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Meet Nicole Mendoza of Ravensblood in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Mendoza.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in East Los Angeles, raised in North East L.A, or as we referred to it as the Barrio “Frogtown”. I remember at a young age being intrigued by the heavy graffiti I’d see throughout the neighborhood. My father was a mechanic always working on old classic cars, some of these cars had beautiful paint jobs with amazingly fine detail. I would learn this was the art of “pin stripping”. I would also discover “Low Rider” Magazine, which showcased these types of cars and art I was finding myself so fascinated by. There was a section in this magazine dedicated to prison art. Once I took notice to this style, it all came together. I knew this was something I wanted to get into. I started duplicating not only the cars but the artwork as well. I wanted to write & draw like these artists. It was addicting.

As a preteen I found inspiration in old classic rock, metal, and punk art. I again started to duplicate old Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeath, and Pink Floyd album covers. I would do this so much that it became muscle memory & could do it in my sleep. I now wanted more so to speak. I began experimenting with spray paint. Writing on wood, metal, walls, whatever I could. It felt so freeing, there was something about seeing my art off of paper, & out where other people can see it, that really changed the game. Graffiti was where it was at.

Eventually, I’d get in trouble over this form of expression. Unfortunately, this type of art was not legal. However, this didn’t stop me, in fact I just became more passionate about it. There was definitely a hold of some kind. As I got older and tired of my encounters with authorities over it. I knew I needed to find some kind of outlet that wouldn’t land me in trouble or jail. I would soon find a new interest in the arts of M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, & a plethora of different style artists. I was asked once “What would you do if you could do anything” I was never asked anything like this before, I was caught off guard by the question. It took me a minute to really think about this question and analyze my answer. After taking a few moments I replied, I’d like to either have my own gallery or have my own company where I can express myself artistically with no boundaries or limits.

Shortly after this conversation, I attended a punk show where I’d meet the drummer of one of the bands who I found was also a full time tattoo artist. It wasn’t long before I was able to sit by his side as he worked on his clients. Inevitably I was asked if I was interested in trying it myself. I jumped on the chance, & needless to say it was a wrap. I had now found my purpose. I’ve now been tattooing for 16 yrs. As a single parent of a beautiful girl, It’s definitely been challenging. I’ve had to work up to 3 jobs at a time just to make ends meet. Tattooing was not enough, however giving that up was never an option. I knew I wanted something more. I decided I wanted to establish something, I wanted to leave my daughter with something. Proving to her that with hard work, dedication, perseverance, & resilience you can accomplish anything. I’ve named my company Ravensblood after my daughter Raven. I wanted to create a space where I could express my art in anyway I chose. Whether it be through tattoos, painting, graffiti, clothing, design, all platforms.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has most definitely NOT been a smooth road, I was a single parent at the age of 20, struggling with addiction & living a dangerous lifestyle. Addiction played a major roll in many, if not all my shortcomings. It has cost me my freedom, my mental health, and relationships in every way. Today I am living healthy and sober, however, addiction is a daily battle and will always be a challenge.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ravensblood – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Ravensblood was created originally to showcase different styles of art. Tattoos, paintings, renderings, logos, stickers, clothing, accessories, etc. I wanted a platform for all expressions of creativity. It is a place where I am free to express myself however I desire.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I plan on expanding as a whole. Opening up my own Tattoo Parlour/Gallery where I can showcase the many forms of art Ravensblood has to offer, I want to create a space for artistic expression.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 6268908113
  • Instagram: NikkiTattz
  • Facebook: Nicole Mendoza

Image Credit:
Gilbert Rosales for the black and grey image where I’m standing in the LA river looking back into the camera. Tribe Tuesdays for the image where I’m throwing up the deuces.

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