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The Electric Sun Tattoo Studio is joining the Mandrake Fine Art & Botanica Gallery to officially introduce the two businesses in a grand opening event Saturday, Feb. 8, 3 to 8 p.m. at 501 ½ E. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.
Tattoo artist Katie Mena’s work has a self-styled vintage look, with a focus on fine-line work, much of which is plant-based. Her custom and flash designs are often floral in nature as she creates detailed drawings which she then carefully works with her clients to wrap and textualize on their skin, bringing each work to life.
“Wrapping changes the whole thing,” she said. “The whole thing kind of changes on the skin, it’s not flat. When I create a design, I’m not just looking at form but also at how cohesive it is. Seeing it wrapped on the body, seeing it three dimensional, that’s so different than just seeing it on a flat piece of paper.”
She said the most important aspect of her art is deciding the placement for the work on the body and working with each client to determine what size it will be.
Mena has been working on some simple floral flash pieces for the opening, she said, adding that customers will be able to reserve a design, make an appointment and put down a deposit. Once she does a design for a client, no matter how small, she won’t do it again.
“You don’t want to come across someone with the same tattoo,” she said.
She said she won’t be tattooing people during the event.
In high school, Mena said she started getting into drawing and painting and soon became fascinated with tattooing. Soon she just ordered some machines and started tattooing friends.
“It was a terrible idea, and I didn’t know what I was doing, so I stopped,” she said. “Then I rediscovered that interest and found an opportunity for it when a local artist offered an apprenticeship. It was a perfect time in my life where I was working, but I still had time to do it and it’s a big investment in time and money, but for that year it just all lined up perfectly.”
Mena completed her apprenticeship two years ago but continued working out at Camino Tattoo until late 2019. She was worried about “stepping on toes” of other tattoo shops in the area but has found that community welcoming and supportive, partly because she has her own distinctive style that is not available from anyone else.
Customers at Electric Sun can expect a relaxed experience. Mena doesn’t want people to come to her door and expect work to be done immediately and fast.
“That’s not how I work at all,” she said. “Let’s have some tea. In this space, I’m trying to find a balance of cozy and home and a clean and sterile and professional area.”
Follow Mena’s work at elctricsunlc on twitter or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elva K. Österreich may be reached at email@example.com.