Latino tattooers still tend to get typecast as masters only of “Chicano style” – that is, fine-line black-and-gray creations historically associated with Southern California barrios. They still own that game, but the current generation has branched out far beyond Chicano style and into everything from horror to modern realism and beyond. Here are five up-and-coming Latino tattooers poised to blow up in 2018 – book a plane now to get work done on you before they become world-famous.
After spending the first few years of her adult life drawing for Disney, Barajas decided to focus on tattoos instead of pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an animator.
The choice has worked out nicely for the California-based inkster: Currently working out of Ratt a Tatt Tatt II in Orange County, Barajas has put her background to work by churning out some of the finest illustrative, neotraditional, and even realism, tattoos in Southern California. Of course, she’s still awfully handy with a brush as well for those who aren’t ready to be a canvas just yet.
Guzman “Bolo” Perez
In a city filled with Cuban culture and artists, Perez – better known as Bolo Art Tattoo – has made himself one of Miami’s favorite tattooing sons.
Bolo’s knack for realistic and fine-art tattoos has earned him comparisons to legendary tattooers like Nikko Hurtado and Tom Renshaw. Whether it’s a portrait, a pop culture reference, or something original altogether, there’s a reason his Inkaholic Tattoos has become one of the most popular studios in South Florida.
Although Garcia may have chosen tattooing as her preferred medium, the work created by the Chicago-based artist looks more like it belongs in an old painting or a vintage children’s book.
With a combination of bold and detailed blackwork as well as tastefully and skillfully designed nature-themed tattoos (from leaves and flowers to birds and bugs), tattoos like Garcia’s tend not to hang on the walls of regular tattoo shops – and that’s what makes them so distinctive. If you want some ink similar to what the Black Oak Tattoo artist has mastered, you’ll have to seek out the woman herself.
Jose “Spacehustle” Arvizu
Long Beach, California is the historical capital of American tattooing, and Spacehustle is ready to become the next big name to emerge from the port city.
The Chicano is leading the charge with unique takes on everything from classic American traditional to modern blackwork and brightly colored illustrative tattoos. Whether you’re looking for some Sailor Jerry flash or an anime design, Arvizu is proof that not all millennial tattooers have to specialize in poorly done hand-poking.
Working out of the renowned Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn, much of the hippest borough has already caught on to the boricua’s skill – which means the rest of country will soon follow.
Rodriguez is most famous for floral designs that look out of a botany book, and her most famous work involves English roses, of which she grows five types in the backyard of Three Kings for instant inspiration.