TATU-aje was the multicultural tattoo event of the year; mas Chingon! This past Saturday September 12, 2015, Exodus Events and Plaza de la Raza joined forces and executed the perfect way to celebrate the passion and dedication to beautifying our bodies with ink. This was the first time I have attended an event like this; where a mixture of different cultures, tastes in music and art styles stood strong and proud along side instead of overlapping each other. The respect among the artists, tattoo artists and performers was mutual and I must say this was one of the main reasons this event was such a success. And of course we were all there because we all have one thing in common; the love for tattoos! The A-list of performers and celebrities such as Danny Trejo and Tatu along with their host Mike Flores; made it a memorable night for the fans to remember. No one does it better than The West Coast. The event attracted over 4,000 people and raised $9,000 towards funding Plaza de la Raza so we can all say that it was a successful night for Lincoln Heights.
As we walked to Plaza de la Raza on a hot summer night with my love Pryer One, we were welcomed to the venue with a few choppers and low riders. It almost felt as if we were walking up to these vatos getting ready for a cruise night thru our beautiful city of Los Angeles. I must say that although we arrived early, the venue was completely in full force and packed. The red carpet with its photo shoot backdrop of sponsors gave it the perfect touch of exclusiveness as the guests arrived. Most of the night I kept going back to the entrance of the venue; as many more celebrities, artists and beautiful fans took pictures. I did not want to miss a familiar face to capture for my followers to see. And as always, my first stop was straight to the gallery which was curate by legendary Freddy Negrete. And there it was, our brother Trigz at the entrance of the art gallery show welcoming us and reminded us that he is also here with us as he had been years before with his crew members and tattoo partners. This amazing Trigz portrait by our young and talented artist Isaac Pelayo, he is and a such a humble artist and you all know how much I love and respect humble individuals. I truly enjoyed the gallery layout, and one thing we can all agree on is that the frames used for every piece of work were elegant and made the entire show appear mysterious and tasteful for the eyes. One of my favorite piece was of our brother Big Flaks SKA Mob, it is an iconic picture that can be seen as the ultimate form of respect to this talented tattoo artist and graffiti writer; Pryer must have felt like a proud Papa that night. Not only Big Flaks, but Phowl and Big Gus are also part of his crew so it was a special moment for us to view all art. Firme way to begin our evening, being welcomed by Trigz and seeing the works of our friends made us feel right at home along with every tattoo lover.
As the night progressed and as we realized we were outnumbered by bikers, pin-up beauties and rockabilly’s more Graffiti writers began to arrive, our friend Saul Mora and his beautiful lady Kim, Jackie Boy, Huero, Young Chavo, Tyson and many of the SKA crew members made their presence known as well as the Seventh Letter fellas. Always good times with my family! Shout out to Mona Lisa too! Haven’t seen you in a minute girl. Also, got to hang out again with Susie Cue, we all know her for her skills in body art as well as canvas work. You did a great job that night; it came out really nice. I also got to hang out with dear friend Eriberto Oriol, I always enjoy his conversation because he is always open to teach you and share great experiences with me. I learned about not being intimidated on the equipment of a camera but to have the eye for it. It is meaningless to walk around snapping pictures if you cannot capture the emotions of the people; thank you Eriberto for the great advice. It was a bit interesting for me to walk around with a professional camera because as opposed to feeling as a writer; I felt the pressure of a photographer. Which we all know I am not and it was interesting as how intimidated I felt as I saw other photographers doing their magic. But hey, at the end of the day, I was able to know I was among the best, Pocho photography, Eriberto Oriol and among other great photographers; please do not judge my amateur pictures of you guys!.
But one of the best spots to hang out at was the stage, the live performances were so awesome, the crowd went wild all night long. Another great touch was the all female tattoo competition that was going on throughout the event, I think that was a smart way to balance out the male dominant presence of artists and performer as I did not se too many female artists as part of the gallery show. Hopefully next year we have more ladies participating, step it up ladies, the opportunities are there.
The presence of the Wardrobe divas were also there and they are such energetic and approachable ladies to talk to; you are all so beautiful and love how you are turning our subculture and style into high fashion. And that is something important for us all to learn about this night, yes it was a festivity of tattoos and art but it is deeper than that because if you step back and see that this movement was not always accepted. These styles of fashion were not presentable to society, especially being covered in tattoos; one can easily get discriminated against. One can be easily be judged by appearances without even having the opportunity to show who we are as humans and I think this was the perfect way to show how much this subculture has grown, the acceptance and respect given to these tattooed creative individuals is a step closer to lose judgment on others. I must say that overall this TATU-aje event kicked ass, the art, the music, the celebrities and the ambient will be talked about and remembered forever!
Thank you Antonio Pelayo and Natily Gonzalez for allowing me to document yet another proud moment of being Chingones Chicanos. I Love our Cultura. And a big shout out to everyone that hung out with me and showed me love, Lea Monique it was a treat to see you again! Please enjoy the gallery of photos from this firme night in Lincoln Heights!
Much Love & Respect,
Monica Smiles Tobon