By Timothy Baldwin
When it comes to serious tattoo body suit collectors, there are those that have a precise plan of action with a certain artist or small group of artists and there are others that have an intention to get covered with tattoos from the best artists the tattoo community has to offer. Here enters Yall Quinones. For those that have met Yall at tattoo conventions inside and outside of the U.S. he most notably goes by Yallzee. And, if you haven’t met him personally I’m sure you took a good look at him and his near “complete” body suit.
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Yallzee was kind enough – and even excited – to answer some questions I put together. It was a pleasure to correspond with Yallzee throughout this process and as you will see with his responses he is truly dedicated to getting tattooed and the community as a whole. No need to approach him with caution at conventions, Yallzee is always enthusiastic to talk tattoos. Who knows, this die-hard may even inspire you to take the plunge into body suit territory. If not, he will surely point you in the right direction to your next quality tattoo.
TB: What is your occupation?
Y: I work for a government corporation in Puerto Rico, I am also a music producer.
TB: Where do you live?
Y: I live in San Juan Puerto Rico
TB: At what age did you get your first tattoo?
Y: I can’t remember the exact age, but I think it was about 14-15 years ago when I was 23-24 years old.
Y: My first tattoo was my street art, music and alias graffiti tag “YALLZEE”. No, I did not plan on getting more, maybe one or two later but not really. Haha
TB: Do you still have your first tattoo?
Y: Yes, I still have the tag! I just got it touched up few years ago.
TB: When did you start getting serious about collecting quality tattoos?
Y: I remember at first I did not like tattoos, because I mostly saw those scratcher, badly done and poorly placed tattoos on people, I also had knowledge of art so I knew that was bad! Haha. So, after I started looking at so many great tattoos coming in good magazines, and over the internet, then I started craving for some of that, but by that time I had no idea on how to start, how to connect with those dudes I remember seeing in magazines and then on MySpace, haha. Then when I started going to conventions was when I saw this more possible, also sending some emails, and going where I had to go to get what I wanted.
TB: What made you want to get that first tattoo? Is it the same reason or does it have the same appeal now that you have accumulated an extensive collection?
Y: It was important to me I guess, because it was done in a time I was starting to get known in the music and I was hungry! Haha.
TB: Was there a “breaking point” in which you decided to tattoo the parts of your body that couldn’t be covered up (i.e. hands, neck, head, face)? Or was it a natural progression as your canvas started filling up?
Y: At first I said I would not tattoo hands or neck, but mostly because society… then I realized that if that’s what I wanted and would make me happy… The more I traveled and the more people I met around my journey the more passionate I was becoming. I had to take some risks to feel in total control of my life pursuing my passion and commitment to this art form. So many amazing artists and collectors made me fall in love with this community! Once I decided to become a committed collector, many things looked a lot clearer. I did not had to find excuses for tattoos, like meanings etc haha I was a collector and I JUST WANTED TO GET ART BY THAT ARTISTS PERIOD! Haha.
Y: No, I was old enough and determined not to care about others opinions I guess. Haha.
TB: What attracts you to the style of tattoos on your body?
Y: Is crazy because have always been into dark art, and black and grey tattoos. At first only that style, but right now I have learned so much about many other styles that I can definitely say I do not have a preferred style. I really and honestly enjoy and love all other styles; I wish I had more bodies to get more work by so many amazing artists.
TB: How does your current appearance have an effect on your daily life – if at all (i.e. socially, at work, etc.)?
Y: I have to say it has affected positively, not only because I feel happy with myself being modified, and this journey has gotten me into the best days of my life and into so great friends from all across the globe, but it makes me work harder and that is good, most of us have to give 200% for general public people to see 70-80%. But that makes me feel good on a personal level… you know… knowing I’m giving more of myself…
TB: It seems like you mostly travel to get tattooed, do you go to a lot of conventions? If so, what are some of your favorite tattoo conventions to attend?
Y: Yeah, I love conventions! Mainly because I get to meet up with my friends and have a good time while there, Tattoo community is really amazing, a lot of respect between artists and collectors even on contests and that’s something you don’t get to see very often in other Industries! Well I have not been to every convention but my favorites from the ones I’ve been must say are Hell City, Best in the Midwest, London Convention, I liked Vegas BTSOE, United Ink(Long Island, NY) was very nice on their 1st year and St Louis Old School Expo might be a small one but definitely one of my favorites! Great people! Then there are the ones I haven’t been to but I definitely HAVE to Go, like Asheville Convention, Paradise Gathering, King of Tattoo (Japan), Chaudesaigues France Convention…
Y: Well, I have always done Dry Healing until the tattoo is all cracked and started to peel just then I use fragrance free lotion (Aveno, or Curel)
I would never recommend petroleum based products , but I have tried Redemption(AfterLife) and Hustle Butter for healing and for anyone who is scared to leave the tattoo heal dry then that works a lot better than petroleum stuff ! Or, the wrapped method (wash every 3/4 hours and rewrapped for 4/5 days) I used for my foots worked fine.
TB: Being that you are getting close to being completely covered, what are your plans when you run out of canvas?
Y: The truth is I feel good to be almost completely covered, I am currently already going through some older work to get it reworked, mostly by James Kern and Tim Kern, and it all feels like a new tattoo… there is always improvement that could be done, I’m sure most of the artists would always love to go back for another pass on their work! I also enjoy taking a look at what other collectors get! I enjoy living the whole process even when sometimes I do it from outside the chair! Haha.