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What makes someone a verified tattoo legend? Well, there isn’t a rulebook, but if there was, Mattia ‘Mambo’ Calvi probably wrote it. From inking in Italy to worldwide fame and the creation of his own style, Mambo has reached the peaks of what it means to be a renowned tattoo artist.

Understanding what makes his style so unique can help artists looking to hone their own craft, ​and give some framework to those looking for some Mambo inspiration.

His influence, style, and work are unmistakable in the industry… and he’s not done yet.


Who is Mattia ‘Mambo’


Mattia, better known by his artist’s name, ‘Mambo,’ is an Italian tattoo artist from a small town near Milan, Italy. But to stop there would be a travesty.

Mambo is one of those rare artists whose art is so good that it just can’t stay there any longer. Essentially, his work has expanded from just tattoo work into the world of screenprint, graphic design, and massive press pieces. Simply put, this guy is in demand.

With that sort of spread, it makes sense that he’s nearing a million Instagram followers. But what started his trajectory? You don’t get this kind of attention from being a nice guy (although, to be clear, he is literally known for that). At the core of it, Mambo is known for creating a brand-new tattoo style.

It’s called Destrutturato.

The Destrutturato Style (Creation Through Deconstruction)

Destrutturato isn’t an English word, it’s Italian. Generally, it’s translated as “deconstructed” or “destructured,” and both terms make sense when you get a look at Mambo’s style.

The Destrutturato style encompasses a few key things that help to make is so incredibly unique. First, it’s, well, deconstructed. This is maybe the most important aspect of the pieces, even though you don’t notice it right when you look at them (the colors tend to catch your eye first).

Instead of making traditionally cohesive pieces that abide by artistic rules (things like drawing inside the lines), Mambo’s work takes an image and breaks it into its core elements, then separates them out. This often looks like picking a few primary colors and inking them incorrectly over bold, chunky lines. The effect is almost like a layered shadow, with the colors being “off center” from where they should be. As an added bonus, he’ll usually add the colors used in the piece as a dotted palette underneath the piece, almost like it’s a Photoshop palette.

Altogether, his style is characterized by breaking art into its core structures and is known for simplistic splashes of vibrant color, “misplaced” lines, and a dreamlike surrealism that dips into digital design inspo.


How Destrutturato Was Born

The origin story of Destrutturato is listed on his website, but he definitely makes it sound simpler than it probably was:

“There has never been a real search behind this new style. It was born ​​causally from a design I had made. The drawing in question was an ice cream that I had to prepare for a girl. I improvised and, luckily, she loved it; so I tattooed it. The tattoo was successful right from the start. In fact, I received many requests for other tattoos in this particular style, which gradually became my tattoo style.” - Mambo Tattooer

Essentially, a girl came into his studio and asked for an ice cream cone piece, and he decided to take some inspiration from a new style he had been workshopping. She loved it, her friends loved it, and then the world loved it.

Under it all, though, it’s important to remember that this wasn’t an on-the-fly thing. He had been workshopping ideas around this for a while. How does the saying go? Something about “success” being where luck intersects with hard work? Well, Mambo likes to upsell the “luck” aspect, but we all know the hours spent workshopping ideas.


Inspired by Legacy—Crafted With Intent

There is a HUGE well of inspiration to draw from when you look at Mattia Mambo’s work. His style opened up avenues to pull from digital design, deconstructed color palettes, and intentionally NOT following the rules.

Every artist out there should try to pull a little from the principles that Mambo is known for; there’s no shame in that.

Part of what makes his work so incredible is the vibrancy and simplicity of his colors. Now, it’s possible to get those masterful colors in a set literally created by my Mambo himself.

The Mambo Destrutturato Family set is about breaking rules, but sticking with your legacy. To ink like Mambo, you need to deconstruct your expectations; we’ll take care of deconstructing your ink.

Eight inks designed with inky deconstruction in mind. It’s time to ink outside the lines.

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