with Grace Neutral

002: Tattoos & Travelling Talks with Aurora Aguirre

@lacochina

Second in this series, a conversation with Aurora Aguirre, a talented and respected indigenous QPOC tattoo artist and friend of Grace. They talk through the overlap between tattoos and travelling and its importance to them.

Scroll down for a recap of Grace and Aurora's conversation.

G: Today’s conversation I’ll be doing the same as last week with a good friend of mine. She's a beautiful girl from the Bay Area in California. I met Aurora maybe seven years ago in London. She was getting this huge tattoo done on her chest with a guy I used to work with. Aurora, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

A: I’ve been in the community for about eight years now: getting tattooed, travelling, spending time at the conventions and for the last three years, I’ve been working at this shop called ‘Industrial Berkeley’ just in the Bay Area.

G: You’ve been around the industry for awhile - I’m sure you have some wild stories - what’s one of those from on the road?

A: It’s funny, I don’t think I actually have that many wild-ass stories. But it’s mostly the experiences for me are wild, to think of myself in these situations. I went to the Nepal convention by myself - I met friends later, but I was there for two weeks on my own. I was 24/25 and just being all alone over there especially as a woman was wild.

G: Yeah, you must have attracted some wild attention especially being tattooed.

A: Yeah, I mean its amazing: it’s good and it’s bad. Even in the times it felt slightly negative, it wasn’t even that bad because if you also, if you spend a lot of time travelling, you realise that everywhere you go has it’s own cultural traditions. So there’s certain things that might seem wild to you or peculiar but normal for them and vice versa.

G: Cus you’re such a well-travelled woman, could you please give me your top three shops?

A: I think that it really depends on what you’re looking for, it’s important to feel safe. In London, definitely your shop, Femme Fatale - it feels like a sleepover. I also experienced an amazing energy at Jad’s Tattoo in Kathmandu, Nepal. It’s this tiny little room, but they’ve built this really amazing space for travelling artists and you always feeling welcome there and know you’ll be looked after. They’ll even take you outside of Kathmandu to all these amazing places and you really meet some wholesome people. And of course, for me, I feel the most safe at my shop. I just feel like the community here is so strong. We have a lot of of the POC community coming in to get tattooed and we really try to make sure the environment suits them and that they’re as comfortable as possible. We also have a strong queer community but of course, there is always room to grow and we’re constantly working on being more inclusive and be a safe space for everyone.

Stay locked for more conversations next Tuesday.

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