Inked Mag Staff
March 17th, 2023
Bert is a master at tattooing black-and-grey microrealism
Bert likes the dark side of life. His tattoos are black, his clothes are black, and the tattoos he likes to do are black. Ever since he started drawing with pen and pencil, Bert has excelled at creating monochromatic art. These days he focuses on micro realism, and he is killing it. We spoke with Bert about his art, his muscle car and more.
When did you first develop an interest in art?
I developed an interest in art when I was about 4 years old from comics and coloring books. When I was 5 I started drawing my own characters to color.
When did you first become interested in tattoos?
I became interested in tattoos because I saw my uncle had a barbed wire tattoo on his arm and I thought it was fucking dope.
What was your path to becoming a tattoo artist?
When I was 16, I tattooed a smiley face on my boy. Then I started tattooing myself and my homies out of my folks’ crib in high school. I then went to college and found that wasn’t my route so I dropped out. I was depressed and didn’t know what to do with my life, but I had my sketch book filled with sketches. I finally went to a tattoo shop, got an apprenticeship, and graduated after eight months.
What led you to black-and-grey? Did you work in other styles first?
I always drew with a pencil or pen, in monochromatic styles, so by default I started tattooing in black-and-grey.
What’s something you haven’t tattooed a lot that you’d like to do more of?
I haven’t tattooed a lot of dark lettering and I wish I could do more of that. There’s not a lot of clients looking for dark, grimy lettering; my audience wants more dainty script, which I excelled at, and then it led me to micro realism which is what I am tattooing mostly now.
What is your favorite subject matter to work with?
I love doing finger sleeves. Full dark lettering finger sleeves.
Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?
Some of my biggest artistic influences are my mom, my wife and my homies.
What is your process of creating a tattoo?
The first step in creating a tattoo is to have a consultation with the client, figure out what they want, where they want it and what size it is, and give my recommendations. After that, I’ll design the tattoo and send the client a draft for their approval. From there, I’ll make any changes and tweak it until perfection. The client then arrives to our appointment and I will print out the stencil in several sizes to try on the body and see which one fills the space best. Once the client approves, I prep the skin, apply the stencil, let it dry, and start tattooing. Depending on the tattoo I may start with dark tones, then mid tones, and end with light tones. For the dark lettering, I draw some measurements on the space the client wants tattooed to ensure symmetry and I freehand the design with markers.
What are some of the unique challenges when working in micro realism?
A challenge I face with micro realism is creating the stencil. It’s such a small tattoo and it could be difficult to ensure I have all the necessary information in the stencil that I’ll need throughout the tattoo. I always have my iPad open with the design while tattooing to make sure I don’t miss any details.
Have you ever considered working in color?
I love black, I wear dark clothes often, I have dark lettering tattooed on my neck and chest, I have a blackout background on my sleeve. It’s definitely my preferred style. I do color tattoos as well, or black-and-grey with a hint of color; however, black-and-grey is still my favorite.
If you weren’t tattooing, what would you like to do for a career?
If I wasn’t tattooing, I would be a race car driver. I have a really fast muscle car and some of my homies at the shop call me Toretto.
Where do you see your art going in the future?
My artwork will end up in the ground, just like the bodies they were on.
Inspired by Japanese culture and anime, MimiSama combines old school methods with modern technology in her unique style of tattooing
He fights in the UFC, fronts a punk band, runs a clothing line and does a little stand-up comedy on the side—so, yeah, Andre “Touchy” Fili is all the way alive