Artists: Natalie Ariana Cruz
What year did you start tattooing: 2011
Do you have any special training: I did a semester at Pratt institute in Manhattan and found it completely immersive in art. Its was amazing! well worth the time. This would be the only formal art training I've received to date. Most of the techniques i've learned came from watching and doing, or reading books and testing it out on paper. I would love to take more courses in art just to learn new techniques and try something new. You can't go wrong if you try right?
Tell us about the style of your work: My style is like realism blended with traditional bold line work and sweet evil all wrapped up with a nice pink bow. I love taking something that is real and putting bold colors and textures to make it into something you can get lost into.
Conventions usually worked: Villain Arts Philadelphia tattoo convention
Visionary Arts tattoo festival Asbury Park
Where did you apprentice?: At first I didn't apprentice. But I didn't do a good tattoo until I did! I apprenticed at Blackwork Tattoo Studio in Little Falls, New jersey. My father owns the shop so I had been raised around the tattoo world. So far the shop has been in business for 17 years.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Although our style of tattooing is Completely different, I completely admire Horiyoshi III.
Valerie Vargas has been a great inspiration to me. Marie Sena, Kelly Dotty, Boog Brown, And most of all my father, Ses Con, Super dope work and growing up around all these awesome artist has shown me how much hard work and passion pay off
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: I always tell my clients, "At the end of the day, you have to wear it, Not me, not your best friend, mom or dad, you, If you love it, get it, if you doubt your design once, walk away."
How did you get into tattooing: When I was 12 my father gave me a tattoo machine for my birthday, this really was the starting point in my love for tattooing. On my 13th birthday I did my first tattoo on my aunt. I began tattooing my cousins, friends, and a bunch of other people from my hometown, Paterson. My father didn't know i was tattooing out of the house, so when he found out he was furious. The moment he found out he worked his magic and had me working at the shop at 14. When I was younger i would watch him tattoo and ask him questions, but what i needed to learn was technique. When i was 15 i Officially started tattooing at Blackwork Tattoo Studio. I was the youngest and the only girl working at the shop and it was intense and definitely worth every minute. Im currently 18 and working on expanding my style of art.
What inspires you to be an artist: Wow . So many things! As an artist, I want to be better and I can be my own worst critic so inspiration comes from all around me. Nature, fashion, religion, culture, even touching base with other peoples lives. The women that I draw are inspired based on alter egos. Things that are inside of me or perhaps other women. I have an alter ego named Amelia who is completely my opposite from head to toe. Some days the weather inspires me and other times are dreams do the work for me.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: I enjoy doing pinup heads, black and grey realism, and my own style of color bombing.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I really want to do a portrait. I love the beauty of black and grey tattoo work and i think portraits show that all too well.