Albatross Introduces …

DIEGO – A Self Taught Artist and Tattooer

On a sleepy ‘it’s illegal to tattoo’ day, I go hang with one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in the Tattoo Industry. Diego and I have something in common, we’re both self taught Artists and Tattooers, here’s what that conversation looks like …

I miss hurting people, don’t you?
Diego agrees as his expression floods with melancholy. “I do”… there’s a pause as we both soak in that sentiment. Reminiscing the magical pain tours we were privileged to take our clients on, each with a happy ending only a dedicated Tattoo Collector could appreciate.

What have you been up to during ‘Lockdown” Diego?
D) Painting on Pizza Boxes! A) Wow really! D) Yeah, do you like Pizza? A) Totally… Vegetarian with pineapple and ham on top. What’s in your pizza box? D) Blanka from Street Fighter 2. (check it out in the video interview on my YouTube channel Jungle Ink Tattoo). Yeah my friend Aleks Punk had this idea coz we all finish Tattooing late, grab pizza so, there’s a few of us doing it. He’s such an awesome Dude. A) I love your animals! I dig this one, is this your dog? D) yeah she is, she’s my baby, look in her eyes, you can see the TV’s on in the room. A) that’s crazy, I can see you in her eyes too, I wonder how our world looks to them, do you ever look into a fly’s eyes and wonder that? D) smiles.
I clack across the tiled floor to his easel and watch him meticulously detailing an eyeball he just dropped into the forehead of a skull that has a mass of tentacles writhing down from its top jaw. I imagine that translated into skin tentacles splaying and contorting around a calf muscle.

How do you find Painting crosses over into Tattooing?
D) It’s like going to the Gym, you exercise your mind with you Art and your tattoo skills get stronger, get better.
Then you can understand the composition, the light and dark, understand tonal values, the structure of the piece, it’s an important foundation to build for your tattooing.
A) yeah for sure, you can see when a Tattooer has a background in Art. That should be developed before touching skin if you really want to excel I reckon.

How did you get into Art?
D) I was a young kid doing graffiti for money then one day this dude really liked what I did for him and he said he’d teach me how to use a Tattoo machine that’s how I got started.
A) that’s a cool story Diego … we exchange smiles and keep painting.

Diego is one of my most favourite Tattooers of Realism in the South East Queensland area, the Goldie is fortunate to have inherited Diego from Brazil. He’s been Tattooing for 13 years now, owns two wicked shops, one on the Gold Coast, one in Melbourne, SOUTHSIDE CUSTOM INK – you can view Diego’s work on Instagram @diegomickeytattoo

If you would like to nominate an Artist of any discipline that you’d like me to cover, shoot me an email: ​ Stay chill!


Here’s one of my Portrait Tattoos, waiting for his second session but still looking wicked even after a single hit.
Stay Chill, Albatross

DIEGO - Dog Painting
DIEGO – Dog Painting

If you’d like to request a topic be covered or for further information related to my column The Art Escape you can contact me by email: and find me on Instagram @jungleinktattoo