There’s this one specific memory I have of my dad, my sister, and me on a camping trip in the middle of hill country Texas, near a reservation called Dinosaur Valley State Park — where as you probably guessed — dinosaurs once roamed the earth. It was a stiflingly hot summer day, as my sister and I posed in front of an ancient dinosaur footprint along the bank of the Paluxy River, as a beaver carcass rotted a few dozen feet away, the smell wafting in the dry summer air — my dad pausing for a moment to roll the disposable camera to its next available piece of film. Click.
It’s a moment, albeit an incredibly random moment, I’ll never forget. And on the off chance that I ever decide to get that rotting beaver carcass tattooed on me one day, artist Violeta Arus would be the obvious choice. Creating beautiful, lasting memories with her fine lined illustrative tattoos, she creates tiny glimpses into the past through incredible attention to detail, weaving all of the intricacies of the story into a tiny tattoo.
Based out of Madrid, Arus’ tattoos deal heavily with both human and animal subjects, often incorporating the two into the same image. Taking cues from what we can only hope are precious memories, she uses incredibly fine lines to create a lived in feel to each and every piece, as if she’s somehow dusting each tattoo with emotion. Through ultra delicate needle strokes that almost mimic a fine tipped graphite pencil, Arus gives the illusion that maybe these images have been ripped from a diary or journal entry from years past. A mother or perhaps a sister is seen carrying a small child piggyback style through a meadow, leaving us with a sense of comfort and safety. A father or uncle teaches a young girl to fish among the damp, muddy shores of a lake, galoshes and lily pads anchoring the scene.
We can never go back to a specific moment in time, only reflect on it in earnest nostalgia, and although we can never fully relive it, we can take a bit of it with us in the form of a tattoo. In this way, Arus’ work is a sort of cathartic recollection of youth, the supreme detail and beautiful familiarity allowing us a glimpse into the past, kites, piggyback rides, natural phenomena and all.