Tattoo Ideas

Mao: a life in tattooing and a life for tattooing

Everyone will miss him, because it was impossible not to notice his presence, so majestic and sunny. You could always be sure of a hug, a joke and an amusing and gentlemanly greeting. Meeting him at conventions you immediately felt at home.

Mao, Portrait by Zozios, @zozios
Mao, Portrait by Zozios, @zozios

Mao: a life in tattooing and a life for tattooing, on the road all the time, together with his brother friend Mic, travelling all over the world to catch up with a community with whom he had always shared interests, passions and values. Problems travelling distances between one place and another or fatigue were not part of his life vocabulary, which consisted instead of a trolley, a dinner between flights and the constant love for his family and wife and lifelong companion Cathy.

Mao, Portrait by Zozios, @zozios
Mao, Portrait by Zozios, @zozios

In an interview many years ago about his famous and now historic Mao & Cathy studio in Madrid, we asked him what his vision of a tattoo shop was. It is through his words that we want to say goodbye to him because we think that his personality, so altruistic, always open to lending a helping hand to young people and supporting the right aims of the tattoo world, could not be better expressed than by him.

Goodbye MAO we will miss your contagious laugh, your hugs and your jokes. Your unmistakable voice will always be with us.
Tattoo Life Team.

To me, tattooing is an art that has to be grown and developed. Felix Leu did that with me when I started, I owe much of what I know today to him. I do the same with young people, I always have new guys in the shop who come to me without knowing anything about tattooing. All I care about is that they know how to draw well and that they transmit their passion for tattooing to me. Technique can be learned, with time and patience, drawing can’t, and even less passion. Robert Hernandez, Phil Kyle, Lobo, Vincent and many others came out of my studio…

Mao
Mao

This is my vision of a tattoo shop: a place to follow the artistic growth of young talents until they are able to continue on their own feet. The name of the shop doesn’t have to be famous, I don’t care about any of that, but rather the artists who work there.

Mao
Mao

When I started tattooing it was a different story and nobody was giving you anything. If you wanted to work you had to learn how to live in the world before anything else. Back then I lived in a caravan and I used to do horrible tattoos with homemade machines basically. Felix started working in our club house in Lausanne and with him I took tattooing seriously too, I opened the very first Mao & Cathy in Lausanne and after less than a year I moved to Spain, opened a new studio in Rota, then a second studio in Cartaghena. While I was there I was asked to work for a couple of days at a biker party in Madrid. Since then I have been here, in this area on this street, Corradera Alta de San Pablo 6, Madrid“.

Mao
Mao

Ciao Mao mi hermano,
You taught me 30 years ago how to live free, and I will always remember all the great adventures we had together from NYC to San Francisco, from Ibiza to London. Till we come back to ride together my brother.
Miki Vialetto

Miki and Mao
Miki and Mao

Mao
I feel emptied, all cried out. My head is teeming with memories from all across the years, over thirty years of pure, altrusitic, brotherly friendship…what will I do without you, nobody can fill this void…your hands on my shoulder, your warm hug. Farewell brother Mao… brother Tongiola…
We’ll meet again, because one life isn’t enough for a friendship like ours…
Franco Cecconi

Mao with Franco Cecconi
Mao with Franco Cecconi

Today is a sad day, we lost a direct connection to everything that was cool, that was outlaw, that was real.  Our business will never be the same.  We lost a true legend, a true giant of a man.  But mostly we lost a sweetheart and a true friend.  Nic and I are grateful for the time we have spent with Mao in Paris, in Frankfurt and in Ibiza.  We will miss him dearly.
Marc Mahoney

Mao with Mark Mahoney
Mao with Mark Mahoney

It is with great sadness that we heard of Mao’s passing. When we arrived in Lausanne from India in 1981, he was kind, generous, and helpful to our family. It was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted through the years.
Tattooing has lost an important and influential figure. He will be missed.
Our love goes out to Cathy and his children.
The Leu Family

Mao with Filip Leu
Mao with Filip Leu

It’s more than difficult to summarize and write in a few words what someone means to you, especially in situations like this. Mao was like a father to me. Teacher, mentor and above all very close friend! How many unforgettable moments, trips, laughs, jokes. I remember well when l entered his shop for the first time in ’92 and my whole life changed from that moment. I will be in debt with you forever. I will miss You a lot Mao. See you on the other side. I love You
Robert Hernandez

I believe I met Mao at the first convention I ever attended, because I can’t remember a single convention I’ve been to without Mao being there. It was Zurich 1986. From that day to the last Paris convention, Mao was always there. He was the face of every single European convention but not only also a huge support, and always involved. An active member of the tattoo community, always nice with everyone and in a good mood. The tattoo world won’t be the same anymore without you… I love you Mao.
Tin Tin

In 1994 I met Mao for the first time, a person who has always been close to me without an ulterior motive, without asking for anything in return and who has always shown unconditional trust in me. Today I lose a friend and a brother. Thanks for everything my friend, we’ll see each other again
Simone El Rana

Mao with Simone El Rana
Mao with Simone El Rana

The post Mao: a life in tattooing and a life for tattooing appeared first on Tattoo Life.

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