Chicago-based tattoo artist Esther Garcia creates inky black backgrounds on her clients, which are interspersed with delicate floral designs. Sweet peas and garden roses, along with butterflies and birds, emerge from black palettes edged in stylized patterns. Garcia, who is largely self-taught and has twenty years of experience as a tattooer, is known for her lush botanical designs and her artistic project-based approach to tattooing. She shares with Colossal that her current series of black background tattoos began as a solution for cover-ups (a new tattoo deliberately designed and placed to obscure an older one that is no longer wanted).
“I found it meditative and very enjoyable to make a smooth saturated surface where there was chaos before, but pretty soon I was looking for ways to make it a bit more ornamental,” Garcia explains. “I am very influenced by Dutch master paintings of lush florals and fruit, and I love the depth and richness that a dark background offers. It turns out to be a great way to evoke delicacy in a tattoo, and doesn’t need to involve cover ups at all.”
In addition to continuing her tattoo practice, Garcia is also working on a textile and commercial design collaboration with Chicago designer Kyle Letendre, and a traveling workshop series to educate younger artists on cultivating a unique style and sustainable business. You can see more of Garcia’s tattoos on Instagram, and see what upcoming projects she has available on her website.