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These Latina Tattoo Artists Know How To Give The Best Ink In The Business

The decision to receive a tattoo can be deeply personal, particularly because the art of ink is a decision with lifelong effects. Tattoos on our skin are so woven into the skin that they ultimately end up making up such a major part of a person’s identity. That’s why when picking out a tattoo, people usually go to great lengths to find the perfect artist. Not just someone who has talent, but someone who can be precise and understanding of the depiction they are attempting to create. For so many Latinas who decide to get a tattoo, this is especially true. Often times, our tattoos tell stories of our Latinidad, our family and our written in our native languages. As such, seeking out a fellow Latina who can do the work on us can be just as equally as important as finding the perfect design.

As the tattoo industry grows, the once-male dominated world of tattooing is seeing more women tattoo artists than ever. So, of course, we have to shout out our Latina hermanas who are repping the Latinidad in the world of ink. Here are some of the most talented Latina tattoo artists in the game.

1. Jéssica Coqueiro

Instagram / @jercoquerio.tattoo

From São Paulo, Brazil, Jessica Coqueiro produces beautiful works of art in shades of black. Specializing in gorgeous and elegant floral designs, Coquerio also expertly inks animal imagery. She also has a few surreal pieces that will blow your mind. Her soft line work and attention to detail are impressive qualities that all of her pieces share.

2. Julia Bicudo

Instagram / @juliabicudo

Tattooing from Brazil’s Arte Misia Ink, Julia Bicudo tattoos both in color and shades of black. Her portfolio is very eclectic too. You’ll find America traditional pieces alongside geometrical designs as well as traditional floral and animal motifs. From these designs, it’s easy to see how versatile and talented Bicudo is.

3. Amanda Rodriguez

Instagram / @amandatattoos

Floral work like this has to be done in bright vivid color and Latina tattooist Amanda Rodriguez knows how to deliver. Working out of Brooklyn as well as across the pond in London, Rodriguez comes from a fine arts background. She brings that level of detail into her traditional and realism tattoos but isn’t afraid to spice it up with thick line work and abstract elements.

4. Noemi Barajas

Instagram / @noemitattoos

Orange County tattoo artist and painter, Noemi Barajas uses striking pops of color to bring her pieces to life. She also works as a traditional artist and her painting techniques are obvious in her compositions. Her black and white pieces are also stunning works of art in their own respect.

5. Esther Garcia

Instagram / @butterstinker

The use of solid black in a tattoo makes the whole piece pop and artist Esther Garcia isn’t afraid to prove it. Her use of elegant, full-color florals against black backgrounds is simply breathtaking. The Chicago artist is in her element when she is drawing and inking nature but her pieces are far from traditional. Sometimes Garcia likes to get surreal and she creates amazing tats like this one.

6. Roxi Satni

Instagram / @roxitattoo

Hailing from L.A. by way of Mexico City, Roxi Satni excels at laying down smooth black and white ink. Using points of black to apply shading, she gives her art shape and dimension in a very tangible way. Inspired by flowers and nature, Satni has developed her own style reminiscent of old school American traditional.

7. Olga Marques

Instagram / @olgart.tattoo

Located in São Paulo, Brazil, Olga Marques uses fine lines to give her artwork a sketchy feel. Specializing in figure drawing and stylized portraits, her work is very dynamic. She also happens to have the power of anime on her side. Check out her tats of anime heroes like Goku and Naruto to see the full scope of her talent.

8. Rocio Tattoos

Instagram / @rocio.tattoos

Tattooing for 23 years, Rocio works in Oakland and has been creating in the Bay area since 1996. She practices in many styles; doing everything from portrait art to cover-ups. Nature and botanicals are mainstays in her artwork and she delivers them with precision and skill.

9. Tamara Santibañez

Instagram / @tamarasantibanez

Specializing in Chicano-style tattooing, Tamara Santibañez operates out of New York City. Traditional Chicano imagery appears in her work as does the looping, clean cursive that is associated with that style. She is also an artist with a residency at MAD — The Museum of Arts and Design . Santibañez has even show her own public installation to rave reviews.

10. Michelle Santana

Instagram / @mnsantanatattoo

Don’t let the minimalist designs fool you. It takes a lot of talent to be this precise. Working out of Bang Bang Tattoo in New York City, Michelle Santana specializes in clean lines and small designs that make a big impression. She has even been featured in Forbes Magazine for her talent as an enterprising tattoo artist.

11. Arlene Salinas

Instagram / @arlenesalinas_m

California tattoo artist Arlene Salinas likes to do America tradition art while drawing from Latinx imagery. Working in both color and black and white, she finds inspiration for her own art in the work of her friends and peers in the tattoo community. Clean lines and a soft touch is what you’ll see in her portfolio.

12. Christina Ramos

Instagram / @tiger_ramos

Is that a photograph or a tattoo? Christina Ramos’s photo-realistic tattoos are masterpieces. She also creates amazing paintings using the same hyper-realistic style. Based in California, the tattooist works predominantly is smooth gray-scale and rich blacks to create her pieces.

13. Vivian Turini

Instagram / @vivatattoo

São Paulo-based artist Vivian Turini builds masterpieces from points of ink. The pointillism she uses could put any neo-impressionist painter to shame. Her use of negative space makes as much of an impact as her ink does. Turini’s subject matter varies but her floral pieces are especially impressive.

14. Magdalena Lobo

Born in Uruguay and working in Quebec, Magdalena Lobo tattoos in the American traditional style; focusing in bold lines, pops of color, and simpler designs. She is also heavily influenced by her Latinx culture as well as yoga and spirituality. Of all her pieces, her figure drawings are exceptionally charming.

15. Nazareth Garcia

Instagram / @nazgarciaart

Located in Chicago, Nazareth Garcia is a tattoo artist with a BFA in Fine Arts at the American Academy of Art. Drawing inspiration from her roots, you’ll find Indigenous and Aztec imagery in her work. She creates in black with occasional uses of color and is an amazing painter.

16. Rebecca Rodela

Instagram / @rebeccaarte

Operating out of Oregon and Washington, Rebecca Rodela is a Chicana tattoo artist. Classically trained, she is talented with a pen or brush but her real love is tattooing. She works in both color and black and white and covers all kinds of themes in her pieces. Rodela’s use of color is delicate and her line work varies from bold to incredibly thin depending on the tattoo.

17. Makitta Boom

Instagram / @makittaboom

Freelance tattoo artist Makita Boom tattoos out of Los Angeles, California. She has applied her neo-traditional style to all sorts of designs ranging from pop culture to stylized botanicals. Her portfolio is full of boldly colored, minimalist designs that you will fall in love with.

18. Galie Casillas

Instagram / @ta2galie

Los Angeles tattoo artist Galie Casillas focuses on using smooth grays and bold blacks to create her Chicano-style tattoos. Skeletons, angles, religious icons and Aztec imagery star in many of her pieces. Casillas specializes in photo-realistic portraits that are brought to life with her precise shading, detail work, and figure drawing.

Border Patrol Agents Threw Away Meaningful Items Belonging To Migrants, Now There’s An Art Show Displaying Dozens Of Items

Things That Matter

Border Patrol Agents Threw Away Meaningful Items Belonging To Migrants, Now There’s An Art Show Displaying Dozens Of Items

Tomkiefer.photographe / Instagram

Photographer Tom Kiefer worked as a custodian at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Southern Arizona from 2003 to 2014. When migrants and asylum seekers crossed the Southern border officials would throw away their belongings, medications, and nonessentials during processing. Kiefer collected all of those belongs, arranged them systematically, and photographed them.

The photos will be displayed in the exhibition “El Sueño Americano / The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. 

The result is eye-catching and colorful art that, upon closer inspection, reveals the rich inner lives of migrants. Kiefer’s photographs of the CDs they were listening to, the medications they were on, and even diary entries provide insight into the almost ordinariness of migrants. These were just people carrying things that meant something to them the way anyone else going somewhere would. Then the U.S. government deemed those personal and sentimental items trash. 

What Kiefer provides is a rarely seen snapshot of what migrants cared about when they came to the United States looking for a better shot. 

Kiefer was documenting American history through his lens and labor. 

“It was my way of documenting a piece of our nation’s history,” Kiefer told the Washington Post

In one of his haunting photos, there are 32 CDs lined up. Some CDs are from artists like Trapt but others are mixed CDs with intimate labels like “Brown Pride” or “Super Sappy Songs for Issa 2.” The image reminds the viewer that these migrants were real people — and we don’t know who any of them are and because of the United States’ ever-changing immigration policies, we don’t know if they’re even OK. 

Kiefer began to find the belongings when he asked if he could donate the canned goods that Border Patrol authorities seized to food pantries. He went through the trash bins to look for the nonperishables, but what he found instead was a wealth of humanity. 

“The Bibles, the rosaries, the family photographs. I was shocked,” he said. “And I didn’t know what to do, because it was obviously being condoned.”

Kiefer knew he would get into trouble if he took other items so everything he gathered was by intuition. Altogether in his years working there he collected 100,000 items. 

“I had to do it all very quick, discreet,” he said. “It was just rapid-fire, split-second decisions about what I could keep and what had to go in the trash, stay in the trash.”

Throwing away migrants’ possessions is particularly cruel, Kiefer feels.

 “[It] underscores the cruelty of the tentative punishment that the government feels the need to levy against these people. It’s clear the majority of which are decent, contributing and who want nothing more than a better life for themselves or for their family,” he told the Los Angeles TimesWhen Kiefer first began going through the trash looking for cans, he found mostly toothbrushes. However, when things appeared to be more personal like religious items and diaries, he felt compelled to save them because, he says, “no one would believe me if I had not collected these items.” He purposefully used colorful backgrounds to humanize the items. He didn’t want a cold, white background that would make things look sterile, more like products than personal items. 
“[The photos are] like a knife to the gut, and that’s precisely something that I think gives this work its power — that it draws you in with its beauty and then it has this really profoundly sad backstory,” Laura Mart, Skirball curator, told the Los Angeles Times.

He hopes the legacy of his exhibition is empathy above all else. 

“Dora the Explorer. A personal belonging carried by a migrant or someone seeking asylum. When apprehended by USCBP while crossing the desert most personal belongings considered non-essential or potentially lethal are confiscated and discarded,” Kiefer wrote in a caption of a children’s Dora the Explorer purse. 

Things like children’s toys, backpacks, and clothing items are enough to infuriate and sadden just about anybody.

“Whether it’s an individual object, shoelaces, I present them in a way that I hope the viewer can not just identify, but just kind of be empathetic, or put themselves in the person or persons’ shoes: ‘Wow, a person carried that.’ ‘That’s the same cologne I use, the same toothbrush or toothpaste,” Kiefer said. 

While he was a custodian during the Obama administration, Kiefer says he didn’t witness the abuses of powers reported under the current president. Kiefer personally condemns the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants and hopes his exhibition will change some peoples’ stances. 

“Is this the nation we want to be?” He said. “The way things are now is not sustainable.”

An Artist Set Up An Installation At The US-Mexico Border Allowing People To Communicate Freely

Things That Matter

An Artist Set Up An Installation At The US-Mexico Border Allowing People To Communicate Freely

lozanohemme / Instagram

The President of the United States is still working on building the great big wall to divide Mexico from the U.S. Even though the wall has yet to be completed (and it looks like it never will actually be totally completed), the issue of the wall itself has already divided so many. The division is not just physical, but emotional, and, of course political. Believe it or not, there has been so much positivity that has also come with our painful division. Not only are people rising up to demand the rights of immigrants, and fighting for asylum seekers, but there’s also incredible art that has been erected in the name of justice

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican-Canadian installation artist that has created a way for people to talk to each other on opposite sides of the border.

Lozano-Hemmer has built a massive light installation — both on U.S. land and Mexico land. The project, while complicated, appears to be several spotlights that project to one side of the border and then intersects with the spotlights from the other side. There are, as the website states, “three interactive stations on each side of the border will control powerful searchlight beams using a small dial wheel. When lights from any two stations are directed at each other, microphones and speakers automatically switch-on to allow participants to talk with one another, creating cross-border conversations.”

When one person speaks into the microphone, the person on the other side can hear and talk to them as well. People in El Paso, Texas, were able to communicate with those in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

On opening night, which happened on Nov. 13, a slew of special guests was invited to speak to people on the other side of the border. It wasn’t a natural result either. As the website states, “These conversations have been curated through a series of public meetings over the course of the past year and include a diverse cross-section of participants. Community leaders selected to coordinate various topics have committed to reaching out to their existing networks on both sides of the border for these topic-specific conversations in addition to the spontaneous conversations generated by the general public each night.”

While the light installation was only up for a few days and is now over, the result is one of the most magical things we have ever seen. 

In one clip, we see a woman speaking to a little boy. She asks him his name and how old he is, how he likes school, etc. It’s so hard to believe that the two people speaking are actually miles away from each other, with only a border that separates them. Their voices sound so loud and clear as if they were talking to each other face to face. 

“I’m not creating bridges of communication. Those bridges are already existing,” Lozano-Hemmer said in an interview, according to CBC News. “I’m just highlighting that they exist.” He added, “The computer modulates the bridge so that you can see that there is this kind of tangible aspect to our conversation that is very visible.” In the video above, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also took part in the installation and spoke to kids in Mexico.

Everyone obviously couldn’t experience this lovely installation in person, however, people on social media have been very moved by it.

One woman on Instagram said, “this made me sob, which is hard when you’ve had your breath taken away moments before. This is what art was created for, telling complex stories in a visually stunning manner, to help people understand. I believe in giving away our skills/free education. Imagine how stunning it would be to see the whole globe illuminated with Lights of Hope along every “border.” It’s possible. Give your blessing or blueprints to artist revolutionaries online, and let’s see how long it takes to light this rock up. #nobordersnonations #artisrevolution #makeartnotwar.” Another said, “Bless you. Bless your work. Bless your collaborative partners. I hope the children in our shameful American Detainment Camps for CHILDREN (those nearby) can see your Light. I pray that People crossing the border in the dark of the night see your Lights and it leads them Home. I Hope it soothes their souls and lets them know we have not forgotten them. America is and always will be a respite for the weary and down-trodden. We welcome ALL with open arms as WE would want to be welcomed in our most needy of times. I don’t care what negative people say, I believe in Hope, Righteousness, and the inherent Good in Everyone.”

READ: Kids On Both Sides Of The Border Wall Now Have Something Small To Smile About Thanks To An Artist Who Installed Seesaws