Ben Grillo talks Tiny Tats with Horitaka

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura
I recently had my friend Ben Grillo come visit to hang out and make some tattoos. Most of you may know Ben for his incredibly detailed single-needle masterpieces, and I thought it would be fun to do a little TAM Blog interview with Ben…

HT: How long have you been tattooing?

Ben Grillo: I’ve been tattooing seven-and-a-half years now. I got a late start, I didn’t start tattooing until I was 29. I had my share of crappy jobs before I got to do the best “job” in the world. Maybe it makes me appreciate it better.

HT: When did you start doing the micro-tats?

BG:  Those? Probably about five years ago, something like that.

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HT: You don’t seem afraid at all… Do you worry about how they will age or heal?

BG: Well, I pretty much warn everybody, the smaller it is, the harder its gonna read, especially the older it gets. That’s just like any tattoo but more-so the smaller it gets. I try to tattoo it in such a way that it will stay sharp and looking good for as long as possible. But no matter what, they’re gonna eventually turn to shit.

HT: Do you think you would not be able to do these if you weren’t also good at portraits?

BG: I actually did these before I started doing portraits.

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HT: Do you apply any of the same principles?

BG: Of course, sometimes I do the miniature tattoos like a portrait. It’s just smaller, that’s why they take so long.

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