Ladna Fortunato describes their design process and one thing is clear: their drive to exceed their own limits. “I think as an artist you can always grow, and that’s one of the things we kept hitting every time we were designing,” Ladna says. “‘Like, do we love this design? Yeah, but can we do better?’ When you are working with another artist, you can push each other to get to that next level that maybe, by yourself, you wouldn’t challenge yourself the same way.”
It is important to work with another person on a tattoo. Not only when it comes to each other’s creative choices, but also in the physical act of doing the tattoo. “You have to constantly be like, ‘Oh, if he’s pulling a line right now, I can’t be doing a crazy fill-in because the whole canvas is gonna move,’” Ladna says. “So we have to be constantly conscious and respectful of the person, and conscious and respectful of the client, too. Because obviously, it’s a very vulnerable place.”
While they have both been to conventions in the past, it was their first collaboration. It is important to have a positive atmosphere. “You have rules to follow and that makes you push a little bit harder,” Fortunato reflects. “I think if you do [the tattoo] You can feel a bit more relaxed in controlled environments like the shop. The idea of doing it in a convention was like, ‘Okay, we have another challenge. There are many good things and some bad. All the people around you, and all your questions are one thing. You can’t control the music, the AC. We just adapt to every change.”
“The third day, the client started to not feel so good, which is normal, three days is a lot,” Ladna says. “So it was things like that that we dealt with, [but] Everything we had expected. The process was very smooth. Not easy—it was a lot of energy, a lot of effort, but in the end, really seamless and everything just flowed.”
Clearly, even amidst all the chaos, the duo didn’t hold back from putting in the work and giving it their all, winning the first place award for large color, and the best of the day for Sunday.
There are many benefits to attending tattoo conventions. One benefit is that artists can present their work to others and get immediate feedback. Koral also added why she thinks expos are important: “it’s a way to get your work out there, out of the studio and to a different audience who maybe wouldn’t see it normally. People come to conventions from all over the world, so it’s a way to share community, to learn, to share information, to present yourself in a different way.” Fortunato adds, “You spend three days with the same energy, and obviously you learn from that.”
“We want to do a series of collaborations to also fine tune that way of working and to really push each other to learn more and to try different challenges,” Ladna explains. “Maybe for the next one, we’ll find a different way to think, maybe change everything from how we did it this time around.”
The fruits of the duo’s efforts ended up even more magnificent than imagined. “We’re more than happy [with how it turned out],” Fortunato beams. “Because even if you have all the energy and the process, you know something can happen. But this was more than I was expecting.”
“If you look at the first drawing we did together, and you look at the result, it’s light years apart,” Ladna adds. “It was a big journey.”
Folks, it’s amazing what kind of magic you can make from tattooing in an unfamiliar environment with added pressure.if (contentId == ”) But after committing themselves to understanding each other’s creative process, effectively melding their styles into one, and working together to achieve a client’s grand vision, the artists certainly rose above and beyond the occasion.