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Telling Stories Visually: Tattoo Artist Jota Burgos

Being an artist is not easy. It requires skill to capture a set of features and emotions through different techniques, and attention to details both outside and inside perspectives. Additionally, the mind of an artist is constantly working on creating ideas that will ultimately turn into a piece that portrays a unique world.

An artist’s work includes choosing where to look, what to see, and what to think. To understand this work, I chatted with Jota Burgos, a Puerto Rican tattoo artist currently working at Omphvlos Tattoo Studio in Dorado, Puerto Rico. 

How do you describe what you do, and what does it require?

“For me, art is everything, everything that surrounds us, from a car made from scratch to the food a chef prepares in a restaurant. Creating and making art, for me, has to do a lot with how one is emotionally, what you saw or heard that inspired you to create that [work]. Being disciplined and focused are also essential to be consistent in this type of work.”

Why and how did you start making art, and what do you want to accomplish?

“Since I was young, I used to draw and spend time helping my mother, who is a teacher, in school things that she had to prepare. When I went to college I started studying engineering, but it didn't make me feel satisfied. I decided to study graphic design and there I started the path toward what I do today.

I’m looking forward to traveling to different parts of the world with my work, collaborating with important people, famous tattoo artists, or brands. Also, I think that the biggest goal I have right now is to continue growing as an artist and diversifying into other areas.”

Jota Burgos loves doing blackwork and dotwork, which are the kinds of tattoo styles he works with. Also, he leans toward those styles because he thinks he can work a lot with compositions, incorporating minimalism, surrealism, and botanical elements that give a harmonious taste to the art or the piece being worked on. 

How has your art evolved over the years?

“I could say that every day I learn something new, tattooing is something that you learn from every day because it is always a challenging art. One of my mentors, who still guides me, is Saree González. Since day one he always believed in my work and gave me advice. In terms of work styles, I really liked the European tattoo scene. I always spend time looking for who are the best ones in what I do there. I did it with the intention of motivating myself and for self-improvement in hopes of having my work at their same level. I also think that one of my biggest influences are the 80s, some pop culture and music, things that I always have in mind."

What would you tell the young Puerto Ricans who may be afraid of pursuing a career in the arts?

“To all the young people who have any fear in reaching a career, whether it is in the arts or in any other branch, as long as you are passionate about it and you want it bad enough, do it. The confidence you decided to have in yourself while you pursue what you want will lead you to achieve it. I did a thousand things and, at the end, I ended up doing what I knew I wanted to do since the first day: art. If you believe and if you want it, it will be given to you.”

Telling stories visually 

Jota Burgos’ favorite part of tattooing is how with elements, tastes or things that influence a person, he can create a story embodied in art—in this case, on the skin. He thinks that the moment you create something that tells a story or has some sort of a meaning for a client, you create an emotion that empathizes with the person.

He is also looking forward to continuing his works since it is something he loves, although he wouldn't refuse to dabble in other arts, including things that he already does, like photography. In fact, his biggest motivation for being a tattoo artist is looking at the final product and saying “Wow, I did that,” since it drives him to work harder everyday to be better. 

This way, Jota Burgos has kept his career going while he creates stunning pieces, including telling amazing stories with essence and simplicity through the art of tattooing.

Go take a look at his work on Instagram at @_jotaburgos!

Itzel Rivera is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She's studying Information & Journalism with the purpose of providing people the knowledge they need to educate themselves. Itzel aspires to execute her profession, values and principles in a way that it impacts society. Also, she loves lifting weights, studying and doing anything that will get her closer to her dreams!
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