Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Garza.
Maria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I remember around age five that I had trouble seeing things for a long time and never really communicated that to my family, but when I finally did and got my first pair of glasses, this whole new world with so much definition opened up to me. So much stuff existed everywhere with different shapes, textures, colors, etc. and I was instantly fascinated, I had to paint or draw what I saw whenever I could and thoroughly became obsessed with that kind of expression.
Take that obsession and layer in a weird love for biological anthropology and anatomy, and here I am, painting into skin, loving the connection with other people, and self-actualizing in some strange but amazing way.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were a lot of challenges. It took me a long time to get a proper apprenticeship, and it was off and on even after that. I feel like I’ve experimented with every discipline of art and worked a lot of boring jobs to keep the fire going. I never felt like my feet were ever really on the ground.
I did freelance concept work for a long time to make ends meet. I had rougher relationships than I would like to admit and as a result became a single mother to a young son early on in my career. He’s a huge inspiration to me and the happiest person I know.
Please tell us more about you. What do you do, what do you specialize in? What are you most proud of?
I tattoo custom work that has been pretty eclectic, but I think I lean more toward fineline realism and my own inkwork drawings.
I’m proud of the ambition and unwillingness to stop creating. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a healthy addiction, but this would be that for me if it was ever a thing.
I also get to scratch the itch of social curiosity by meeting new people with different experiences all the time, and learning about what led them here and where they plan to go afterward has always been one of my favorite aspects of this craft. Communication and human connection is a huge love of mine and with tattoo, there’s so much of that on every level.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The most humbling thing is to have someone actively want your personal work to stay with them permanently. I do a lot of weird ink drawings featuring different animals, occult figures, and mythological stuff, and getting the requests to tattoo those personal designs on people has been one of the most wholesome experiences of my life! It creates some channel of understanding between strangers and I love that. I think that kind of positive experience is really what defines success.
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