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Tattoo Artists in Oaxaca, Mexico – Lawyer, Fine Arts Graduate Make Strange Bedfellows With Tatuadore

Background to Tattoos & Body Piercing in Oaxaca, Mexico, Through the Eyes of a Lawyer

Lawyer Kaireddyn (Kai) Orta began fabricating his own, rudimentary tools for making tattoos in 1996, while still in high school here in Oaxaca, Mexico. One day a neighbor velocityhousing saw him carrying a shoe box, and asked him what was in it. Kai showed him the adapted motor, needles, ink and other paraphernalia. The neighbor was the recipient of Kai’s first tattoo. Kai then began doing tattoos for his schoolmates.

Kai had been interested in tattoos (tatuajes) and body piercing (perforación) since boyhood. It was natural for him, since his father was a history teacher, constantly recounting stories of rituals of Mexico’s indigenous populations. There was no shortage of books around the house with images of pre-Hispanic peoples who were accustomed to self-adornment. Kai ate it up.

But throughout Kai’s youth, seeing tattoos in the flesh was a rarity. Aside from in books and occasionally coming across a tattooed person on TV, he would only have an opportunity to actually see real live people with tattoos and body piercings when he would catch a glimpse of mainly North American and European tourists walking the streets of downtown Oaxaca, a Mecca for international tourism.

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