Barcelona is known for its beaches, tapas, and imaginative architecture, but it is also becoming increasingly known as a destination for tattoos. Thanks, in part, to LTW, an avant-garde tattoo shop that was founded in 1996 (just four years after the Olympics transformed the city, and planners added, among other things, the beach that Barcelona is famous for today). Now, nearly 20 years later, LTW boasts 12 tattoo artists—Javier Rodriguez, Rodrigo DC, Jon Pall, Alexis, Cisco, Norte One, Jorge Ter'an, Manu, Emerson Ventura, Dennis, Rafa Decr'aneo and Rafa Serrano—and also hosts other artists from around the world.
“We are one of the oldest tattoo shops in the city and we focus on the customer,” says Marc Vidales of LTW. “We want to offer to our customers the best designs according to their needs. We hear what they want and we guide them into the styles and artists we have, especially if they are new customers and they are getting their first tattoo. The other fundamental thing in LTW is that we are a studio that is open for guest spots. We like to bring people from around the world to tattoo in LTW; we like to give to our customers the possibility to get tattoos from different people that we like.”
In this interview, the LTW teams talks more about streetwear, the shop’s connection to The Hundreds, tattoos, and their favorite things about Barcelona.
Tell me about your connections to The Hundreds?
Our connection with The Hundreds started around 2005, when Carlos, owner of LTW opened Trust Nobody Store in Barcelona. We were focused on bringing new streetwear brands to Barcelona. The store was a mix of sneakers, skate, and streetwear. Nowadays, it is nothing new, but in ’05 that was something really new.
We heard from The Hundreds, we checked the blog and we fell in love instantly with the brand. Then we placed our first order and started the relationship with them.
Twice a year we had the Bread & Butter tradeshow in Barcelona where a lot of brands came to the city. It was there when we met Bobby, Ben, and Scotty. Scotty also came by LTW to get a tattoo from Javier Rodr'iguez—a rose in the armpit. We had memorable nights during Bread & Butter.
We even did a collab with The Hundreds x LTW with a Javier Rodriguez design.
When did LTW open? Why?
Carlos opened LTW in 1996. At that time, he was a piercer and saw the opportunity to open one of the first tattoo studios in Barcelona. LTW has in been in business for almost 20 years and a lot of artists have worked here and learned with us like Tomas Garc'ia, Javier Rodr'iguez and Jondix... We also like to have guests from around the world, we like to give to our customers the opportunity to get tattoos from a lot of different artists and styles.
What makes your tattoo shop stand out from others in Barcelona?
First of all, we are one of the oldest ones in the city and we focus on the customer. We want to offer to our customers the best designs according to their needs. We hear what they want and we guide them into the styles and artists we have, especially if they are new customers and they are getting their first tattoo.
The other fundamental thing in LTW is that we are a studio that is open for guest spots. We like to bring people from around the world to tattoo in LTW; we like to give to our customers the possibility to get tattoos from different people that we like.
We are a big group of individuals in LTW and we like all sorts of things, and all this culture, like the graffiti or calligraphy, is present in our works.
What artists work there? Are they mostly from Barcelona? How would you describe their styles?
Now we have 12 artists working at LTW. All of them are specialized in different styles. Their names are Javier Rodriguez, Rodrigo DC, Jon Pall, Alexis, Cisco, Norte One, Jorge Ter'an, Manu, Emerson Ventura, Dennis, Rafa Decr'aneo, Rafa Serrano. To check the amazing works they do the best think you can do is to check the website.
Are you still involved in the streetwear scene or community? How so?
Streetwear is something that is present in our lifestyle. We are still connected with a company called Reversible where Carlos (owner) and Antonio Boixader (manager of the store) are partners. The company is in charge of Sneaker Freakers Spain and the marketing for brands like Lacoste L!ve and New Balance.
What are some of your five favorite places in Barcelona?
Restaurant: La bodega 1900. Owner Ferran Adri`a. Tapas with a twist.
Store: The New Balance store. One of the biggest ones in the world.
Beach: Barceloneta, next to the W Hotel.
Neighborhood: Sant Antoni.
Thing to do: Run with the LTW team every Thursday night. It’s a good way to know the city with a different point of view.