Brian Ferraiolo: “Art Kept Pulling Me Back In.”

DH: Let’s start at the beginning. I met you for the first time when you were apprenticing at our shop. What was your backstory before that?

BF: I had just graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was working for a private construction company when we first met. Before that, art had always taken priority over everything else all throughout my life. I would constantly doodle on anything I could find. I also did a lot of 3D art across different media from alabaster sculptures and resin molds to metal work.

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

DH: You didn’t see art as a career? Or maybe didn’t know how to turn it into a career?

BF: Art was sort of my own personal thing that few people knew about. I was more interested in the creating aspect then I was into developing a career.

DH: Creating the aspect? Like bringing art projects to life but not seeing that as a career?

BF: That’s exactly how I viewed it. While art was constantly on my mind, I was and still am really into animals, especially wildlife. My ultimate goal is to own and run a wildlife sanctuary. At the time I felt like pursuing animal behavior via the Psychology field. So, I was focused on that for a time.

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

DH: When you first apprenticed, were you thinking you’d try this out and see where it goes or were you determined to make this was your new career?

BF: By the time I had tested the waters with a few different options, art kept pulling me back in. I fully believed a career in art was exactly what I was looking for when I started my apprenticeship, I was all in. Totally committed to building a career as a tattoo artist.

DH: You initially think that if you went with art, it might be in a different medium? Like illustration or sculpture?

BF: I could always draw, but yes, initially I preferred the physical presentation of three-dimensional art over the two-dimensional version.

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

DH: What changed your mind?

BF: Tattooing really opened a door to everything in one for me. A lot of the tattoos I do tend to have three dimensional elements, mostly through shading and the emphasis of a person’s anatomy. I currently use mostly coil machines, which is right up my alley as far as having experience in metal work.

DH: Did you go into tattooing determined to express one style or were you pretty open to where the medium would take you?

BF: Originally, I thought I would be into neo-traditional tattoos, since my natural drawing style seemed very close to that format. However, the more I become immersed into tattooing the more interested I become with mastering both color and black and grey realism. I’m still very green to this industry and try to keep an open mind with everything that comes my way, so who knows. In a few years I may be obsessed with American traditional style.

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

DH: Do you have specific tattoo artists you look up to and emulate?

BF: Chris Ragoni, Yogi Barrett, Llya Fominyh, Bert Krak, Thomas Carli Jarlier… there’s plenty more, but those come to mind.

DH: That’s a rather diverse array. Are you thinking of doing a Yogi Barrett mix of realistic and traditional elements?

BF: Yes! I have tried merging different tattoo styles and would definitely like to continue.

DH: Is there any piece you are currently excited to do?

BF: I am currently working on a Lady of Guadalupe back piece that incorporates both American traditional and black and grey realism. I’m very excited to finish it.

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

DH: Is the piece all black and grey or part color?

BF: All black and grey including the traditional portion.

DH: Do you prefer black and grey over color?

BF: It’s a tug-o-war between the two. I feel like sometimes it’s situational to the piece. Currently I am more into color realism than black and grey. I am only four years in as of today. As I said I am still learning every day, so I’m very grateful to feel capable in both tattoo styles.

DH: Do you feel you have a better grasp of one style over another?

Brian Ferraiolo Tattoo

BF: I have been doing black and grey for longer, so I’d say I have a better grasp on that.

DH: Do you have anything you want to do going forward?

BF: I plan to do as many tattoo conventions and guest spots as possible. I feel like there’s so much left to learn and I really like to travel, so it’s the perfect combo.

DH: Ok, thanks for doing this, how can people see your work and get ahold of you?

BF: My Instagram is ferraiolobrian my TikTok is @bmftattoo and I work at The Abyss Fine Art & Tattoo Studio in Long Beach, NY.

DH: Thanks Brian. I’ll see you at the shop!