By Nicki Kasper
Let’s start with who you are and where you work…
Dennis M Del Prete and I work at my shop, Providence Tattoo in Providence, Rhode Island.
Tell us about your shop… how many artists work there, and what kind of shop is it…? Custom work? Walk-ins? etc…
I have had my own shop now for about 8 years. We do custom work and walk ins. The five guys I work with now are some of my favorite tattooers and best friends. Nick Pellegrino, Rick Lacapria, Pete Toatley, Andy Reach, and John Gorman. They are what my shop is made up of and I am lucky to work with them.
What was your art background like? Did you like drawing as a kid, or did that come later?
I liked drawing. I have always been drawing. I Have no formal art training. I buy a lot of books and read them and study them.
What made you want to start tattooing?
I wanted to stay off the beaten path ( Ironic now, I know). I wanted to work with my hands and make something art related. It just seemed fucking cool, it still does to me.
Tell us how you got into tattooing… Who do you credit for teaching you the trade, and how long have you been in it?
I found out Ken Johnson, a local shop owner and tattooer was going to be making machines so I contacted him for a pair. He was kind enough to sell them to me. The first guy to ever let me in his shop and show me around tattooing was a guy who is known pretty well in these parts named Mondo. There is a guy in Mass. named Mondo too I heard, but the guy I’m talking about came from the west coast about 25 years ago and has been in R.I. ever since. I liked that he was kind of an outlaw and didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought. That is part of what initially attracted me to tattooing. He is also one of the fastest most talented guys I have ever worked with to this day. He knew every aspect of tattooing and was part of an age of tattooers that where not afraid to do what needed to be done in a world where tattooing was a subculture and not safe for everybody. It was a difficult way to learn and work but I’m glad I got to experience some of what was left of that time in tattooing and it is part of what I am today.
How would you describe your style?
I just try and do tasteful tattoos. I have no idea how to describe it. I do my best to honor the tradition of putting in a clean tattoo that will make some sense over the time the person has it.
What would you like to tattoo more of?
I never get tired of girls and birds, but I’m open for anything. Most of all I would like to tattoo cool people who I can have a good time hanging out with while I am with them.
What is your opinion on how social media has affected the tattoo industry?
I use it to get my stuff out there and check out other peoples stuff as most tattooers do. My opinion is that it is another way tattooing has become more safe and available for everyone. That is great in so many ways but it also bums me out a little. I started tattooing right before the internet became a big thing and I have seen how it has changed the attitude of tattooers and tattooing for the better and the worse. Safe and available hasn’t ever been my favorite type of art or way of life. It isn’t what got me into this trade in the first place. I liked the punk rock aspect of it. Social Media definitely dulls the edge of life. Makes you forget to be your own person and use your own senses to experience things. I can not deny that it is a marvelous tool, but I still miss the days when it did not exist.
How can people get in touch to set up an appointment with you?
emailing or calling the shop works.
To see more of Dennis’ work: