Gettin Inked with Jazz Sánchez

Interview with aspiring tattoo artist from Mexico City.
Where are you from and where are you living now?

I’m from Mexico City, but for the past 3 months I have been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

When did you first start getting interested in tattoos and ink culture?

Since I was a little kid I’ve always been into drawing and art. I always loved a colorful world so when I got older I started painting and sketching just for fun. After that I was interested in tattoos because my older sister had some, and my dream was to get covered with tattoos as well. When I was around 19 I had the opportunity to work as an apprentice in a tattoo studio. After that, while still studying at university in Mexico City, I started tattooing by myself.

When I finished school I told my parents that I wanted to do what made me happy, so I was going to do my best to become a tattoo artist. In the beginning they were kind of upset because they didn’t really believe that I could support myself doing tattoos.  Now I run my own tattoo shop in Mexico City, and it’s allowed me to travel wherever I want and keep working on my art, which makes me happy

How old were you when you did your first tattoo?

I was 20 years old and I did 3 skulls on an ex-boyfriend’s leg, poor guy [laughs]. The tattoo wasn’t that bad I don’t think.

Tell us about some of the things that influence you and your art?

My first inspiration of course is Mexican culture, especially the Day of the Dead. I like a lot of colors and figures. Thinking about tattoos I enjoy the traditional style, strong lines and solid colors. I like to draw very feminine designs, cartoons, and girly things. In the past when you were looking for a design in a tattoo shop you could only find dragons, skulls, pirates, and designs made by guys for guys. So I like to draw feminine things like the designs I have tattooed on my arms.
Have your family and friends supported you and your art form?

In the beginning it was so hard to make my family understand what this passion means to me - being university teachers, they are more into social sciences. They wanted me to do something like that but I suck at teaching. I’m more of an introspective person, I like to draw while I’m alone and it was hard for them to understand that. But once they saw that what I was doing was for real they supported me a lot.  They give me strength everyday and they help me a lot. My friends too, because they are also involved in art, body modification, tattoos, street art, and fashion.

Who is the coolest person you have ever done a tattoo for?

I remember two people in particular. The first one is my mother, who in the beginning wasn’t sure about her daughter being a tattooist, but when she decided to get a tattoo done by me it was like she was agreeing with my decisions and future, so it was special to me. The second was a granny who wanted a design that her 7 year old grandson had done. It was so special because it showed me that people are never too old to get a tattoo - she was like 70 years old.

Have you ever done a really ugly tattoo for someone?

Well, all the time my customers ask for tattoos that everybody else has. For example the infinity sign with a name or the word ‘love’, their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name, those are tattoos that I’m not into. But at the end of the day this is also a job, so I try to give it a different spin. They can get something special that’s different to what everybody else already has. But when people want something exactly the same as an Internet image I really think that is an ugly tattoo, because I’m not doing anything as an artist, I’m just copying and pasting.
Tell us about some of the people that you have met while learning how to be a tattoo artist.

In this business, like any other, you meet all kinds of people. Some want to share secrets or ideas to help you. Others are typical haters, just watching what you are doing and criticizing it. But normally in this circle you make your own friends, and you know that they will help you when you need them. Friends are always there to help you. I especially like to meet artists from other countries to learn and share skills with them.  Here in Argentina I have met a lot of great artists that have helped me a lot, and they’re very friendly people.

Who has been your biggest role model?

I like art by women, because I know that in the past being a tattooist was a man’s job and the circle was so closed.  It was hard for me to get into that circle, and I know for other girls it was the same. So I like to see their work and I really respect and admire their art.  Some of them are: Alex Strangler (LA), Candy Cane´s Desperado Tattoo (Netherlands), Mimsy’s Trailer Trash Tattoo (Australia), Hannah Westcott (UK), Whitney Lenox (LA), Kim-Anh Nguyen (Netherlands), and Laura Satana Exxxotic Tattoos (France).

What’s the best part of being a tattoo artist?

For now the best part of being a tattoo artist is that I get to travel, and if you carry your tattoo machine and stuff you can work wherever you want.  You can keep traveling. Also you are the owner of your own time, you don’t have to be in an office working in front of a computer. You can be yourself and express art on your body, showing who you are. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like happiness and freedom.

As an artist, where do you see yourself in the future?

In this job you never stop learning. I want to continue drawing with new techniques like oleo and aquarelle. I’d also like to open another shop in Mexico, and continue to travel.