Angelo Parente started drumming at 16 years old but immediately hated it. His mother encouraged him to give it another year, and in the end, he was glad he took her advice. In 2005, he became one of the founding members of Motionless In White, a Scranton metalcore band that signed to Fearless Records and toured the world with great success.
“It was definitely a lot of accomplishments. After doing it, you didn’t exactly realize it, but then your friends come and they can’t believe that you did that, so it kind of hits you. You’re like, ‘Yeah, that was kind of cool,’” he said, looking back on those years.
“It was great to be able to go different countries too because I don’t know how many chances I’m going to have to do that now that I’m not with the band.”
He amicably parted ways with the group last year, and they are still on great terms, but the 26-year-old Pittston Township resident hasn’t picked up his sticks since.
“After doing it for so long, I think I just wanted to not leave anymore and figure out what I was going to do when I was done so I had something to kind of fall back on,” Parente explained.
“I think I was just tired. We were just gone all the time. I don’t regret any of it; I loved every second of it, but after not being home for so long, I think some people can do it and some people just get tired.”
This let him focus on his first love – drawing. He took private arts lessons from second to 10th grade, which led him into graphic design, and with just one year of college under his belt, he designed t-shirts for his own band, Blessthefall, Mayday Parade, Breathe Carolina, Bleeding Through, Of Mice and Men, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, and many others.
“With the type of band we were, we gave off this dark look… a dark feel to the band. When I would draw, it would be scary stuff or stuff from horror movies or stuff like that,” he said, describing his style as “animated” with “a lot of lines.”
Getting tattooed since he was 16, his background in drawing gave him a leg up when he decided to pursue tattooing, starting an apprenticeship with Tyler Pawelzik of Black Casket Tattoo Co. in Dickson City, though he learned quickly just how different transferring artwork onto skin can be.
“Tattooing is totally different. Drawing is not like holding a tattoo machine; it’s so much different,” he noted. “When drawing, you can’t just draw anything the way you want it. It has to be drawn so 10 years from now it looks good on someone.”
While nervous to leave a permanent mark on anyone at first, he’s addicted to reality shows like “Ink Master,” and after observing Pawelzik, who is responsible for some of Parente’s own ink, he feels more and more comfortable with the idea of tattooing for a living, even though he’s had to become more social to do it.
“I’m kind of a shy person, but with tattooing and being an apprentice, you’ve got to work the front desk, so you learn to open up with people and feel more comfortable talking. With drawing, you’re in your office or in your drawing room and it’s just you,” he said.
“I think more people want tattoos than want shirt designs, so tattooing might be a little better of an option, but I’d like to do both.”