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Bodies Without Limits: Tattooing With Tamara Santibañez

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If you’re looking for a sign to go get that tattoo you’ve been dreaming of — well, this is it.

Tattoo and multimedia artist Tamara Santibañez believes that tattooing can work for anyone who wants it. The art form has existed for thousands of years, and it’s more than a tool for creative expression. In their book, “Could this be Magic? Tattooing as Liberation Work,” Tamara makes the case that tattooing holds deep meaning and even deeper potential: tattoos are a way to reclaim personal and collective histories, help heal trauma, and present one’s truest self to the world.

Tamara developed their tattooing ethos across their 13-year-long career. Originally from Georgia, Tamara moved to New York City as an art student and soon after pivoted into the world of body art and tattooing. Tamara developed a specialty in black and white, fine-line tattooing — their style draws from their Mexican-American heritage, and from popular Chicano tattooing styles that originated within the prison system on the West Coast.

In this episode of Latino USA, Tamara discusses their own journey in tattooing, the histories behind the art form, and the possibilities that await when taking ink and needle to skin.

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