Each month our intrepid artist liaison and generally jovial Eikon staffer Patrick Coste sits down with a tattoo artist to get to know them a little better. This month he's catching up with PEI transplant Carlos Lopes.
Carlos left his native Brazil for Canada to get his tattooing career up to par. Now he’s making big waves in PEI of all places... A true inspiration for all who want to “DO IT” - Patrick Coste
Patrick Coste: Bom dia Carlos!! Been a while since we first got introduced at the 7th Hub City Tattoo Expo in Moncton, New Brunswick. I recall that you had power supply trouble, glad we could help!
Carlos Lopes: Bom dia! Yes, thank you Patrick, it was helpful. I’m happy you called me for this interview. I have Jeff here to translate if we get lost.
PC: Oh, snap!! Hi Jeff! Carlos, your story is a new one for us here in Canada. It’s an exciting one...you’ve got a lot to tell us! You’ve been tattooing for a while in your native Brazil, tell me more about the reason you moved over here?
CL: Tattooing! Ahah! I moved to Canada 2 years and 6 months ago. A lot of good things happened during that time, I’m truly blessed. The reason I moved here is definitely for tattooing and the way it is in Canada. I had a connection in PEI of all places and contacted Jeff here at Infinite Expressions, showed him my portfolio. I didn’t speak much English when I first came here but I’ve learned, and the more you do, the more you learn.
PC: I can definitely relate to all of this! The move must have been good, but with a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts.
CL: For sure, starting a new life always is. We all know that money is better outside of South America. I had no idea of my future there and had to make a decision. When I contacted Jeff, who helped with the big process, I had no idea really. When I landed I was thinking, OMG what am I doing here, all these people with blue eyes! Hahah, I never once looked back.
Prior to moving over here, I’d been tattooing in my home town of Porto Alegre in Brazil for 7 years, but the level of tattooing here in Canada is way better. The money is better, and I had a chance to learn and get better and better.
I was drawing all the time, all day long at home, at school...the teacher hated me for it. I was about 6 years old when I took a pencil and drew on paper.
Just before tattooing I was working in a restaurant for about 6 years and in my last year a patron, who was a tattoo artist, saw my drawings and asked me if I wanted to try. I did a horrible job on my brother’s arm, learned to use an autoclave and needle making. I never stopped. Shortly after, I started to learn by myself quite a bit more, tattooing friends and having low prices. I evolved and after 2 years I loved Black & Grey realism and stuck to it!
After 5 years people started to know me better as I was better, and people were traveling to come and see me. It felt great, but it wasn't enough, so I moved here!
PC: Far out! Good story! I hope your brother’s not too upset about his bad tattoo haha!
CL: I hope not, I bought a restaurant and he manages it. Hahah...
PC: Haha, sweet!!!!
CL: : Yes, coming to Canada helped a lot. I also bought a condo for my mom. I feel grateful to be able to do so.
PC: WOW!!! Amazing. Tell me, you must do other activities, as it’s important to surround yourself with locals when you’re from abroad!?
CL: I’m a blue belt and have been practicing Jiu Jitsu. As a national sport it’s still important to me. I found a great tatami here in PEI where I go train and meet with other fans of MMA and all. Oh, and I also race lawn tractors haha! I also do Airsoft battles, those can be quite crazy at times. We go full on with it, army like. It can be dangerous for sure.
PC: Wait what? Like a small lawn mower tractor thingy??
CL: Yes, haha, they are fun and they go fast, and it’s also a very local thing to do. It’s truly great. I truly just started to feel at home here...it takes a while to adapt.
PC: Haha, that is indeed crazy! I’m talking tractors here, haha. Thank you so much for the talk Carlos, you’re a real inspiration. Be well and send me those tractor racing trophy pictures lol! I wish you all the best in your endeavours.
Follow Carlos on Instagram: @carloslopestattoo