“If I respect you, you respect me. That’s all. If I don’t wanna do something, don’t push me… I think the most important thing is respect for the older tattoo artists. I try to teach the new guys to not forget the past because I think without us, there is no tattooing.” – Mao
Living and working out of Madrid, Spain, Mao is a fixture in European tattooing and has been for more than three decades. While his work runs parallel to modern tattooing, he still exists in a world where the art is still part of society’s outer fringe.
Mao’s clientele is a mixture of that cultural fringe as well as the mainstream, and as a biker at heart, he loves every minute of tattooing his peers. And even though his clientele has shifted over the years, his passion for tattooing the rough and tough—the bikers and gangsters he once lived alongside—will never change.
While Mao relishes the old traditions, he also embraces the future of tattooing. While he values the lifestyle, the freedom, and the respect for the tattoo artist, he also lifts up other younger artists, taking them under his wing and passing on his legacy through training and experience. That’s because Mao’s mantra is, “It’s all about respect. If you give it, you receive it, and everything starts there.”
Similarly, Intenze strives to create for the future while embracing the past. Knowing where tattooing comes from is the only way to propel it into the future—and deep connections to the heritage, and an intimate connection to its roots, is the only way that is possible. Like Mao, Intenze strives to bridge the gap between the past and the future, and the gap between the desire to create, and the results in the skin.