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Dog Person Cattooer: Interview with Tattoo Artist Chelsea Cortes

Dog Person Cattooer: Interview with Tattoo Artist Chelsea Cortes

Tattoo Artists3 min Read

Based in CDMX, Chelsea Cortes talks about becoming a tattooist, the beauty of Mexico City, and what inspires her cat tattoos.

Cat lovers everywhere will rejoice in Chelsea Cortés's cat tattoos that use bold black lines and pops of vivid color to capture cuteness. Puppy pals, don't fret! Chelsea also whips out funny and sweet depictions of various animals, and even ladies, all her in bold Illustrative style that's capturing hearts over at Station to Station.

In this interview, Chelsea Cortés talks about getting into tattooing, the inspiration behind her cattoos, and why Mexico City is the place to be.

How did you get into tattooing and were there any childhood moments that hinted at the artist you would become?

I started tattooing almost 3 years ago, thanks to my boyfriend, who took some of my drawings as reference for designs. His clients started to really like my style and he ended up encouraging me to finally start tattooing. There's a curious story about high school though, my friends and I had a place where I made fake tattoos on them with markers and pens, It was just a game but thinking about it in retrospect it all makes sense.

Cat tattoo by Chelsea Cortes aka xelkopt #ChelseaCortes #xelkopt #cattattoo #cattoo #illustrative #floral #bow #kimono

I love the anime and cartoon influence in your work! What cartoons, movies, artists or art movements inspire your work?

Thanks! I love taking references from childish stuff, my childhood was very colorful and full of toys, cartoons and movies from the 90's and 00's. Lately I've found myself loving asian merchandise, fashion and publicity, so I end up using random characters on anything that catches my attention really.

Lady with bunnies tattoo by Chelsea Cortes aka xelkopt #ChelseaCortes #xelkopt #bunny #rabbit #pink #star #girl #illustrative

What has your experience been like as an artist? What do you love about tattooing?

I consider myself lucky on my journey as a tattoo artist. I've always had people who helped me through difficult times and my family helped me a lot when I decided to leave art school to focus and dedicate myself 100% to this, luckily I also found spaces that allowed me to grow in a safe and comfortable environment. This has allowed me to do what I want from day one as people have trusted me to create their designs. Sometimes I can't believe that people go out of their ways to look for me and get one of my designs tattooed, it is really a dream come true.

What makes Mexico City such a great place to be an artist? What is the tattoo community like there? What makes Station to Station special?

This can be a tricky question so I'll go in parts. A couple of years in Mexico the stigma about having a tattoo started to disappear, a while back having a tattoo was related to coming from a bad background. But in the last 5 years or so this transitioned to be seen as a way of artistic expression, people started to look for something that identified them and Mexican artists offered a lot in this aspect. Mexico city and the country's biggest cities are naturally the most open to change, there's public for everyone, so the biggest challenge is to stand out as an artist.

During my experience within the community I've had a chance to hear from everyone and we are always looking for ways to improve, it's a healthy and competitive environment as we can always rely on each other when needed. Station to Station has been a very important platform for personal growth and visibility, it's a safe space to work and interact with my colleagues, they trust me and my work, so It feels like a second home to me.

Cat tattoo flash by Chelsea Cortes aka xelkopt #ChelseaCortes #xelkopt #cattattoo #cattoo #illustrative

What is the best advice you ever received? What is the best advice you feel you can give?

Good things take time! Practice a lot, and don't be afraid when tattooing. I would give you the same advice.

If you could only listen to one album, watch one movie, and read one book for the rest of your life...what would they be?

The hardest question ever! The album would be "Strangeways, here we come" by The Smiths, the movie definitely "Interstellar" By C. Nolan and the book would be "Tokyo Blues" by H. Murakami.

Pierrot tattoo by Chelsea Cortes aka xelkopt #ChelseaCortes #xelkopt #heart #pierrot #clown #illustrative #vintage

Beyond creating art, what are you passionate about?

Most of my hobbies are related to creating things, I like painting, designing clothes, bags and patches. I'm very passionate about my pets and traveling, even though we are living in a very confusing time for that.

Any projects, collaborations, or goals coming up in the future that you’d like to share?

Well at the moment life has decided to put a pause on us. However, when things calm down I'm hoping to create a brand with my characters and present myself to an international audience to reach many new places with my tattoos!

Justine Morrow
Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

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