Time Out: How did you first get into tattooing? Marco Cerretelli: I've always been into art. It runs in the family. But I got interested in tattooing specifically twenty two years ago, when I was in the military. I built my own tattoo machine from a walkman motor and I started tattooing my fellow soldiers. My first tattoo was a bulldog.
Time Out: What was the draw of having your career in LA? MC: I came from Italy twelve years ago, searching for something that I couldn't find there. I always thought that California, and LA in particular, was the place where I was going to be able to establish myself as an artist and create a life for myself.
Time Out: How would you describe your relationship with clients, artistically and personally? MC: I try to be accomodating with all my customers, because it's thanks to them that I'm able to do what I do. But my accomodation is all within certain limits, because I have a very ingrained old school ethic, and I've learned throughout the years what works best on your body and what doesn't. I always start from the customer's idea though, and I develop it according to my aesthetic standards, always searching for strength, harmony and balance in the final product.
Time Out: What'sone of the most memorable pieces you've ever done? MC: It's not a piece in particular, but a customer. This guy Ben, who, a few years ago, was coming regularly every week, letting me cover his entire body. That was a great example of dedication and love for the art of tattooing and also one of the greatest opportunities for me to express myself through somebody else.
Time Out What's the strangest tattoo you've ever been asked to do?Or the strangest situation you've ever been in while tattooing? MC: The strangest tattoo was definitely a winged penis on this pornstar's ribcage at a tattoo convention. The strangest situation was when I was called to work at the home of somebody on house arrest for mafia crimes.
Time Out: Do you have a favorite tattoo of your own? MC: I think every tattoo that I have has been a milestone in my artistic journey, so I can't pick one over another. Especially because getting them on my body taught me a lot about tattooing, and each of them has been a source of inspiration for my growth as an artist.
Time Out: What is your favorite music to tattoo to? MC: I'd say the "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute.