Tattoo Machines NOW: Could you explain your style of tattooing and how your tattoo machines help you to achieve that style?
Joe Capobianco: IM known for Full color, Cheesecake/Pinup Style work. Usually heavy color saturation. As for how my tattoo machines affect my style of work, I don't think they do. IM a firm believer in the rule that its the artist, and not the machine. A certain tattoo machine may slow me down, but I'd like to think I can pull off what I do, with just about anything.
TMN: What is a typical tattoo machine setup? Are you partial to a certain tattoo machine builder or company?
JC: I was taught using a longer stroke, fairly heavy hitting tattoo machine. Over the years I fooled with my tattoo machines a bit, but stayed with this school of thought.
About 8, or 9 years ago, I was introduced to Pulse tattoo supply, by one Eric Merrill. I really dug there tattoo machines, and there companies practices. So I slowly started incorporating there tattoo machines (and later the power supplies, and just about everything else they sell). They quickly took the lead row in my building tattoo machine collection (being used on a daily basis).
The Middle of 08 I was introduced to one Paulo Fernando. A tattoo machine builder, and Tattoo pigment manufacturer, and owner operator, of Electric Ink, in Brazil. I'd been introduced to Paulo by Jime' Litwalk. Who had his own tattoo machines cast, and built by Paulo. So I took a flight to Brazil with Jime', and spent a week with Paulo, and his family. Watched as this feller took my sketches, and than final drawings, and literally Created my prototype. The Result was the "BRICKHOUSE" tattoo machine. And I must say Im real happy with the way she turned out. Paulo watched me tattoo over the course of a few days, and that, and having checked out a couple of my other tattoo machines. He basically built, and tuned my ideal tattoo machine.
Like my tattoo machines from years before the BRICKHOUSE has a longer throw, and is a very versatile Liner, or shader. Like I said I think its the Tattooist, and not the machine. That being said, I know of two great tattooers who are using my Liner as there shaders, as thats sort of the way my liners are tuned.
So while My Pulse tattoo machines (the Executives, and Gatsbys), are still in a fairly regular rotation in my daily set up, my BRICKHOUSE'S, are my go to guys.
Huge fan of Pulse tattoo Supply. IM kind of an asshole when it comes to who I'll deal with for both Medical supplies, as well as tattoo supplies. So IM not quick to use just anyone. Pulse is a well respected, and smaller company. The type of people I have no problems supporting.
TMN: Do you have a favorite frame or tattoo machine style?
JC: Used to love old school Swing gate style tattoo machine frame. But unfortunately there Waaay out of vogue. Have a bunch of cut back liners, but only 1 or 2 IM really fond of. Other than that, no. No real particular style of frame IM so into.
TMN: Is there noticeable differences in tattoo machines with different amounts of coil wraps?
JC: I used to just go for 10, & 12 wraps. Now its mainly 10's. I think its really in the tuning, but I still find myself staying away from 8 wrap coils. As for weight I thought I'd be into lighter, and lighter tattoo machines, as I got older. But in all honesty, a well built, and well balanced, heavier tattoo machine is for me. Thats why I tend to like Iron, or Brass tattoo machines.
TMN: Have you found a spring setup you find works better for different applications?
JC: Not really. all of my machines are set up kinda similarly.
TMN: Do you use a digital power supply or tune your tattoo machines by feel/ sound/sight or a combination thereof?
JC: All feel, and sound. I never went in for all of this digital numbers, and such. While my power supply is digital, I still go by feel, & sound.
TMN: How often do you perform maintenance and what does that consist of?
JC: Really not all that often. A good tattoo machine should run that way, for quite sometime. After a bit springs may open up a bit, and get softer. and a gap adjustment, or tension adjustment may be required. But these are not regular maintenance.
TMN: Have you noticed healing differences due to different tattoo machines?
JC: No I think its in the application by the artist. A hammers a hammer. all depends on who's swinging it.
TMN: Do you have any experience with pneumatic,rotary or half coil tattoo machines?
JC: Nope sorry. Not a fan. But in there defense I've not ever used anything besides the Hawk. And It didn't work any better than what IM using now. As a matter of fact, all of the little difference Just bothered me (old dog, and new tricks shit). IM also adverse to going out a buying all sorts of new shit. Seems to make no sense. If it aint broke, blah, blah, blah... But I can see some benefits to some of the rotaries. IM just not one who'll support em.
TMN: Any comments?
JC: I think it should be said that these comments of mine should all be taken with a grain of salt. IM not a "Machine Builder", just someone who knows what he likes.