Female tattooist illustrates hip hop icons with stunning photorealism
Last year Instagram launched their #MyStory campaign; an initiative aiming to highlight the work of exceptional and talented women on the platform.
Chavez's journey to tattoo artistry started with a decision made after eight years working as a graphic designer: That her love of drawing was a passion she wanted to make priority.
Considering herself as an artist generally, Chavez says that her tattooing is what finally allowed her to express that art. But it's not just her killer tattoos that are earning her a dedicated following, Chavez's pencil portraits of hip hop icons are truly stunning.
The tattoo industry is largely a male-dominated one, but Chavez says this motivates her to do her best work.
"If anything, it makes me want to step up my game to show that females can do it just as well as males," she told Mashable.
That drive to succeed hasn't made her exempt from the occasional misgendering of her work. "I've had a few people tell me, at first they thought I was a guy just from looking at my work. I don't like that."
Check out her stunning tattoo work below:
However, transitioning careers after almost a decade as a graphic designer was much easier than Chavez expected it to be.
One meeting with a studio owner and an apprentice vacancy was all it took.
"Lucky for me, they were looking for a new apprentice at the time. I couldn't afford to do it full time so I went to the studio every Saturday to learn while freelancing Monday to Friday as a designer. A year and a half later, I was tattooing full time," she said.
Chavez sketches intricate and intensely detailed portraits before committing the art to a body. One of the benefits of taking to paper, before skin, is the freedom from time constraints: "I guess because I can take my time when drawing on paper.
"My Erykah Badu piece for example took around 30 hours to complete. You need to have a lot of patience that's for sure! Tattooing a portrait takes me between five to eight hours depending on how much detail is involved."
Growing up listening to rap and RnB, Chavez found drawing the artists she loved sparked a passion from a young age.
"I grew up listening to hip hop ... and have always loved drawing portraits of hip hop icons. I love capturing detail and like challenging myself with highly detailed pieces to push myself to get better."
Instagram has played a huge role in exposing Chavez to a global audience. "My followers have doubled in the last year and most of the tattoo inquiries I get are from people who have come across my Instagram."
A global reach does come with a cost, however. "I've had people post my actual tattoo pics claiming it were theirs," she said.
As for her involvement with the global #MyStory project, Chavez said she was drawn to the idea of promoting a community of female creators.
"I loved what the campaign was about. Women using Instagram to tell their stories. Following their passions and breaking barriers and stereotypes," she said.
"Showing that we really can do whatever we put our minds to."