Today we’d like to introduce you to Marlaina Mortati.
Marlaina, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been an artist all of my life but it wasn’t until I got my first tattoo that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had been taking college art courses and essentially not knowing what I wanted to do and it finally clicked when I stepped inside that shop. So I started researching, I started painting which I had never done before I was always a graphite artist and printmaker. I built a strong portfolio and sought out my apprenticeship which was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I met Andy, my mentor, he loved my work and had never wanted an apprentice before me. I was so unbelievably fortunate. I worked at a grocery store to pay my bills and worked at the shop for my education. One day another artist at the shop quit and I was given a station and started tattooing professionally that very day. I worked in San Diego for a couple years and recently moved to LA and I’m working in my dream shop with people I adore. Again, I am so fortunate. I get to make art for a living.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
The art I make for myself is deeply rooted in my passion for animals and animal rights activism. I try to create beautiful and touching illustrations that depict the struggles of animals that aren’t usually depicted in artwork. I draw a lot of cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. Essentially everyone from Monkeys and Orcas to Mice and Rabbits. They are colorful and dramatic so that you actually want to look at them but the story is there so that the point can be received, it’s balance between wanting the viewer to be somewhat uncomfortable, yet not so uncomfortable that they turn away. I started this work using watercolors and have transitioned to digital illustrations. My hope is that the imagery will stick with the viewer until the next meal is ordered or product is purchased, my hope is always that a seed is planted. A lot of my tattoo clientele come to me for this imagery though they understandably tend to lean towards happier depictions of these themes.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I think the role of artists has always been to shine a light on issues in the world. Political artwork has always been important regardless of what the current world issues are at the time they are created. So in that regard I don’t think it changed but it’s only amplified the importance of our roles to use or our abilities as social justice awareness. It will be documented long after we are gone, it’s a record of the issues we faced and continue to face.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Where would we be without social media? My artwork is always updated and available to be seen on Instagram and Facebook (@marlainamortatiart) I have been part of small group shows. Most recently I was in a show put together by anti-vivisectionist organization Progress For Science in memory of Britches, an infant monkey used in sensory deprivation experiments at the University of Riverside. Artists featured in the show included acclaimed animal rights artists like Sue Coe. It was an honor to be a part of it.
People can buy prints of my digital paintings and I do commission work as well but mostly people can support my work by coming to get tattooed!
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @marlainamortatiart
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/marlainamortatiart
All images copyright Marlaina Mortati