Carlos Torres

Hailing from San Pedro, California, Carlos Torres is known for his shockingly expert skills as a tattoo artist, particularly in black and white realism, although he is not nearly as renowned as he deserves to be, given his level of skill and technique. His ability to apply nothing short of pristine oil painting caliber work to his subjects is amazing. Detail and realistic depictions of mostly faces and physiques, leaves one enthralled by the picture quality of his fine pen work.

Unfortunately there are very few interviews with Carlos out there which leaves this artist quite obscure, therefore  there is not much information on him, though he is becoming more and more popular in the world of tattooing and is even rising in the ranks of other more normal art forms.

Torres’s friends always encouraged him to carry on drawing and doing art at school as he always loved to draw and paint. He believes that this was the gateway that got him interested in becoming a tattoo artist at a young age already. He furthered his drawing skills until he did his first tattoo in 1996. He only started tattooing professionally a few years after that when he got the proper equipment and once he was more comfortable with the technique of tattooing which was completely different to get used to, compared to the normal drawing that had become second nature to him.

Beyond practicing his basic art as a child and teenager, Carlos never had any formal training and, as a tattoo artist, never did an apprenticeship under any professional tattooists. Like many of today’s greatest tattoo artists, he mainly reach the full potential of where he is today by trial and error. Probably aware of his budding excellence, his friends
allowed him to practice on them for a few years after which he eventually began to develop his own unique style and astounding skill.

When asked to describe his style, on many occasions he would describe it as realism and/or surrealism, the subject matter and the picture itself being very surreal in nature while the art-form and technique would be considered very realistic and almost completely life-like. This trait of realism clearly stem directly from his favourite hobby, oil painting. His tattoo work is best known for resembling quite surreal renaissance oil paintings and is mostly in his trade mark black and grey technique. Carlos’s pieces tend to capture a very Victorian feel due to the particular styles from that era that emerge in the pictures. It is precisely this unique style that has won Carlos many awards at the tattoo conventions that
he has attended. One of those awards, like his First Place award for black-and-grey portraiture in London, proved that he was an artist to watch. Torres can always be found attending European tattoo conventions, showcasing his abilities, as he prefers it over working in one spot for a long period of time.

Travelling the world, meeting new people and seeing new places, Carlos says that he uses life in general as inspiration instead of just one focus point of inspiration for his many works. He is mainly motivated by what people think of his work and their different opinions on his pieces after he is done tattooing the individual client.

Beyond tattooing, Torres has mentioned that he would like to also pursue his passion for oil
painting. He has been taking classes and workshops with some of his favourite artists, such as Micheal Hussar, Shawn Barber, Kevin Llewellyn and Sean Cheetham. Torres has also done t-shirt designs for Sullen Clothing Company for a few years now. He is heavily influenced by artists like Robert Hernandez and Victor Portugal. These influences come out in his art work through both the realistic art technique and surreal and horror element in the subject matter of his works. Carlos also draws inspiration from artists like Nikko Hurtado and Jeff Gogue, and even though he does not work with colour, he admires their skill.

The only advice Carlos has for someone to consider before they decide to get a tattoo is, to “think long-term.” Good advice, indeed, but then again, with a man of his skill inking your hide, it would hardly be a difficult choice.


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