Four national artists broke the routine this weekend in Nicoya, using skin for their canvas and exposing their talent at Nicoya Tattoo Fest 2014.
The event, which was held for the first time in the region, took place in the art area of the restaurant Casa Jungla and brought together 50 visitors from the central valley and Guanacaste.
The festival was the undertaking of Luis Salazar, a resident of the La Cananga neighborhood, who has worked as a “perforator” in San Jose. “People saw my tattoos and asked who had done them; everything started there,” says Salazar. A “perforator” is someone who does body piercings.
Though everyone had the same motivation, every artist at the event offered their own style and technique.
For Samuel Obando, a 24 year-old tattoo artist from San Isidro de Heredia, his style is gaining popularity, and that his lines preserve the “neorealism” style characterized by thin lines, depth and influences from other plastic techniques such as oil or acrylic painting.
On the other hand, the Nicoyan tattoo artist Jorge Arturo Lopez, known as “Zamo,” has been defining his own style in San Jose and in the canton. According to the event’s organizer, he is one of the most well-known artists in the region.
Zamo is sought after for creating large pieces in the “new school” style, with a lot of detail and contrasting, brilliant colors.
Attendees had the opportunity to see a live demonstration, step by step, of the tattoo process. Evans Jimenez went under Zamo’s needle for three hours, and he believes that the artists’ work is underappreciated in Guanacaste. “It’s honorable work that has been important for years; tattoo art has value that can’t be expressed on paper,” he said.
Lopez, Obando, Salazar and Aguero assert that tattoo culture is stereotyped and discriminated against. “Very traditional people think that simply having tattoos means that a person is weird,” said Aguero.
The artists that visited Nicoya this weekend have developed their skills since childhood; their enormous creativity is what backs up the cost of their services.
Drawing is something that people do from childhood on, some copying their favorite cartoons from television. For some, tattooing is a source of income, for others it is the beginning and end of all things. Above all, it is a passion.