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10 minutes with Pepe Tirelli

Part of a resurgent Turin skate scene, 22-year-old Pepe Tirelli splits his time between skating, drawing and tattooing his friends. Here, the Carhartt WIP rider tells Ludovic Azemar about the book that changed his life, what’s overrated and how to cook pasta properly. 


Where did you sleep last night?

Pepe Tirelli: I slept in my own bed in my girlfriend’s arms.

What did you have for breakfast?

Pepe Tirelli: Just a small coffee.

Do you dream? 

Pepe Tirelli: Oh shit man, of course I dream! I dream every night, even if I’m drunk or stoned.

When did you start tattooing?

Pepe Tirelli: When I was 17, so like five years ago. This really good friend of mine in Turin, who is a tattoo artist, saw me drawing and pushed me a lot. 

What’s your next skate trip?

Pepe Tirelli: I was supposed to leave today actually, but the tour got canceled. The next one is a Carhartt WIP trip in Athens in about two weeks. 

What’s a misconception people often have about you?

Pepe Tirelli: I don’t know, probably that I’m a dickhead. [Laughs]

Which book changed your life?

Pepe Tirelli: One book that indirectly changed my life is Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I read it when I was about 15. Right now, I’m reading this weird late Second World War philosophy book about everyday life, sunset, and little birds singing. Kind of melancholic.

What are your favorite tattoos on yourself?

Pepe Tirelli: Probably the ones that were done by people who have never tattooed before. The last one is by my girlfriend. It’s sketchy, but I love it. It’s funny to give a needle to someone you love or people you just met, and say to them: “Go for it. Do some shit, and let’s see what happens.”

What’s overrated?

Pepe Tirelli: Life is overrated.

What’s underrated?

Pepe Tirelli: Small things, like birds singing in the morning. 

What is your present state of mind?

Pepe Tirelli: I’m alright. I’m trying to draw, but I can’t find any good ideas. I’m drawing cowboys and thinking about the desert. It’s kind of the mood. 

How was your last trip to Paris?

Pepe Tirelli: It was crazy! It was a week of free alcohol parties and fashion week stuff. We tried to skate a little bit – I can’t remember much. It was pretty heavy. I actually slept in the street one night because you didn’t open the door. It was four degrees outside.

How long does it take to cook pasta “al dente”?

Pepe Tirelli: A couple of minutes. I just taste it and see. It’s all about the feeling of it being ready. It’s an emotional thing.

What was the first skate trick you learned?

Pepe Tirelli: Probably a kickflip. I can’t remember.

How do you want to die?

Pepe Tirelli: That’s a sad question. Maybe death by a huge tiger in the forest? I actually hope nobody finds my body. I want to make people think I disappeared.