KALUF

My name is Andrea Caldari and I was born in 1971 in Vigevano, an ancient town around 30 km from Milan. I am also known as Kaluf, a nickname I picked up during my teenage years. Although the name has nothing to do with tattooing, I acquired the nickname at the same time I first approached the art.

As an adolescent in Italy at the end of the 1980s, I grew up at a time when tattooed people were frowned upon and not easily accepted. Seen as belonging to a subculture surrounded by distrust, tattooed people were inevitably connected to lowlifes with all related nuances. By the time I was almost of age, a few unrelated but crucial incidents led me to become a part of a small circle of loyal, almost devout, fans of the tattoo as a ritual. In this circle the tattoo was seen as a mark of one’s entrance into the world but of someone who wants to be outside rather than inside.

Then, in 1989 during a trip to the UK, I was struck by the image of a priest I saw on the London subway. Sitting across from me reading the Bible, he had a black and white tattoo on his forearm. A few months later, I accompanied Igor, an old friend of mine, to a tattoo appointment where I met Gian Maurizio Fercioni, a tattooer, friend, and teacher from and with whom I have learned, worked, and received some of the most important and beautiful tattoos of my life.

I got my first tattoo in Amsterdam in 1990 from Henk Schiffmacher, aka “Hanky Panky.” Soon thereafter I got another one, this time from G.M. Fercioni, then one from Bugs of “Evil From the Needle,” and so on and so forth, on another trip, a new adventure, a new page inscribed on the skin.

In 1994 I decided to give it a try, and after building a rudimentary tattoo machine, I etched a few small tattoos on a few friends. Self-taught as well as with the valuable suggestions gleaned from other tattooers, I thus began to transfer to others what had been engraved upon me.  From then until 2000, I tattooed from home. It took me years to decide to open a proper tattoo studio. Meeting Giorgio Rabbachin, aka Gun, was crucial, and in 2002 we opened the “Pure Morning Tattoo.” Over time, I realized that as a lover of traditions, the traditional/old school method in all its forms is the one I prefer and choose. To this day, the studio is active and has grown. Over the course of the years, we have met many talented tattooers and precious friends who share the love for this craft that combines artists and craftspeople. Kubo is without a doubt one of these and I can only thank him for having asked us to participate in his project and for being a witness and advocate of the tradition and culture of tattoos.

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