Meet the Master of Skulls, Serpents and dark oriental tattooing; Joao Bosco

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A tattooer, a musician, and a teller of grim tales – there are probably way more hats Joao Bosco dons in his artistic life in London. Primarily a tattoo artist based out of London, Joao is looked up to in the tattoo world as the master of skulls and serpents. His music is brilliant, to say the least. Must listen to his new album ‘The Cult of the Serpent‘!

Recently, he also published the second volume of his acclaimed tattoo book under his publishing venture, Tiger Sword, and his tattooing seems to getting grimmer and scarier and only more intense with the passing of time. I am a mad fan of his work, and only wish to one day getting a gnarly Joao Bosco serpent on my body. See for yourself if you too want to join the club.

Shubham: Can you tell us a little about your philosophy behind Tiger Sword?

Joao: My philosophy behind Tiger Sword is to present quality books for collectors, not only a Blurb book made on a website template. The publications from Tiger Sword will have contents and concepts, a story behind the art and illustrations. In my vision, this is a way to give something extra to the audience, not just an ordinary book.

Shubham: Your tattoo imagery is a lot of fantasy. How would you describe your tattoo imagery?

Joao: Exactly! I would describe it as Fantasy art, inspired by Asian imagery. A little bit of comic book and Heavy Metal.

Tattoo by Joao Bosco

Shubham: It’s almost like CULT OF THE SERPENT; your new album is an extension of your tattoo art. Does art in general flow similarly through all mediums for you?

Joao: Totally! That is the concept of the entire project, a music experience that enhances the imagery in the book. A form of meditation momentum, wherein they complete each other.

Shubham: Tell us a little about how tattooing happened for you…

Joao: It started because of Heavy Metal and the underground culture. The rebel image of the rockers combined with scary sinister album artworks got me very much into metal, and that brought me into a circle of friends that wanted to look like their Metal idols, and me being the only kid with art skills got me in a very strategic position. Then I started to decorate their bodies with tattoos; needless to say none of ‘em have any quality.

Tattoo by Joao Bosco
Tattoo by Joao Bosco

Shubham: How important is it for tattoo artists to be tattooed?

Joao: Someone who doesn’t have tattoos on them would never tattoo me, and I think nobody should, and I don’t get it why some people do.

Shubham: Do you think modern black work and dark fantasy in tattooing is largely an evolution of what we used to call tribal tattooing?

Joao: No not an evolution, I would say it’s revisiting the past, back to the old magical days, back to the soul and birth of modern tattoo.

Joao Bosco
Tattoo by Joao Bosco

Shubham: What is the emotional journey, personally for you, that you process through tattooing, music, or art in general?

Joao: The process of crafting something from nothing and to touch another soul via your creating process, regardless of the distance or ethnical or social gap and difference that may differ you from the audience. That is spiritual, that is magic…

Shubham: Why do you think are skulls and snakes such evergreen imagery in tattooing?

Joao: Because, they are both neutral and at the same time, object of representation of a vast group of things from the human soul and mind, as well as faith, religion, philosophy, cultural and political orientation, art and cult. Only few objects provide such versatile usage, among many examples, a cross can only represent so many things.

Shubham: In what directions are you looking at taking your tattooing from here onwards?

Joao: I want to keep exploring the Asian fields of tattooing and drawings more and more. I think my journey has just started…

Shubham: Any plans of coming to South Asia soon…?

Joao: I’m coming to Nepal in 2020 for the first time, I’m truly excited and I can’t wait!

Joao Bosco
Tattoo by Joao Bosco
Tattoo by Joao Bosco
Tattoo by Joao Bosco

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