Lydia Madrid has quickly become one of the most sought-after artists in Spain, despite having a mere three years of tattooing under her belt. She’s developed a dedicated cult of followers, who’ve come to covet her stunning lady head tattoos, which showcase talents and technical application far beyond her years. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the talented tattooer to learn how she developed her signature style and why she prefers to tattoo exclusively in black-and-grey.
When did you first pursue a career in tattooing and which artists were influential in your decision to become a tattooer?
The first time I considered becoming a tattooist was when I was 16 years old, but I continued with the artistic baccalaureate and I forgot about the idea. Then three years ago, when I was 19 years old, I went to Barcelona to learn how to tattoo. I spent a little over a year and a half going to conventions and seeing tattoos being done before I was ready to start. At first, I was very interested in color, but in the end I started doing dotwork and blackwork. I have to admit that today, I still get a lot of requests to do color and I would like to try it out someday.
How would you describe your signature style and how have you developed it over time?
The truth is that I don’t know how I’ve developed my style. When I started, I promised myself never to make faces of women, since I was afraid of making a mistake and that it would be bad. Today, I make tattoos of women’s faces everyday. What I usually say about my style is that it’s very clean and elegant. I really like the simplicity, contrast and making faces of women, especially when they’re tucked inside objects.
Why do you tattoo exclusively in black-and-grey?
I only tattoo in black-and-grey because I think it's elegant. As I’ve mentioned before, I really like color but I like black more. It transmits simplicity, elegance and forcefulness.
What’s your secret to packing saturated blacks into your tattoos?
I use a magnum and depending on the skin, I take out the needle more or less, doing this slowly and with patience.
Why lady heads? What’s been your favorite lady head thus far?
I love the feminine beauty and the peculiar women with different features. For me, women encompass many things: elegance, simplicity, purity, love and sensuality. That's why I love doing them so much.
One of my favorite women was a geisha with a dragon on her neck, as well as a self-portrait that I made for my love.
What’s your favorite place you’ve been able to travel to through tattooing?
I haven’t traveled much at the moment, but I have been able to go to Paris and London. I would love to go to Australia, Japan and India.
What advice were you given as an aspiring tattooer and how have you applied it to your career?
One of the best pieces of advice that I was given was that if I was patient and applied myself, that I would enjoy it with love and affection. Because that is how things work best, when you do it out of love and with love. And I think that in the moment I'm doing that, and I hope to be able to evolve and discover new things.
When you hear the phrase, ‘the future of tattooing,’ what comes to mind and how do you see yourself fitting into it?
Hopefully I fit into the future of tattooing. I think that tattooing is spreading and society increasingly respects the world of tattooing and what it encompasses.
I believe that tattooing has a big future, since everyday it evolves and different styles are created. There are clients who are becoming real art galleries.
Where do you hope to be in one year’s time?
I hope to continue having clients who trust in my work and support from my colleagues in this profession. I would also love to travel this year and be able to evolve in my work, meet new people and continue to enjoy my profession.
Follow Lydia Madrid on Instagram @lydiamadriid