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登録日: 2022年8月27日


Kaireddyn (Kai) Orta, now a successful lawyer, started building his own, crude tattoo equipment in 1996 while still a high school student in Oaxaca, Mexico. His next-door neighbor observed him carrying a shoe box one day and inquired as to its contents. Kai presented the customized motor, needles, and ink to him. Kai got his first tattoo from the neighbor. After that, Kai started giving his other students tattoos.

From a young age, Kai was fascinated by the art of tattooing and piercing. Since his dad was a history professor, he grew up hearing many of tales about the ancient ceremonies practiced by Mexico's native peoples, so it seemed only natural that he would do the same. Books depicting pre-Columbian societies that practiced extensive body art were plentiful. All of it was devoured by Kai.

Nonetheless, Kai seldom seen actual tattoos throughout his formative years. Only until he caught a glimpse of North American and European visitors strolling the streets of downtown Oaxaca, a Mecca for foreign tourism, would he encounter genuine individuals with tattoos and body piercings, other than in novels and sometimes on TV.

Tattooing and piercing were already well-established contemporary traditions in places like Canada, the United States, Spain, and Britain before they made their way to Mexico. It takes a decade or more for these depictions to gain traction in Mexico, particularly in the more remote and conservative areas like Oaxaca.

Until the pan-American highway was built in the late 1940s, the state of Oaxaca was cut off from the rest of Mexico and the rest of the globe. The hippie movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s introduced the idea of North American and European counter-cultures to southern Mexico, including tattoos and then body piercing. The occasional adventurer had made his way down to Oaxaca before then, but it was the hippie movement that really broke the ice. However, the general consensus amongst Mexico's middle classes was that their children shouldn't be exposed to the subcultures of other countries.

The year is now the 1990s. Oaxaca would start to show signs of transition. The Western world was starting to accept tattoos, piercings, and other non-conventional forms of body art as normal. It has become the norm for publications to include photos of pierced and tattooed Hollywood celebs. As a result, Oaxaca had to sit up and take note. Its elders had to come to terms with the fact that their grandchildren and, to a lesser extent, their children's ritualistic behavior was no longer automatically associated with something sneaky, filthy, and wrong because of the permanent alterations they made to their appearance via piercing and painting. Many members of the Oaxacan youth culture were gaining the analytical skills necessary to make sound choices, advocate for themselves, and take pride in their achievements as a result of their increased exposure to higher education.

Kai is a 30-year-old man. It just wasn't in him to be a lawyer. Already well-established as a tattoo and body piercing artist, although in a much more modest workshop, by the time he had graduated and seen the working world of lawyers (less than a year), he moved into his present digs. To add insult to injury, most attorneys in Oaxaca do not make enough money to support a middle class lifestyle, at least not by Western standards.

Tattoo Artists in Oaxaca, Mexico

Tattoo Artists in Oaxaca, Mexico

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