Meet the Kink Positive Chicanx Artist Tamara Santibañez

Meet the Kink Positive Chicanx Artist Tamara Santibañez

Sprinkled with black work tattoos and working as one of the busiest and most in-demand artists in Brooklyn, Tamara Santibañez is definitely a femspiration.

Not only is Santibañez an artist at Saved Tattoo, she also creates incredible hyper-realistic drawings and runs a publishing house called Discipline Press. Pretty impressive for someone in their late 20s, right? She definitely stays busy, to say the least.

Living between LA and Brooklyn, Santibañez works largely with kink imagery, as well as Chicano symbols in her tattoos and in her personal visual practice; punks, whips, chains, and dominating figures infiltrate the artist’s portfolio.

Growing up in Georgia is where Santibañez’s early punk beginnings are rooted. Her knowledge of Chicago politics introduced her to zine culture and the Latino community that thrived within this sub-culture. Because of her early ties to DIY publications, it’s no surprise that her independent publishing house in Brooklyn became a central, and natural, project for her to facilitate. The website describes the publishing house as being “inspired by the intersection of the personal and political in creative expression, and focuses on art, subculture, and sexuality.” By publishing “artists, activists, radicals, and subcultural icons,” Discipline is another platform for young individuals to creatively spread their message and narrative.

Tamara Santibañez‘s visual practice, outside of her tattooing, exemplifies the textures of flesh, skin, bondage, and the riveting world of BDSM. Her September show at Slow Culture in Los Angeles displayed abstracted compositions, all in black, of leather that was folded, creased, and collapsed. The physical and sexual implications of bondage are obvious.

In an interview with Beautiful Bizarre, Santibañez said, “The world of kink is also a comfortable place for me because folks are well versed in communication and negotiation, good consent practices and boundaries — obviously crucial if you are engaging in things that can be emotionally loaded or physically risky — but it is unbelievable to me that the world at large has not applied that type of communication to sex in general. I am enamored of how complex sexuality is and am constantly learning new things. I am also unsurprisingly drawn to the taboo so if you tell me not to do something I’m going to want to try it.”

One drawing displays a variety of leather items: a jacket, a whip, gloves, and leather padded handcuffs. The scene is laid out for the viewer; there is no denying the tension that comes with these chosen pieces. Their tangibility and their reflective material is hyper-realistic and they are disassociated from their intentional purpose. In her project, “Landscapes,” the artist references the sexiness of black leather but has cropped the viewers perception, only giving them a sense of what they are looking at. The title of the large-scale painting series also leads the viewer to believe they are looking at a black and white image of a landscape, a vision of a dark mountain, not a material thing that is worn and tossed on the ground.

The abstract quality to Santibañez‘s paintings and drawings are personal and intimate. The subject that she chooses reveals her sexual desires, while the intense detail depicts the closeness to the material, to the leather.

You can keep up with the love of bondage and Tamara Santibañez‘s work on Instagram.