When Mariana (fictitious name) entered Raquel Perez’s studio, there was a different challenge for the tattoo artist. I was a fan of the way he drew flowers and wanted to use them to hide the burn marks on his arm. Despite hesitation, the professional accepted the request.
“The process was natural. I just have to give more indications and the design on paper doesn’t always match what you see on the skin in reality. Then he used the different tones of the injury as shadows to give dimension to the illustration that camouflaged the accident.”
In the end, they were both emotional. “I will never forget the moment you told me that I changed the way you look at your body. He told me that he could now see himself in the mirror and wear shirts. Everyone who saw her would never have imagined that this beautiful girl was not confident in her image.
since then, The 30-year-old dedicates herself to tattooing people who have any scars to hide or hide, from accidents to cases of self-harm. He receives all types of clients and provides them with free service so that they can regain the self-respect they lost due to brands.
“It’s art that helped me a lot.”
She explained that unlike many professionals in the field, tattooing “wasn’t something I wanted to do since I was little.” Raquel started out working as a designer in fashion communications until she realized she wasn’t coping well with the routine. “I have anxiety issues and being in front of a computer wasn’t ideal for my mental health.”
However, he decided to take a break and wanted to learn something new. When he tried tattooing as a hobby in 2017, he knew he wanted to keep going. In addition to the freedom of schedule, I can combine art, communication with people and the world of aesthetics.
After the artificial skin, she scored her first business with her current husband, Rodrigo, who works as a body piercer. He designed an old school style glass bottle. “He loved experimental drawings and didn’t care if he made a mistake. The guinea pig had to be someone with fewer requirements,” he recalls.
In October of that year, he began tattooing his friends at home. At the time, there was only one studio in Viana do Castelo, where Raquel worked, and the team was not receptive to taking on interns. When orders began to pile up, in 2019, he replaced his private office with a studio of the same name.
“Getting a tattoo creates a feeling of focus that I don’t think about anything else. It’s great for those who feel anxious,” he says. “It’s an art that helped me a lot, and I also wanted to teach others how to deal with their emotional or mental challenges.”
“I’ve never dealt with so much mental illness.”
After Mariana’s case, the number of people searching for this service began to increase with the artist. People talked among themselves, and thanks to word of mouth, there were new weekly instances of people with brands with stories behind them – some liked to be told by others, others didn’t feel comfortable.
“There is a part of the scar with keloids (excessive formation of fibrous tissue) and without keloids. In the first case, you need a medical permit and a tattoo must be done around the scar, because it is likely to change color or size,” he explains.
However, there are other conditions. If the injury is very recent, the skin is not yet stable to receive the needles, and in the case of cancer treatment, the body must be made available to receive the ink. It usually takes a period of no less than five years.
One of the biggest difficulties is managing expectations about what can be done depending on the problems. “I can’t promise a very precise design, with fine lines, on some scars. Sometimes, I have two extra layers of skin and the technique has to adapt to what the person wants.
In 2020, when Raquel spent time working in Belgium, she realized that most of her colleagues didn’t like working with scars. When he noticed this gap, “because the visual result is not the same as the normal result,” he realized that he could explore this area.
“The most I did was cover up the scars from self-harm. I never dealt with as much mental illness as I did when I was there., he remembers. “Many of them were people who had self-destructive tendencies when they were teenagers, and they realized that branding was a problem on a professional level. Others wanted a reminder not to do it again.”
Origin of Cicatrizart
When she returned to Portugal in 2022, the tattoo artist wanted to bring the power of this service to her studio. That year, he launched the “Ciaatrizarte” project, in which he offers a free monthly tattoo to a person who tells his story, the idea, and how long ago he was injured.
The scar can be on any part of the body, of any size and on any part of the body. There’s no limit to size or colours, as long as they fit Raquel’s style of work – traditional, fresh, thick lines. The only requirement is that the wound be more than two years old.
As part of this initiative, new stories have emerged. “I was visited by a client who tagged me after being hospitalized for self-harm. When I got the tattoo, I went back to rehab later and had to go through recovery again. I was 20 and felt a huge emotional burden.”
Later he heard the story of a suicide that did not come true. The person survived, but sustained multiple injuries. “I have access to very difficult experiences, but also less aggressive experiences. There are people who come to me because they had a bike accident and they come for aesthetic reasons.
The tattoo artist also takes care of clients with darker skin, as they require extra care. If there is more melanin, there is also a greater tendency to form keloids. Therefore, it is necessary to use fine needles that penetrate the most sensitive skin to reduce the skin response.
“There is some bias in this business. Not because of the person, but because of the idea that it won’t look good and the client will come back to touch up several times,” he concludes. “Many professional colleagues avoid it because it’s not healthy skin. What moves me is not the scar, but the story behind it.
You can learn more about Raquel Perez’s work through it page From Instagram. Take advantage of this opportunity and click through the gallery to see examples of some of your tattoos.
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