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De La Tira a La Mira, art, soul and redemption

The Pachuco Cross, La Virgencita, Smile Now & Cry Later (comedy and tragedy masks), naked hynas (women), and letterring, lots and lots lettering, Old English and script. Those are some of the most emblematic images of the Chicano style that the tattoo world has come.

From Tijuana to Tokyo, we recognize that distinct iconography as it is replicated in tattoo parlors across the globe. But where did it all start, in the Varrios across Aztlan (Southwestern United States), or inside in “la Pinta” (prison).

On skin, the tattoos are traditionally are done using a single needle to try and capture that “prison look”. Where as inside, the homeboys would use a sharpened guitar string as a needle on a prison or homemade machine. Life on “La Tira” is immortalized through murals, one of Mexicans favorite forms of artistic expression.

But arguably the most the most iconic is the “Paño”, dating back to the middle of the 20th century in the California penal system. Made on linen, mostly with a ballpoint, the techniques may vary, but the origin of the smooth “powder shading realism” will always be from La Pinta. Kiki Platas

14th-16th of April 2023

Messe Forum Frankfurt

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