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Katherine Flores - A Walking Temple of Art
Katherine Flores first got interested in tattoos at age 14, when she got a matching tattoo with her mother. Though Katherine had been an artist from a young age, she found tattoo art particularly appealing, having great appreciation for the way the body was used as an open canvas that went to all corners of the world and encountered all walks of life. Katherine sees the body as a temple, and you can decorate it with what means most to you You appreciate it more, because you sacrifice the pain.
URBAN INK: There are several portraits on youyour thigh, your ribs, hand. What is your relationship with the people inked on your skin?
Katherine Flores: The portrait on my thigh is a portrait of my mother, who I owe a lot to and feel thankful for. She is my motivation, and its the most meaningful tattoo on my body. The portrait on my side is my baby brother, my pride and joy. The tattoo on my hand is a cartoon version of the Virgin Mary that I drew and tattooed on myself.

What does it say on your back, below the nude woman on the cloud?
On my lower back I have loyalty written in bold text. Its very important to be loyal to yourself and those who deserve it. It doesnt really complement the nude woman on my back, only for the fact that she represents temptation.

In reference to the dead cartoon bird on your neck, does that have a significant meaning to it?
Its actually a dead lovebird. Its very meaningful to me, because I got it done after a horrible relationship with my ex-husband. Birds are beautiful, free creatures, but even something like love can kill you and break you down. Even though its a dying bird, it symbolizes strength to me.

Your photo shoot is pretty heavily graffiti-based, and in one picture, youre holding a can of spray paint. Do you do a lot of graffiti art and murals?
I dont do much graffiti art. I tried it a couple times when I was younger, and it is an art medium that I admire a lot.

When you tattoo portraits, do you ever feel added pressure, as opposed to other kinds of tattoos, considering youre putting someones loved one on skin permanently?
I believe tattooing itself is always somewhat of a pressure, but when I do portraits, Im like a little, excited kid. I love the challenge, and I get so concentrated into what Im doin that I dont think much about the pressure.

Are you a self-taught ink slinger or did you go through a formal apprenticeship at a shop?
Im actually self-taught. I started out with a homemade machine when I was 14, and it was very natural to me. Of course with practice, I got better and learned some more. I got some tips by other artists, but I wish I would have had an apprenticeship. It would have cut me a lot of time.

A lot of women, especially women of color, have stated that they have an especially heavy burden to represent and set examples. Do you ever feel, being categorized in more than minority group, like you have a responsibility to, for lack of a better term, pave the way to open doors for women of color in the tattoo industry?
For a woman alone, its very hard to get respect in the tattoo industry. I know it was very hard for me at the beginning, because a lot of people lacked confidence in my potential, but that made me try harder to prove them wrong. To this day, I still get the evil eye from some artists, and that makes me feel categorized, but sorry boys, us girl can rock this too! I do have to give a special thanks to the shop owner, Chico, for believing in me as a female artist and fighting and motivating me to be the best that I can be.

If I were to fully look through your portfolio, what type of tattoo would I most likely get from you? What styles are you most proficient in?
I dont like to categorize my style, because I like to do it all, but you can say Im most proficient in realism, black and grey or color. I also enjoy drawing new school designs as well. bytatubaby
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