Skip to main content

David Cata Takes Body Art To a Whole New Level


Many people view their bodies as canvases. For those with tattoos, that's a pretty common idea. But Spanish artist David Cata uses his body as a canvas in a way you've never seen. In his series "A Flor de Piel"—meaning "Under the Skin"—Cata uses a needle and colored thread to sew portraits of people who have impacted his life. He considers the project to be a sort of autobiography, but instead of written in ink on paper, his story is embroidered onto the palm of his hand.

"The body is the support of our life," Cata explains on his website. "It reflects our environment and experiences. Everyone we know makes us somehow."

Cata reflects those who have made him who he is—including friends, family and teachers—on his body in a very literal sense. "Their lives become part of ours. Every moment spent remains in the memory and pass into oblivion. This fact is somewhat painful since there are only material things and traces that people leave behind," Cata says. The artist also translates that pain and those "traces" quite literally when he rips the threaded portraits from his skin once he's finished. In the gallery below, you can see photos of the finished work as well as the scars that the portraits leave behind.

The purpose of "A Flor de Piel," Cata says, is to be a performative and symbolic action of loss; the oblivion of a loved one.

Flip through the gallery below to see his portraits of the loved ones who impacted David Cata's life.