Hold up, Brooklyn has a legend on its hands and believe me when I tell you, she’s someone worth reading about. Tamara Santibañez is Brooklyn’s most sought out Chicanx tattoo artist up to date. You guys, she has so many sides to her tattooing style and multiple perspectives on what inspires her and the symbolism behind her art.
Tamara grew up in Georgia, she is half white and half Mexican, specifically her mother who was an immigrant and her father being from the United States. Tamara started tattooing in 2010, however prior to that was going to school for printmaking. Living in multiple punk houses, where multiple handmade tattoos were being done, lead her to doing hand poked work for friends that she called ‘terrible copies of images from record inserts’. Never realizing any of this would lead her to tattooing professionally, Tamara now has a place of work at ‘Saved Tattoo’ in Brooklyn New York.
The artist loves using Latinx art as ways to inspire people, represent, and show how proud she is of her Mexican roots. She is very keen on using specific West coast chicano art to tattoo with and she utilizes this as a way to rid the stigma behind these tattoos and the idea that they are ‘gang’ or ‘prison’ related.
However, Santibañez is a multifaceted individual with many aspects to her career. She is also an artist and a publisher. The Brooklyn resident loves to paint and incorporates many ‘kink’ styles into her pieces. Some would say she embodies a sexual perspective of BDSM and uses tons of leather in her work. She loves the idea behind symbolism and intertwines that in many of her pieces. She uses leather as ‘more of an experience than an item of clothing’.
Going even further into Tamara’s busy schedule, she also released a few clothing projects by partnering with ‘Obey’ back in 2016. Her clothing items included a ‘No Me Olvides’ leather jacket and a few t-shirt designs as well.
Tamara is a one of a kind individual who loves her chicanx identity and uses her platform for things she cares about, such as: feminism, latinx and latinx art and being chicana. She recognizes that being of a lighter complexion, she does have privilege and sees it as a way to be more informed in regards to the divide of the culture. What we love most about Santibañez is her way of living her life unapologetically: ‘I knew when i was getting tattooed that my family might not like it. At the end of the day it was more important for me to feel good about the choices that I was making about my own body than it was to feel accepted by other people.’