Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Verónica Vázquez Papaleo

With the internet being so easy to access, it has become easier for independent artists to find an audience and let their work be known. As a result, a variety of movements, collectives, and scenes have found a way to pave their path. The independent art scene in Puerto Rico is no different. Recently, many artists from a variety of disciplines have found platforms that have made it easier for them to share their work. In addition, small businesses such as Electroshock in Santurce and Rio Piedras, bars like Off The Wall in Mayaguez, and libraries like La Casita Books and Gifts in Aguadilla have provided up-and-coming artists a space to display their talents. “Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene” is a series of  interviews that provides a glimpse at some of the women who have recently gained recognition in the art scene. Though the artists are asked similar questions, some are asked questions surrounding their work, specifically.


Verónica Vázquez Papaleo is a tattoo artist who has been into visual arts since she was a child. She studied Graphics Arts and Sculpture in the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan. However, she started tattooing at around 16 or 17 and fell in love with it immediately.


(Vázquez Papaleo, in the middle. Picture found on Heidy Blair’s Facebook page.)


How did you develop your style and how has it evolved through the years?

There were many things that made me want to be a tattoo artist. However, one of the those that made me want to do it was a terrible experience a woman very close to me had. Ever since then I decided to dedicate and focus my work to women. Not only do I dedicate it to those who want tattoos, but those who work or want to work in the field too. To make all of this happen, I decided to start working from my home, creating a space of love and security for said women. To this day, the concept has helped me meet people who have slowly become friends and many with a variety of stories to share.


(some recent work done by the artist as found on her Instagram)


What do you think about the current state of visual arts in Puerto Rico?

They help me grow every day. I am very grateful for how they help me grow as an artist and a person.


(some recent work done by the artist as found on her Instagram)


If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to be an artist, what would be your advice for her?

My vision has a lot on the way, but no matter what happens I will always try my best to aid young artists. I would push them so they can work hard thus helping them create or find their vision.


(some recent work done by the artist as found on her Instagram)


What is your biggest goal right now?

Having my space at home does not take away for my wanting to have my own safe and secure space for tattooing, thought it does not necessarily need to have the name “tattoo shop.” Basically, the goal would be to have another space filled with love and respect where I can dedicate fully dedicate my time to tattooing.


Find Verónica Vázquez Papaleo on Instagram