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Meet Trailblazer Nakota Garza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nakota Garza.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been a visual artist from a very young age. I started painting around six years old and oil painting at 16. A couple of years later, at 18, I got a tattoo apprenticeship in Nashville. A couple of years into my career, I followed my passion out to Southern California, where most of my favorite tattooers were. Hoping I could glean something by being there. By 22, I was a sponsored tattoo artist and got married. My husband and I traveled all over the world for a few years doing tattoo tours. We ended up moving to Berlin, Germany for a while and in 2015, when we decided to come back to America, I began working at Vatican Studios.

Has it been a smooth road?
Eleven years ago, when I started tattooing, it was VERY much a male-dominated industry. I had many clients refuse to get work done by me or acknowledge my presence in the studio at all solely because I was female. The sexism was also very present in coworkers and studio owners. Of course, not everyone, there was definitely a strong camaraderie with many of my male counterparts. It seems the more they cared about the actual art, the less they cared about the gender of the person making it. However, I think the industry has come leaps and bounds in the last few years. I see so many amazing women artists popping up all over the world every day and it’s exciting.

If I was to give advice to women starting out in this industry: Don’t rely on the support of those around you in the beginning (i.e. parents, partners, friends, etc.). Not everyone will be happy with your choice to become a part of this industry. You know what’s best for you, what will bring you fulfillment. Just make sure your motivation is fueled by love for the art and you’ll be alright.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
In tattooing, I’d say I specialize in realism floral work and art nouveau based designs. I think they make for beautiful, timeless pieces.

I love decorating the body in a way that the piece flows and brings out the beauty in the curves of the individual person.

I really love what I do, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity so I put an honest piece of my heart and mind into everything I create. I like to take my skill sets and apply them to other mediums as well.

I do a lot of fashion design, sewing, leather bondage harnesses and fine art leather painted works.

Recently, I have been taking advanced learning courses in fine jewelry making and devoting quite a bit of energy to that.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
If you’re looking to break into the tattoo field, my best advice is to get tattooed! Check it all out, see what the day to day looks like from the client-side and the artists. It can be difficult to find a reputable artist to take on an apprentice but it will greatly help your chances if you get tattooed by them first. Be respectful, BE HUMBLE. Be appreciative. Do not try to tattoo practice out of your home. This shows a complete lack of respect for the industry as well as the well being of health in the individual you are tattooing.

The next: Draw, paint, and draw some more!

Learn everything you can about art, it will ALL be useful down the road somewhere.

Practice making designs for your friends, working with them like you would a client. Breathing life into someone else’s ideas can take a bit of time to not only learn how to do but how to communicate with them to get the desired product you both are looking for.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Vatican Studios and Sacrament Piercing
    22622 Lambert Suite #306
    Lake Forest, CA 92630
  • Website: www.Nakotaart.com
  • Phone: 949-916-7537
  • Email: nakotaart@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @nakota13

Image Credit:
Nakota Garza

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