I Was born the 17/03/1976 in Venice my father Ugo Freguja was a sailor and my mother Natividad Nogueras Franco was a charwoman. I grew up in a small fisherman’s village called Alberoni in the end of Lido island in Venice. At the age of 14 my family moved to Mestre the suburb of Venice where I’ve started tattooing at the age of 17.
As a child I was drawing daily, when We moved to Mestre, I become a graffiti pioneer of my city. I’ve studied the primary school in a catholic institute, where I grew my anarchist, atheist and anticlerical beliefs. I was skateboarding, listening to punk , painting graffiti on walls and trains, but tattooing was always in my mind because of my father, he was tattooed from his sailor’s days in India; when he explained me how they tattooed him, I grab needles and china ink and marked five dots on my forearm….
I was 6/7 years old, since then, I was always looking for informations on the matter, but of course nothing was easy to find back in the days.
The tattoos I was seeing around me came from the local jailhouse, and that was scary people to talk with when you are a boy, I didn’t care, I’ve just asked, and some of them answered, telling me how to build a tattoo machine with a Walkman motor, a Bic pen and a shirt button.
That was my first machine, I’ve tattooed a skull on my left ankle and add some more stuff to try the new techniques I was learning…. I was tattooing some friends and even if I was a teen ager, local bad boys was calling me on the streets and asking me for tattoos and cover ups….
One day a friend coming back from England bring back an address where I was able to order proper equipment. So I’ve sold all my little belongings, records and skateboard stuff, and with the money I’ve collected, I’ve placed an order at the so called “tattoo factory”.
So I’ve sold all my little belongings, records and skateboard stuff, and with the money I’ve collected, I’ve placed an order at the so called “tattoo factory”.
After 3months(!) I got my parcel containing my first coil machine, grips needles and needle bars, everything looks so amazing to me, but nothing was working, I need to build the needles, tune the machine that was practically unbuilt, the whole process took me months to find out how to do it, but in the end here I am tattooing daily since 1993. Tattooing was quite “primitive” in the early nineties in Italy, there was few shops (probably a dozen in the whole country), of course nobody was telling you nothing, clients was looking for small , easy to hide tattoos.
Japanese style bodysuit tattooing was my “wet dream” as a teenager, since I’ve seen the book Ransho by Masato Sudo, that I still consider one of the fundamental tattoo books. In 1997 I’ve opened my own shop Adrenalink
in Venice Marghera, during the same year I’ve met my wife Manekistefy, she helped me so much that she became my business partner as well as my wife , in 2001 she became my first apprentice and she’s now tattooing daily since 2004 she is a great tattooer with a very personal style, I’m very proud of her, you can’t become master of the craft without students.
For the first 10 years I’ve tattooed all sort of stuff, from dolphins to tribals, celtic whatever people asked, I was slowly developing my style in classic traditional tattoos, in that period nobody was looking for that kind of tattoos , that was the time of fine line black and grey, biomechanics , the Leo Zulueta’s tribals or the super colored new schools that was very handy to me coming from the graffiti.
Traditional tattooing gave me the base to work on my japanese classic Horimono. Japanese imagery always fascinated me as I was a karate kid, but to find informations on subjects was impossible, so I’ve decided to buy a ticket and fly to Japan visiting colleagues in they’re own private studios. That trip changed my life, I’ve had the chance to be there and put my hand on all the informations I was looking for, since 2003 I’m going back to Japan every year and I’m tattooing in Japanese classic style only.
Europe was “hostile” for me at that time, tattooing was growing big, I have few friends tattooers and all the rest was a biker based tattoo scene, if you were a self made tattooer like me, it was very hard to be “part of the club”, I was feeling frustrated, it was affecting my creativity, so I’ve chosen isolation, no more tattoo magazines, no more tattoo conventions, be myself no matter what.
The only people that loved my tattooing back then was in Japan, and I’m still very thankful with all of them, Ryu family, Fukuoka Horigen, Yokosuka Horihide, the Cat Claw Crew.
I have re-learned tattooing in this ten years, I’ve met the most talented tattooers and shared with them techniques ideas and built some nice projects. When I came back to Italy, I almost felt like a fish out of water, the references of my colleagues here were completely different, and I didn’t mind that at all.
In the last decade, much more people show interest for Japanese classic tattooing, therefore my popularity has grown, I’ve built a solid clientele in my country and I’m very thankful to everyone that gave me a part of their body. I continued to paint during these years and exhibited my work in a couple of solo exhibitions in
Düsseldorf, New York, Roma. I have lectured on Japanese tattooing at the State University of Milan, at Ca Foscari in Venice and at various tattoo conventions in Italy.