can travel a lot while doing my job, because I looooove traveling so much!