An Interview with Tattoo Artist Aaron Della Vedova
Posted on July 12 2013
Tat2X: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Aaron Della Vedova: I’ve been tattooing for 20 years now.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Aaron Della Vedova: After high school I joined the Coast Guard mainly because I was getting into a bit of trouble and thought i needed to get out of my home town for a while to gain a bit of perspective. I had been drawing since I was a kid and continued to draw and create while I was serving. As my time to get out approached I thought I would move on to art school and possibly take my stab at being an illustrator. I actually decided to become a Book illustrator for a while and it made me some good money. I did a few books and graphic novels but I had gotten some tattoos while I was in the service and the thought of becoming a tattooer kept nagging at me. The more I thought about it pursuing tattooing just felt right so I decided to give it a go.
Tat2X: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Aaron Della Vedova: I had 3 apprenticeships actually, haha! Back then it was pretty tough to find anyone to teach a person and it was easy to fall into less than savory situations as I learned the hard way. Long story short I first apprenticed under this guy that basically charged me 2000 dollars and then gave me the boot. Total scam. Then I got in with another shop who’s owner was an old biker guy that tried to “own” me. Not a good situation. I finally landed with a guy up in Portland who studied under Henry Goldfield. The apprenticeship/job was still pretty shady in many ways but he did teach me a proper traditional approach to tattooing, machine building and needle making. In the end it was a good experience and after a year with him and the other 2 apprenticeships i was able to go out and start looking of work.
Tat2X: Are there any artists tattoo or otherwise that you admire?
Aaron Della Vedova: I looked up to learned a lot in the early years by working with Juan Puente, Randy Janson, Bill Conales and Fip Buccannon. Later on I became very interested in the work of Shige, Yushi, Adrian Lee, Lou’s Lips, Eric Cooper, Adam Hathorn, Nate Banuelos and Tim Hendricks just to name a few. I also love the artwork and paintings of Johnathan Weiner, Joe Sorren, Phil Hale, Salvador Dali and Vladimir Kush.
Tat2X: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Aaron Della Vedova: Not really. I tend to be pretty loose as to where I derive inspiration. I don’t like one single approach or individual’s approach so over the years I’ve simple picked up the bits that seem to fit and am still collecting.
Tat2X: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Aaron Della Vedova: It’s funny because in the early years I didn’t meet many people that interested me. Mostly I was in it because I loved creating art. However over the years I have been lucky enough to attract a great clientele and also the guys I get to work with. I guess now I’d have to say my favorite part of the job is the people I meet. A lot of them are my best friends today. I think that it’s pretty cool to be able to work in a trade that extends itself into my personal life in such a positive way.
Tat2X: How would you describe your style?
Aaron Della Vedova: I have always had a problem defining my style. I like to hear every idea and decide case by case whether or not I think I could make it into a great tattoo. I’m looking for creativity from clients that resonates with my own. So… in that fashion I end up doing a variety of style and genres. I like it that way… it keeps me interested. I thrive on variety and change.
Tat2X: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you’ve ever had?
Aaron Della Vedova: I had a guy once who wanted me to tattoo some diary he found word for word all over his back. It wasn’t even his own diary. He was a strange one… needless to say I declined.
Tat2X: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Aaron Della Vedova: To me it’s pretty simple. Care. Care about the art you create, put everything you have into each piece. And sincerely care about the person you are working with. It’s an intimate thing and people want to feel that you have a true interest in doing them right. It comes through without words. They can feel it. I’ve noticed over the years that tattoo artists who do this have very productive and prolific careers.
Tat2X: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Aaron Della Vedova: For me it’s all about variety. I need something different each day. One style too long wears on me. Everything from solo piano, hip hop, dub step, country, rock etc. However I do tend to gravitate to classic rock the most. It’s what I grew up on and so it always make me feel good.
Tat2X: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Aaron Della Vedova: I love to ride bicycles and surf and do yoga. But mostly I am a family man. I have a beautiful wife Holly and two amazing daughters, Ava 7 years old and Harper 2 1/2. So when Im not tattooing you will usually find me spending my time at home and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tat2X: Is there anything else we should know about you or your studio?
Aaron Della Vedova: I work out of and own Guru Tattoo, www.gurutattoo.com. We have eleven of the most amazing artists you are going to find in southern California there. The shop is like no other. We pride ourselves on a super friendly, caring environment with the highest standards of professionalism. The name Guru is my way of paying respect to the Guru as an archetype. For it is to the Gurus of the world that we owe for all great wisdom. For me seeking out and learning about wisdom teachings is a major focal point in my life and I wanted a tattoo shop that conveyed that vibe. I am so lucky to have been blessed with my own business that has grown so fast and allowed me to work with some of the finest people and tattooers I have ever known. We truly are a family there and it shows.
About Tattoo Artist Aaron Della Vedova:
You can see more of Aaron’s amazing work by visiting Aaron’s Facebook Page as well as Guru Tattoo. Aaron has been tattooing for over 20 years and Guru Tattoo is located in San Diego, California.