A Candid Interview with Tattoo Artist Enrique Martinez


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Enrique Martinez Lorca, artistically known as Henry Tatts, is a versatile and internationally acclaimed tattoo artist from Spain, whose style has evolved into a blend of black and grey realism, fineline black and grey, and blackwork. Initially working with these styles separately for years, Henry later merged them to create a unique approach. In each design, he strives to strike a balance between photorealistic elements and illustrative touches, using line work and stippling to add a distinctive flair.

Henry is considered one of the foremost creatives in the global tattooing community, and his reputation extended internationally after he received the highest honor at the Benidorm Tattoo Convention 2019 edition, the 1st place in the “Blackwork” category.  Benidorm is one of the most prominent tattoo conventions in Europe, gathering every year the best tattoo artists in the world and thousands of visitors to admire them competing against each other and creating incredible tattoos.

Prestigious tattoo shops around the world eagerly invite Henry as a guest artist. Studios like Saloon 64, Red Panda, Utopian Tattoo Tribe, Dergrimm, and Betterinked Tattoo, are highly selective in their invitations, recognizing the value that exceptional artists like Henry bring to their establishments. Henry’s presence not only elevated their standing within the industry but also attracted new clientele, thereby bolstering their revenue and popularity.

Henry is sponsored by leading tattoo brands. Xtreme, in particular, is the leading brand for tattoo machines and inks, recognized on an international level. Henry has leveraged his visibility and reputation in the tattoo community to become Xtreme Inks’ lead ambassador at tattoo conventions and other initiatives. Securing sponsorship from industry giants such as Xtreme is a noteworthy milestone for Henry, and further solidifies his international position as a top-tier artist in the industry.

1. What inspired you to become a tattoo artist and when did you start it as a career?

I’ve always had a passion for art since I was a kid, enjoying painting and drawing from a young age. Additionally, I developed a significant interest in tattoos around the age of 13 or 14 when TV shows like Miami Ink first aired. When I attended a tattoo convention at 21, initially as a customer, I was captivated by the possibility of becoming one of those artists myself, which led me to pursue tattooing as a career. I began my training as a tattoo artist while studying Fine Arts at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, and it’s been nine years since then.

2. Which is your favorite client tattoo, what was the story behind it, and how much time it took?

All of my clients’ tattoos are incredibly important because each one holds a unique significance for them. However, in terms of personal preference, I’m particularly drawn to tattoos that allow me to push my artistic boundaries and evolve creatively. One of my recent projects stands out as a favorite—a full sleeve depicting themes of life and death intertwined with elements of nature, including detailed anatomical drawings of both human and animal skeletons. This project was seven sessions of eight hours each, but the result was immensely satisfying.

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3. What do you do in your free time when not tattooing people?

In my free time, I make sure to disconnect from the mental demands of the creative process and the intense focus required during tattoo sessions. For that, sports and nature are my go-to activities. I’m into fitness and boxing, and I love hiking surrounded by nature. Reading and exploring different subjects are also major interests of mine, helping me maintain balance and find inspiration outside of work.

4. Why do you think people get a tattoo, even though it’s a painful process?

I love this question, and it’s something that keeps me motivated every day in my work. In my opinion, there are three main reasons why someone decides to get a tattoo, which can be singular or combined.

The first is for aesthetic and identity reasons. Just as we choose our clothing to express our identity, a tattoo allows us to affirm who we are and which style or collective we belong to, while also differentiating ourselves as unique individuals.

The second reason is to commemorate something important in our lives. Like a personal diary, a tattoo becomes a small monument on our body that honors a person or event that has had a profound significance for us.

The third reason is to use the tattoo as an external symbol of strength or support for our beliefs. For example, when we want to remember bravery or effort, we choose a design that symbolizes those values, making it a part of ourselves and strengthening us on our journey. There are surely more reasons, but these are the ones I have observed most in both myself and my clients.

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5. Who is your favorite tattoo artist?

My favorite tattoo artist is Alex Sorsa. His style is a huge inspiration to me, and I’ve been following his work for many years, learning a lot along the way. His ability to compose and use light and shadow is very impressive, as well as his technique and the immense amount of detail in all of his pieces.

6. What different styles of tattoos do you make?

Currently, I mainly work in a style that combines two of the styles I’ve been working with the most over the years: blackwork and black and grey realism. In this style, I blend the use of photographic references and a study of more realistic lighting with a stippling shading technique. I also incorporate line work to add strength and durability to the tattoo.

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7. Where do you see the future of Tattoos?

I believe that the world of tattooing will continue to flourish, primarily because it has evolved beyond being merely a craft; it has become a platform for artistic expression and a means for many artists to monetize their talents.

In the past, tattoo artists were often seen solely as tattooists, but now, with the growing popularity and acceptance of tattoos, there’s a trend of highly skilled artists from diverse artistic backgrounds specializing in this discipline. This influx of talented artists with extensive artistic training and expertise is elevating the standards of tattooing. As a result, we’re seeing a broader range of styles, techniques, and artistic influences in the tattooing world than ever before.

This diversity not only enriches the art form but also attracts a wider audience, contributing to the increasing acceptance and appreciation of tattoos as a legitimate art medium.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I plan to continue collaborating and working with the best artists, from studios around the world, as I’ve done up to now. In five years, I envision myself mentoring and training other artists in my style, and perhaps even opening my studio. It’s a goal I’m working towards, as I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and contributing to the growth of the tattooing community.

9. Please share your social handles and how to reach out to get a tattoo.

My Instagram handle is Henry_tatts. There, you can view my complete portfolio. If you’re interested in discussing a project with me, feel free to contact me by sending a DM or an email to [email protected].

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