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Michelle Gallo

Artist Interview


Artist of the Month




I enjoy painting, sketching, poetry, fashion, Interior design my time off I like shopping (for anything), traveling, eating sushi and drinking lots of coffee.
I can sit in front of my computer for hours on end...building websites...making music... My newest interests are sewing and cooking :)


Michelle Gallo

Michelle Gallo



Years in the Biz:


BAW: What made you want to become a Tattoo Artist?
MG: All my life I've had a fascination with tattoo's. My real dad had a few...I was awed by the fact that they were pictures that never came off. I started drawing and painting on myself around 6 or 7 (big snakes up my leg and stuff) It should have been no surprise that I would become a tattoo artist. All through high school I continued to draw...I had my first tattoo done at 16 by a female tattoo artist....(I could only's the coolest job ever)...I always had it in my head that it was what I wanted to do....but I didn't have enough faith in my drawing abilities to think I could get an apprenticeship.....I dated a tattoo artist for a few months and he really liked my artwork and encouraged me to go after it... he allowed me to do an outline on him with his machine of a scorpion on his leg..... once I had a taste of it...I knew it was all I wanted to I brought my portfolio around, found myself an apprenticeship at a local shop and got started.

BAW: Who are your influences?
MG: Mike Ledger, Joe Capobianco, Brian Everett, Anil Gupta, Guy Aitchison, Tom Renshaw, Jack Rudy, Aaron Cain

BAW: What is your favorite style of work?
MG: Mainly Black and Grey...I really enjoy doing portrait work...I love to do realism. I've recently had a rekindled interest in bold color work as thing I love about tattooing is I never stop growing or learning.

BAW: Tell us about your first Tattoo Inkspierence?
: I had my first tattoo done at 16....I had been trying to get one done for at least a year but was having trouble passing for 18 :) I though that I just wanted one...just to say I did it and that I knew what it felt like. (the famous last words) I went down to the tattoo parlor with my hot off the press "I.D. CARD" (that had my new birthdate of course).....picked out the smallest butterfly I could find for $30.....and got it where no one would ever see it :) (little did I know what I had begun)

BAW: What is your favorite piece you own?
: That's a really hard decision.... it would be easier to tell you which one I like the least..(but I guess that wouldn't be nice)...I guess the angel I have on my right inner forearm is my favorite....It was done by Joe Capobianco....

BAW: What is your most memorable Tattoo given and why?
MG: at first I would say it's the girl who passed out and peed on the chair....but I see Dave Sawyer already told that story so I'll have to say tattooing my step father.....All the years I lived at home I heard "Don't you EVER come home with any tattoo's or you'll be moving out".....4 years after I started tattooing he decided he wanted one......the whole time I tattooed him...I kept calling him a hypocrite and telling him he couldn't go home was very amusing. (I just did his second tattoo last week !! )

BAW: What is your most outrageous tattoo given and why?
: I tattooed "END RACISM AND JUDGEMENT" on a friends neck in big 1 inch's outrageous not because of it's size or placement...but because of the amount of courage it takes to wear in our society.

BAW: Is there a part of the body you won't Tattoo and why?
MG: I will not tattoo anyone's face. To me it seems like too much of a commitment (not that I would ever tell someone what to do with their body...but I wouldn't want anyone to have to be my first)

BAW: Do you feel that female Tattoo Artists are treated fairly in the business? How do you feel things have changed for women in tattooing as well as yourself and when you started out.
MG: I haven't gotten any negative treatment from other artists for being a woman. Everyone I've met has been supportive and expressed much admiration for the women who excel in our field. Although I have heard many stories from other female artists who have had to go through being sexually harassed by bosses and other co-workers....I guess I was fortunate enough to apprentice and work for a man who treated me respectfully.

BAW: Do you support supply co. that sells to the public?
MG: No...selling machines and supplies to individuals with no sterility, art, or technical training will only result in the application of poor tattoos and the spread of disease. I feel that as professionals, we work very hard to change the stigma's that have been associated with tattooing for many years....and supply company's who sell to inexperienced persons will only perpetuate the bad rep we have been trying to get away from.

BAW: Do you feel there now should be mandatory schooling for soon to be tattoo artists?
MG:  I don't believe their should be a state or "pay" college for tattooing... but I definitely feel that a proper apprenticeship beginning with infection control/sterility, art theory, anatomy, technique, and machinery is a must for anyone entering the field.
A mandatory national barrier/infection control and sterilization course should be created for tattoo artists.....and geared towards our specific concerns...this would create a standard set of guidelines used industry wide. (it is too scary that at every convention I have gone to I have still see many artists who....although they are implementing many barrier control devices....they still use some practices which leave open windows for cross contamination.) A thorough set of industry wide standards would help make our business safer or both artist and client.

BAW: Do you feel Tattooing has changed over the years, and if so why?
MG: Without a doubt tattooing has changed enormously over the years. The quality of the artwork has improved immensely, advances in technique and pigments as well as growing public popularity and acceptance have helped to bring tattooing out of the back alleyways and prison's into mainstream society. It is becoming recognized much more for the art form that it will be no surprise when many of the great artists of the future, hanging paintings on the walls of the finest museums...have a firm background in tattooing...

BAW: Do you think it is important to do as many conventions and shows as possible?
: I enjoy going to conventions...I find it important to meet many artist and look through portfolios. It has given me the opportunity to learn new things which improve my tattooing style. (not to mention it's rather nice to be able to walk around for a weekend and not feel so different being so tattooed : ) )

BAW: What advise can you give to someone who is starting or looking to get into the tattoo business?
: As I said before...I firmly believe in a good solid apprenticeship. First...go to a few tattoo to the artists...look at their work....and figure out who you'd like to learn from. Second...make sure your apprenticeship will give you all the necessary knowledge you will need (the first thing being infection control/sterility, then.. art theory, anatomy, technique, and machinery).... My other advice is this....if your not getting what you need from one place ...don't be afraid to go somewhere else or to ask someone else. (most tattoo artists aren't afraid to share their knowledge with someone genuinely interested)

BAW: What could you say to someone who has had a bad first Inkspierence?
: Don't be discouraged from getting another if the first experience was bad..just go to someone else : ) All artists work a little differently...and have different personalities.... It's okay to go around and consult with a few until you find someone your more comfortable with. It will make all the difference in the world.

BAW: Please share any other comments or views or questions to the public you might have.
: I just want to thank everyone who has let me tattoo them. They always thank me when I'm done...but I like to thank them too....because to me it's an honor that they chose me to permanently adorn their body with my artwork.