Henry Anglas was just a child when his passion for drawing began to shine. A paper and a pencil were enough for his imagination to fly through the lines that, over the years, took on more and more life. This is how his days flowed until he reached his adolescence, when he found him involved in the creation of meticulous and impressive portraits.
He had not yet turned 18, when a belief invaded his thoughts: with his drawings he would rise, but in his country, Peru, he could not fly. There, in his beloved homeland, there seemed to be no doors that would lead him to a promising future as an artist.
It was thus that the young man thought of his mother, that brave woman who four years before had bid him farewell with tears when leaving for Argentina, with the intention of finding a job that would allow her to help her family. “Argentina”, Herny thought, with the illusion that perhaps his fulfilled dreams and a good future lived there.
“My friends did not understand anything, because I went without a plan, I was barely 18 years old and many doubts in my head, but my mother always gave me a lot of hope and I thank her, because she was the person who alone undertook a path that she forged over the years and with hard work”, she says proudly. “The trip to Argentina was a necessity; professionally, I was not in my country of origin”.
Suddenly, new shapes began to appear on the horizon. Since childhood, Henry dreamed of seeing the world and the first step had been presented to him. He will never forget that plane trip, he felt that he did not know where he was going and was excited to finally discover something new: “Excitement to discover cultures, places and people; excitement to get out of my comfort zone. The idea was to go only for a visit but I liked it so much that in the end I made the decision to stay”he confesses with a smile.
The beginnings were strange, as in everything starting over. Buenos Aires emerged huge and effervescent, and soon Henry discovered all the dimensions of a city full of artistic expressionsboth on its surface and in the underworld of the galleries and the many neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.
In his family, Henry was not the only one who had the gift of drawing. His brother, three years older, had similar abilities that, one day, he began to turn on. the art of perpetuating an image on the skin, a legacy that, in his new land, Argentina, Henry decided would become a lifestyle: “My brother, Frank, was the one who inspired me and gave me the tools to start.”
However, tattooing, creating an indelible image, involved responsibility without margin for error, Henry knew, and competition in “the city of fury” was tough. Between alternative jobs, the first years in Argentina became times of trial and error, in order to achieve his dream of becoming a tattoo artist: “There are so many doubts that you have that, if you do it wrong, it is like committing malpractice: the skin suffers. The tattooist has to overcome those fears. It is normal to feel that pressure because the margin of error is nil”.
To practice, Henry decided to give his work away to people in need. He chose to go to a village and give tattoos to people who not only had no problems, but used to get home tattoos and were excited about the possibility of looking something better: “I practiced and gained experience,” he explains.
At first, the idea of tattooing in poor neighborhoods generated a lot of fear. And so, wrapped in fear, Henry arrived at Villa 31 and, some time later, at the Ricciardelli neighborhood (Villa 1-11-14); he entered scared, without knowing what the codes of those places were or how they would receive him. The doubts, in turn, were increased by the darkness: the young Peruvian worked in a car wash from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., so he had to come at night.
“They have always accepted me with the best attitude, and after going several times they received me very well and even began to recommend me among their acquaintances, even though I was an apprentice. That way it was easier to reach more people.”
“It was what I needed as I had to put into practice the basic knowledge I had about tattooing. To get closer, I showed them my pencil drawings and the portraits that I had done so far, then I told them that I was learning to tattoo and that I wanted to make portraits, In addition, I put all the necessary implements, such as ink, needles, etc. At that time I practiced a lot of realism and shadows, it was what most caught my attention”.
Finally, at the age of 23, Henry decided that he was going to be exclusively a tattoo artist and opted for a very particular path: realism, an extremely demanding style which led him to educate himself in seminars and through the observation of colleagues he admired.
“To achieve the feeling that photography is conveying requires a lot of practice. In illustration there is not something more difficult or easier, but it is very technical. The difficult thing is to stay inspired, fresh, with that passion that we are going to dedicate to that work, And for that I have several things that I do: I go to museums, I buy books, I paint, I get together with artists and exchange opinions, I go to conventions to compete. That nourishes a lot. You watch people and learn from those who won. The personal demand, the passion that you dedicate to it have a lot to do with it. I get feedback from my own colleagues and artists. It is a healthy and demanding competition”, she reflects.
Argentina, finally, had turned his dream into reality. After years of effort, Henry garnered an important portfolio of clients, not only in his adoptive country, but in the world, that world that, since he was a child, he dreamed of knowing: “Out of all the countries that I have known, Argentina always made me feel at home. Despite knowing many cultures, today I do not know where to be better than in this country. Argentina has that perfect fusion between Europe and the Latin, here they are very friendly, always with a hug, they show their affection. It is there where they make you feel at home, for me people are something very impressive because they are the ones we seek to connect with”.
“I have been giving seminars for seven years in order to share my experience so that it does not cost others as much as it does for me”, continues Henry, who published his book Anyone Can Tattoo, in which he pours all his experience and tells the secrets of his art. “It is for tattoo artists who want to learn everything about this style of realism, this book is like a bottle thrown into the sea that will reach the person who needs it most when it has to arrive.”
Today, Henry proudly remembers that dreamy boy he once was and who was encouraged to follow in his mother’s footsteps to an unknown country. Many years have passed since his time in Peru, where a pencil and paper were enough to transport him. For the Peruvian artist, we must never lower our arms in pursuit of living from our passions. And, for him, Argentina was undoubtedly his blank canvas, accompanied by colors and tools at his disposal to see him grow.
“And Argentina is a place where they like and support artists. From the first moment they have always supported me, and that is what gives you the strength to push yourself to improve daily. In every job I do I always dedicate 100% to make it an eternal bond. By tattooing one person per day I dedicate all my energy to it and this is because in this country I always feel inspired. If you are good in Argentina, you can be anywhere in the world”, says Henry, who throughout his career has traveled throughout Latin America and much of Europe, and has earned recognition, accompanied by countless national and international awards.
“I really feel that I learn from the Argentine culture; It teaches me to make a constant effort, and to nurture myself whether it’s at a barbecue or a meeting with tattoo artists. I am a person with few friends but the ones I have are worth a lot because they made me feel welcome and taught me everything about this beautiful country. I know that Argentina is not going through a good time, but even so I choose to live here and I choose it as my home”, concludes.
Unexpected Argentina is a section that proposes delving into the motives and feelings of those foreigners who chose Argentine soil to live. If you want to share your experience you can write to [email protected] This email does NOT provide tourist, labor, or consular information; It is received by the author of the note, not the protagonists. The testimonies narrated for this section are life chronicles that reflect personal perceptions.