We get a chance to take a closer look at the artwork of Chente. Chente was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, and his work is known to be some of the best in the industry. Chente is also one of the best-known black-and-grey tattoo artists in the tattoo world, and we are fortunate enough to get a glimpse of his work. Chente takes the time to tell us firsthand about his work and knowledge about art. Chente mastered the craft of Bic Pen drawing while in lockdown, and now his drawings grace the pages of Arte to share with the world.

Sharing his artwork with the world:

It gives me the opportunity to share my sketches and ideas as well as some view of technique. I use the word ‘share’ because to teach an artist something when it comes to art, I feel we are all on the same level, and each individual has his or her style and technique in which they produce and convey. Since I am not a well-known tattoo artist, I am honored for the opportunity to share a little of my art as well as a little about myself in these pages.

The start of Chente’s career as an artist:

I got my start as a tattoo artist during a stint in the California prison system in the mid-nineties. Before then, there were always homemade tattoo machines floating around my neighborhood of East Los Angeles, which I am sure some of us doodled with from time to time. However, it was not until I found myself in a prison cell, at 19 years old, when I truly began to take tattooing seriously.

The transition:

The transition from a prison cell to an established, respectable tattoo shop was a difficult and lengthy journey full of obstacles and setbacks. I am a firm believer that determination goes a long, long way in life, and through it, I acquired my dream of simply doing what I love to do. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who share the same passion. Within this journey of being a tattoo artist, I have met some of the most incredible people on the planet whom I am lucky enough to call true friends.

Chentes view about his skull drawings:

To me, the best thing about skulls is their longevity. A skull will never wear itself out. I have nothing against tribal bands or biomechanical, but let’s face it, they faded out.

Going far back into history, the skull mystified people, and to this very day, people remain captivated by them. A skull can signify a number of different meanings and they have a vast range of styles from the intricately painted ‘day of the dead’ to the bold traditional style or my personal favorite, the heavily shaded wicked ones with the deep, cavernous eye sockets. A skull can be fashioned to any specific preference, and if done right, a skull tattoo can withstand the test of time and never wear out.

Importance of props in drawings:

To me, props can sometimes be important. Props such as hats, horns, bandanas, sunglasses, joints, cigarettes, and roses can add personality and character.

The windows to the soul:

Eyeballs have always been my personal favorite. Eyeballs bring out instant life to anything; they turn a shell like skull into something living and breathing as it stares back at you.

The value of shading and depth:

Heavily shaded skulls with the correct tones bring out the depth in a skull. When applied to the skull with the right tones, a 3-D effect is produced. The uses of dark colors bring out the cheekbones and set the teeth while they make the eye sockets and nose crevice seem endless and sinister. I like to distribute just as much black as I do the medium and lighter tones because it gives a great balance to an empty lifeless outline.

Special Thanks:

Peter Levy, Tim Hendricks, David Rios, “Tattoo Louie” Gomez, Under the Gun Crew Louie, David, Mike, Jeff, Yogee, Orks, Teardrop and London, Raul “Real” Muñoz , Tommy Montoya, Cecil Porter , Ink slingers Crew, Dan Driginberg, Mikey Montoya and Rubes Tattoo, Nikko and Juice.

To see more of Chente’s work visit: www.utgink.com