A Brief history of IntenZe:
Before we get into my interview with Mario Barth, I would like to once again, summarize the story of IntenZe. If any readers want to do so. They can also go to IntenZe’s own website and read more about it, or look at my previous article about the company.
To put it briefly; at first Mario Barth, started out mixing his own ink in his home back in 1988. He did this because he was tired of what he saw as a lack of quality, lasting effect and variety in the inks, that were already on the market. However, it did not stop there. Only a few years after mixing his own inks at home, did he start IntenZe. Even though IntenZe, only became an official company and brand name in 2002. Mario has always strived to be number one, both when it comes to the quality of the ink, the variety of colors, as well as the hygiene and safety of the ink. A standard which he has kept throughout the years and which many would claim he still keeps up till this day.
What Mario and IntenZe Seeks to do:
I had the great honor of interviewing Mario Barth, about what his intentions and ambitions, and so on, is for IntenZe as a company. One thing that became very clear, is what ambitions lie behind the legendary tattoo (ink) brand. A desire to create more structure within the world of tattooing, it has been there overarching goal. Not just to stabilize the tattoo industry for the artists, but also for the clients, who receive the ink. Doing their part to make tattooing and tattoos a more accepted and less discriminated art-form.
However, another problem Mario wishes to confront and improve with IntenZe, is (as mentioned before), the lack of structure. Making tattooing a legitimate business, which it is not recognized as yet. Which goes into everything; the education, the safety, the hygiene, how shops are looking and the quality of the tattoos. He believes this lack of structure, is the root of all of the problems that face the tattoo industry.
It is also the reason why tattooing has still not been fully accepted, by the general public, as a legitimate art from and so on. It has however come a long way in the past 25 years and become a lot better.
The whole industry did an incredible job, to actually make it all work, but there is still a lot of work to do.
What does Intenze seek to do with their sponsorships?
When IntenZe started sponsoring artists, it did it a bit differently than other companies and it still has a different element to it, than others. The artists that are sponsored by IntenZe, can’t get a sponsorship by skill alone. They have to agree with IntenZe, to educate the industry and be mentors. To try to raise the standard of tattooing. They don’t just sponsor artist because they are great artists, they sponsor them because they have a great attitude and a great beliefs, in the overall achievement of bettering the industry.
Mario indeed believes that is what is misunderstood, by a lot of other companies that try to sponsor artists. They just sponsor artists, to have a good name on their team. However to Mario, it doesn’t matter what names you have on your team, if those artists are not going to assist you, in improving the tattoo industry.
You can easily look at an artist and think; “Oh he is a great artist, but he is not a great mentor”. So there is a difference in how IntenZe deals with this, it is a big rule for them. They even speak with the artists they sponsor and work together with them, in order to develop new stuff together. The artists are also always working to improve themselves on their own, working on new techniques. Also, very importantly, the artists are always willing when someone comes up and asks them a question, to be open and answer it.
What do sponsorships mean for the world of tattooing:
“That’s the biggest difference between our sponsorship, and what the root of the sponsorship really was…”. The ‘Never Fade’ campaign, being a great example. Which honored tattoo artists, who are seen as responsible for bringing tattooing through the rough era in the 40’s-60’s. An era where most clients of today, wouldn’t even have dared enter a tattoo shop, because of how they were back then.
So, that is really what IntenZe tries to do with its sponsorship. Mario believes it is really important for people to understand that. That it is massively valuable for the industry, how companies like IntenZe and great artists like the ones they sponsor, have worked to improve it.
Sponsorships, like the ones IntenZe are responsible for, means better artists, better structured education, more people that are willing to break the silence from the mid 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Where tattoo artists didn’t want to talk to each other. But there are still problems within the industry, where some people don’t want more structure or want the industry to grow as fast as it does. However, Mario sees it differently, loving the way the industry grows. He believes that the industry is finally on the way, to making things work.
What does it take to become an IntenZe artist?
To become an IntenZe artist today, as Mario explains it, you have to show Intenze pride. Which can be done through the same Instagram tag (put the hashtag in). Then Mario and his team together, pick who the next artist to be sponsored is. So it is intentionally not just Mario who picks, who gets to be sponsored.
“We wanted to create something, where people who really want to be part of this movement. Of education, of doing better work, doing better stuff and they really have to be competitive as well”.
So they wanted to do it in a way, where if they cannot stand out on the IntenZe pride stage on Instagram, then they will be the support team. But then if somebody stands out, and is then also capable of being a mentor and an educator. Being somebody who is ready to go out in the world and raise awareness, of bettering the industry and the educational asset for the industry. Then they have something to go for, and they might become sponsored. So it is not only Mario Barth’s decision anymore, it is the decision of a group of people.
Whoever gets chosen, gets to be part of a movement and a team, of really great and well educated artists. So to gain the sponsorship; you need to do your best work every single day, do something unique, be different, be yourself and DO NOT copy somebody else. Regardless whatever you do, if you love it and it makes your clients feel good… go for it and you have a chance to be an IntenZe sponsored artist.
Are there anyone out there, who Mario hopes will become part of the Intenze team:
“hehe, well yeah anybody… good question, easy answer; anybody who is willing to better the industry, I would love to have on my team, regardless in which form of support”, no matter if they are just someone who purchases IntenZe products, or whether it is an active contributor who tries to create new product, an educational partner or someone who is trying to work with the ‘IntenZe Creative Academy’. So anyone who is really interested in bettering the industry, he would love have on his team.
Where does Mario Barth, see the world and business of tattooing going from here?
Mario believes it has already come along way, especially over the last 10 years. So he is not sure where exactly it is going to go from here. But he is 100% certain of one thing. It is becoming a more structured business, despite how some people in the industry might not want this to happen. Mario is convinced that the industry has gone past the point of no return, the business is too big. There are too many people tattooing and way too many people getting tattoos. So he believes, that it is only natural for it to become a more structured business, as a result of this.
So he believes there is going to be more control, for example from health authorities. There are more people applying the tattoos, so there should be better training. So with all that taken into consideration. Mario Barth believes, that tattooing is going to turn into a real professional job. Not that it wasn’t before, but it will be more structured. Step 1 to step 10, which means you need to have the right business, the right location, the right products, the right training, the right clients, the right aftercare and the right support system for the tattoo artist.
He thinks that this is still a thing to be questioned with many shops. As many tattoos are still done at home and underground, and people think it is so cool to go to a party and get tattooed there and all that…
But Mario does not believe that such underground practices, will stay alive for another 10 years, he thinks it is going to change, and that is the way it is going to go.
The artistry is on a whole other level today:
The artistry is out of control; “yesterday’s top piece, is tomorrows standard”. So if you see a piece that was done 6 months ago and it was out of this world, the best tattoo you have ever seen. 6 months later, that will be standard for the new beginner. That is the minimum value he/she will want to reach, so Mario believes, when it comes to the artwork, we have a lot of great stuff coming in the future.
What should people be expecting from IntenZe in the future?
The plans for IntenZe remain the same, to keep on improving and developing educational programs and better standards for tattooing. To keep on improving the products all the time, staying on top of the game. Updating everything monthly improving what they can do and what they try to achieve. Exploring new avenues, making safer products, through scientific exploration, creating pigments out of stuff nobody knew could be used, in order to improve the inks and make them healthier.
So the big project for IntenZe, will be to bring the final bit of structure into the industry, the final credibility, for this amazing industry.
Indeed throughout my interview one thing became very clear. Mario Barth does not want IntenZe to be just another ink manufacturer or ink brand. He wants the company to stand for something. Doing everything he and his team can, to improve the tattoo industry wherever and however they can. Especially through influencing great artists, old as new, to want to help and do their own best to improve the industry.
If I couldn’t recommend this amazing product and brand before, I surely can now! Not only can IntenZe still boast about having some of the best quality ink in the world, as well as the safest. But they also seek to do all they can for the tattoo industry, making sure it too will improve and last.
For more, check out YouTube and Facebook too (@Mediazink).
As well as our Instagram (@Mediazink_Official)
Also check out IntenZe website: http://www.intenzetattooink.com/
Stay awesome people.