“My favorite part of doing a sleeve is seeing the final result of all the hours of hard work. To see how it all settles down. How all the elements flow, wrap, work together as a single piece. It’s the point that everything makes sense.”
Portugal is a diverse and beautiful small country located in Southern Europe. Birthplace of tattoo artist, Mumia, and famous for its Atlantic beaches, food, and ancient historical towns. People are easy-going, laid back, and like to live at a relaxed pace. For Mumia, it’s a small paradise with an economic disadvantage. Heavily affected by the international economic crisis, salaries are at a low and living costs are high making it difficult to make a living as a tattoo artist. In 2014 Mumia relocated to Copenhagen Denmark but still has a strong connection, visiting Portugal on a regular.
Gothic Architecture and Textured Portraiture
What are some differences and similarities in the art and tattoo in Denmark versus Portugal?
The main difference between both countries regarding the tattoo industry is that Denmark had its first tattoo studios in the early 1900s, and Portugal in the mid-1990s. Since the foundations for modern tattooing were set almost a century before, tattooing has stronger roots and acceptance in Danish society. In the last couple of years with the internet, television, and social media exposure, tattooing went mainstream at a global level. Differences between local scenes and styles are starting to fade, becoming a huge melting pot of artistic styles worldwide. Nowadays there are amazing artists doing all kinds of styles in both countries. Generally, tattooing is still more accepted in Denmark.
How does the economy affect the way you tattoo and add value to your portfolio?
An obvious difference for me, having tattooed in both countries, is how the economic situation has an impact on the kind of work you get to do. Since Denmark is a wealthy country, there is a tendency for the customers to get mainly large scale work. Sleeves, full back, and chests are in high demand. So you have more people that are heavily tattooed. On the other hand, the salaries in Portugal are much lower. People really have to save a lot to get tattooed, and they basically end up getting smaller pieces and stand-alone tattoos. It’s also more difficult in Portugal to have the customer base to do niche styles and get really specialized. That’s one of the reasons that made me move to Denmark. It made a big difference in my development as an artist and expand my portfolio.
When you are not traveling and tattooing, what can we find you doing on your downtime? By the way, you kick ass on the drums!
I love playing the drums, going to concerts, road-tripping, hiking, and nature trips with my girlfriend. I also enjoy listening to records, reading graphic novels, playing some PlayStation, and watching movies.
What artists or individuals have inspired you most over the years?
I have always had a passion for black and grey, dark art, and surrealism. Some of my biggest inspirations in the tattoo industry that have heavily influenced me in my early years are Victor Portugal, Carlos Torres, Josh Duffy, and Robert Hernandez. They all have distinct trademark styles that make them stand out from the rest and make them unique.
Today everyone is incredibly good on a technical level. In my opinion, what makes that artist stand out is that personal trademark style that also defines their artistry and captivates. Sets them apart. That was always a thing that I tried to have a presence in my work, personality, and strong individual approach, and those specific artists had a big impact on me. Of course, I am still influenced by what’s happening in the industry but I try to focus more on my style and refine it as much as I can.
Outside of tattooing, I am influenced by the work of artists like Beksinski, HR Giger, Fraetta, Carvaggio, Nekro, Godmachine… just to name a few. All the record covers, graphic novels, movies, and alternative culture that I was exposed to growing up, ultimately shaped my aesthetic preferences. So I guess my work is the result of all those influences that I absorbed throughout the years.
How have your travels influenced you and defined your technique?
Traveling is one of my biggest passions. It’s addictive! It gives you the possibility to see the world in its endless cultural perspectives. Improve your vision and grip on reality. We are constantly growing when we are in that process, moving forward. Traveling is the best way to experience different realities and get out of your own bubble. I try and travel as much as I can in my free time and tattooing.
My work is heavily inspired as well by my trips. When I am on the road, I am always refreshing my mindset and getting new ideas and inspiration. I always have my camera with me, and constantly taking pictures of old architecture, sculpture, art, crafts, museums, wilderness, and nature. A lot of the references used in my tattoo designs come from those trips.