Tat Tues with Jazmin Santiago

Sugar Skull on Jade's Radd armWelcome to another edition of Tat Tues.  This is the weekly segment where we feature and discuss a Day of the Dead tattoo.  Typically, we are able to share the tattoo owner’s perspective here, but this week we have the rare opportunity to share the thoughts of the tattoo artist.

Jazmin Santiago, 21, resides in Lancaster, Pa., and has been a tattoo artist for a couple of years.  She currently works at the Tattooing by Mee shop on Columbia Ave.  Jazmin describes her artistic talent in this quote: “I’m 21 years old and I’ve been drawing my entire life. I don’t remember as a kid when I wasn’t drawing. I constantly sat down and drew everything I saw in front of me. I remember showing my aunt art all the time and she always accused me of being a liar because she said kids my age weren’t that good at drawing.”

The story of the tattoo shown above was explained like this:
“…I have a lot of friends who ask me for drawing-requests. One day a friend of mine, Jade, asked me to design her three sugar skulls for her arm. She said she loves sugar skulls and wanted to get something fancy. She never told me of any emotion behind it, [but] I believe it was just pure aesthetic reasons. It was supposed to start off as a “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” tattoo but I was honest and told her I wasn’t comfortable enough to do something so intricate since I don’t have that many years under my belt of experience. So I decided to just have them stacked on each other and she loved the idea.

After spending days on Google looking up sugar skulls, I was becoming inspired by the thousands of designs. I wanted to give Jade a tattoo no one else has even though I know that sounds incredibly cliche. So I went ahead and took all kinds of sugar skulls with different shapes to the skull itself and made one of my own. After that, I was literally just doodling on the skulls (I’ve attached an image of the original tattoo design). I wanted to make something filled with detail, something intricate and feminine.

The design took me a couple weeks since I’m constantly working on more than one project at the same time but when it was finally finished, she was ecstatic. We were both immensely excited to tattoo it but as you might know, if a tattoo isn’t big enough, too much detail will look like a blurred mess in a few years so we agreed to take out a lot of the little detail. It broke my heart a bit to take away some of the design but we both feel it was worth it in the end. We’re both very pleased with the results and so are a bunch of other people.”

That’s an excellent story and we appreciate you sharing this unique, and lesser heard, perspective on this wonderful tattoo.  Visit our Pinterest.com/DeadDeco location to see the original artwork for this piece.  Thank you to Jazmin and Jade for joining us on this fine Tat Tues.

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