Laura Anunnaki grew up in Mexico City, but every day she was transported halfway around the world through her love of anime. Today, as a world-renowned tattoo artist, she blends her appreciation for Japanese kawaii aesthetics with her Mexican heritage to create a style that’s all her own. We caught up with Anunnaki to learn about her start in tattooing, how she curated her iconic style and designing her dream magical-girl anime.
How did you go about learning how to tattoo? Did you have an apprenticeship or are you self-taught?
I got into the tattoo world like most people do—by getting tattooed. I’ve loved drawing all my life as a hobby, so when I decided to get my first tattoo I had a problem choosing a tattoo artist due to my personality and my own artistry. So even when I wasn’t thinking of becoming a tattoo artist, I started drawing tattoo designs for myself and my friends with my style. I ended up getting my designs tattooed on me by other artists and that's how I started to get a little bit of attention and support from some local tattoo artists.I ended up working part-time as an assistant in a tattoo studio while I was in high school in the hopes of becoming an apprentice. There I got to learn about the basics like booking appointments and proper sterilization, but I never had an apprenticeship.After watching tattoo artists working from up close, I fell in love with this world and in that moment I knew I would do anything to become a tattoo artist. I started going to tattoo conventions, taking seminars and searching for anything I could on the internet—everything was self-taught. But I think one of the things that helped me the most was drawing a lot of tattoo designs and posting them on Instagram and Facebook since my style was new and innovative at that time. Many of my friends and people on the internet supported my journey by getting my designs tattooed.
How did you create your signature tattoo style? How would you describe your style?
I’ve always loved sparkles, bright colors, precious stones and fantasy characters. When I started tattooing, I wanted to offer something new. I love the contrast of opposites and a few years ago girly and feminine things were something that people couldn’t relate to in tattooing. I wanted my tattoos to look badass and cool, but magical and cute at the same time. My style is a mixture of Japanese kawaii culture—referring to the magical girls, Japanese food and anime themes—but then there is also the influence of my Mexican background. My heritage is where all those colors come from, the touches of brightness, powerful feminine characters, precious stones, light effects and whimsical fantasy elements. I believe an artist’s tattoo style is a reflection of their personality, so I think it’s hard for me to describe my style or put a name on it.
What are some of your favorite anime or cartoons to pull inspiration from?
Of course, the one and only “Sailor Moon.” Its aesthetic is iconic and has been so inspirational for me. Some of the strongest influences in my art are the anime from my childhood, like “Pokémon,” “Digimon,” “Cardcaptor Sakura,” “Madoka Magica” and “Dragon Ball Z.” I still watch anime and I think I always will.
What’s an anime or cartoon that you haven’t tattooed yet that you’d like to do?
I want to tattoo so many characters from “Demon Slayer.” I love the animation, character design and story of that anime. I also want to do a couple more tattoos inspired by Junji Ito’s master artwork, Ghibli-inspired pieces and Zero Two from “DARLING.” I wish I had more time to do all the ideas I have in mind.
What’s your secret for creating realistic glitter in your tattoos?
Observing how the glitter looks in real life and trying to emulate it! That’s how I mastered tattooing jewels as well, because if you love something you can spend hours watching it, and drawing it helps you to understand how it looks.
If you could design your own anime, what would it be about?
It would definitely be about magical girls. It would have a lot of violence, a dark and creepy background but cute aesthetic, a lot of badass weapons with ribbons and glitters and very cute sidekicks with big fangs and cute eyes. Then there would be tattoos on the characters that show their inner powers and cute but sexy outfits worthy of a magical girl.