Felipe Bernardes owns an unique watercolor style. The Brazilian born tattoo artist works primarily with watercolor and fine lines, but nothing can stop his creativity.
Tattoos magazines and Comic Books were the only source of reference Felipe had growing up at a time when internet wasn’t available (can anyone even remember a time when there was no internet?). Lucky for us, he never stopped. Now, he dreams of traveling the whole world to share his art, learning about new cultures and places.
Like many before him, Felipe had a rough start. With prejudice of all kinds, people would look at him crooked for having tattoos and eventually for being a tattooist. Felipe spoke exclusively with Inked Cartel about his incredible and beautiful work.
Once Upon A Time…
Inked Cartel [IC]: What is your background and what drew you to tattooing?
Felipe Bernardes [FB]: Tattooing has always been an obsession of mine! It’s a childhood dream that was pursued throughout my entire life until I succeeded. I’ve been drawing since I was 4 years of age and always loved the universe of comic books and as there was no internet back then, I turned to comics and tattoos magazines for reference.
When I started my apprenticeship, I used to interject my work schedule with tattooing. First, I started tattooing friends and neighbors at home. Gradually, it became unfeasible to do that and I needed a space of my own. It all happened slowly but all in its time. I had a very slow evolution and not having enough time to devote to tattooing was a very significant factor.
Making The Move
With a full time job, and then working part-time as a tattoo artist, I’d work non-stop. At one point, I had to make a decision because I could no longer live a life with two jobs. I decided to devote 100% of my time to the art of tattooing and that was the best decision I’ve taken in my life.
IC: What is your strongest memory of your childhood?
FB: My grandfather was really encouraging of me. I’d make drawings and he as if he were a teacher, he’d grade them. It motivated me to always show better designs for him.
IC: How has your practice evolved over time?
FB: I’m a slightly restless and curious guy. I like to observe other artists and their techniques. There is always the challenge of accomplishing something different from what I have always done because I am often taken out of my comfort zone. I love that.
IC: What is or was your favorite work / design?
FB: In my case there are two [laughs]. One is a heart organ for which the client in question lived out of the country for many years and wanted to perpetuate his love to his parents. It was a very cool job to do because of the emotional connection behind it. Also, my client gave me creative freedom in the creation of design which contributed greatly to the success of the final product. The other is a face of a woman with a flower on her head. It was a job that totally got me out of my comfort zone. It required me a lot of study to develop and execute it.
Behind the Watercolors
IC: How do you define your style?
FB: My style is something I really can not define. Technically speaking, its aesthetics fits closer to watercolor, but the fact is that I like to blend and abstract several styles in the same design motivates me to never have a job like the previous one even when the theme is the same.
IC: What do you like about your work?
FB: When my client brings up an idea that she or he finds it impossible for someone to interpret it, they simply rely on my work to eternalize their ideas. Seeing a smile on my client’s face at the end of my sessions is the biggest trophy.
IC: Name me three artists you would like to be compared to, who would they be?
FB: I do not think I’m worthy of a comparison with these monsters, but I will cite the artists who are sources of inspiration of much influence for me. Chris Rigoni, Timur Lysenko and Victor Chil.
IC: What’s your favorite or inspirational place?
FB: The “chaos” and the rush of São Paulo enchant me. It’s a place where street art is the largest postcard in the city. The diversity of people and cultures mixed in one place. It’s as if the city is talking to you! I love this place!
Living and Loving Life
Felipe is a simple, quiet and curious guy. Observing the world with a headset on is what he does. Constantly surrounded by the people he loves, Felipe is a father, husband, and friend. In summary, Felipe is someone who enjoys the simplest things in life and wants to tattoo until the last day of his life.Leaving a legacy of respect to the art of tattooing is Felipe’s ultimate goal. Check out his work below.
Follow Felipe Bernardes on Instagram.