Exclusive Interview with Fernando Unda, Micro Tattoo Pioneer


( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Los Angeles-based Tattoo Artist Fernando Unda is Innovating with Micro Tattoos

ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson

Fernando Morales Unda is a visionary tattoo artist, who helped to pioneer the recently popularized micro tattoo style. Micro tattoos can be as small as one inch in diameter but simultaneously are often more detailed than much larger tattoos. Though some in the tattoo industry consider them only a trend, micro tattoos are both a way for artists to show their skill and for customers to get gorgeous designs that can go anywhere on the body. Fernando’s tattoos are exemplary, stunningly intricate, and creative. His style combines hyperrealism with elements of religion, cosmology, and ancient art. 

Despite his incredible talent, Fernando was not always sure that his path lay in artistry. Pressures to conform to capitalist society drove him to pursue a career in finance and politics; however, as any artist can attest, a life like that can be stifling. From tattooing anyone for free to working with Ganga Tattoo in LA, Fernando has proven that his true path was art. At ENSPIRE, we spoke with Fernando about his inspirations and his journey to being a professional tattoo artist. 

When you were younger, were there any other artistic avenues that you thought you might end up working in?

I was doing sculpture and drawing constantly; I’ve always been keen on the arts.

You’ve showcased your art around the world. Are there any specific memories you made in your travels that have influenced your art?

All my travels have brought new artistic development. I would say traveling is one of the things that can expand your mind and make you more aware of how little we are, and how much art can impact the world.

What drew you to micro-tattoos specifically?

When I first saw them, I got attracted to the style since I was like, “How in the hell is this even possible?” I decided to try for myself and it was like learning the craft all over again. I’d say it is more difficult and it actually takes more time to create a small piece since you don’t have room to play with and you need to be perfect in every move.

Would it be possible to go into detail on the specific aspects that you have taken inspiration from the artists that you look up to? For example, Basquiat or Takashi Murakami.

These artists have brought to the world emotional aspects and critiques to society. I would say that’s the most important influence that artists can give to the world.

Did any aspects of your personal life inspire your style and the elements of religion and cosmology that you draw from visually?

I always have felt attracted to the philosophical aspect of religion and how the universe conspires with your path. This is why I include some of these symbols and aspects in my creations and compositions.

Fernando’s art style of tattooing and master of the micro-tattoo style is proof that tattoos should be considered an art form alongside paintings and sculptures. The amount of minute detail necessary for the style, on a living canvas no less, exemplify skill and dexterity. The inspired subjects of the art show a passion for the craft as well. Fernando is currently booking in Los Angeles, independently and with Ganga Tattoo Studio and Academy.

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