interviewed by ewa poniatowska
PORTUGAL > LONDON
ROAM: How and when did you start tattooing?
Diogo: I started tattooing a few years ago (2009 if I'm not mistaken); my girlfriend at the time offered me my first tattoo kit, kind of as a joke because I always wanted to try it. I just see it as another drawing technique so at the beginning I was just practicing on artificial skin and pig skin.
What would you say influences your work?
I would say that everything around me influences my work. The world that we live in, the present sociology and politics.
Who is your favorite artist? Why?
I really like the work of Raphaël Zarka and the way his sculptures are related to the space, but my favourite artist would probably be Richard Long.
Have you explored other artistic means other than drawing/tattooing?
I studied Sculpture at Uni so that's still one of my main focuses of my creative work even though lately it's become a bit sidelined. I also practice some painting techniques and graffiti.
Is there something you can’t live without in your place of work?
A notebook and a good pen.
What was the most difficult design you've ever tattooed?
I don't know really. Usually I tattoo my designs so through the whole process - from the creation of the design to the end of the tattoo - I get more and more used to it and familiar with what I need to do next. I think the most difficult tattoo I've ever done was probably something that I didn't really want to do. When I first started tattooing, a friend of a friend of a friend asked me to do a really bold Christ cross on his back and that wasn't really pleasant work to do.
Why did you choose to move to London?
I moved to London straight after finishing Uni. At the time, it just made sense, my girlfriend at the time was living in London and I wanted to get out of Portugal to a more cosmopolitan place.
Where are you originally from?
I'm from a small town in the middle of Portugal called Viseu, but I lived in Porto while I was at Uni.
Do you think moving to London influenced your work in any way?
Yes, the fact that London is so multicultural and that it is so much easier to see and research for my art work.
Name 3 things you miss most about your home country?
The weather, the bright sun light in the winter days and my family.
Name 3 things you don’t miss at all?
There's nothing not to be missed really, politics and [the] media were in a shit position recently but hopefully that's about to change.
Is London a friendly city for 'young creatives'?
Not really, it's really expensive to have a work space for starters, and I hate that you always need to know or meet someone that can possibly help you progress in your career. It's difficult just to progress on the actual work that you do and I don't think it should be like that.
What is the most exciting thing you've done recently?
Spending the last 5 months living in Lisbon, it was great but in the end I decided to come back to London just because of the economy and lack of creative opportunity.
Best song to tattoo to:
Miles Davies Doo Bop Album.
View more of Diogo's work: www.cargocollective.com/diogorodrigues