Esther Garcia Shares Expertise Through Tattoo Workshops and Consultations
When it comes to education and learning in the tattoo industry, most artists are on their own. After completing grueling apprenticeships and practicing their skills in low-on-the-totem-pole positions, tattoo artists generally find their rhythm and master their craft.
Because of the hard work and dedication it takes to acquire expertise, many tattooers are guarded about sharing techniques. But Esther Garcia is taking a different approach.
Esther Garcia Tattoo Workshops
“I have a lot of information to share, and it all feels so relevant that I recently began to look for ways to get it out to people,” says Garcia. “It feels like there is a lot of information missing out there, and there really is no use hoarding it. Different people will take the same information and do different things with it.”
The first workshop, titled “Illustrative Techniques in Tattooing” will take place on Sunday, March 10 at 12 p.m. In it, Garcia will lead a discussion about 2D art techniques such as woodcut, etching and painterly effects and how they translate to the medium of tattooing. In addition to hitting on the techniques, Garcia plans to outline how artists can better communicate with their clients.
The second seminar will take place on Monday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. This event, titled “Personal Projects: The Psychology of Artist-Driven Tattooing,” is meant to be a group discussion about more personal topic areas including dealing with Imposter Syndrome, figuring out how to borrow healthy work practices from other trades, and how to communicate with clients clearly through consultations.
“The workshops and classes for tattoo artists are really exciting to me,” says Garcia. “I would’ve given actual body parts to have access to something like this earlier in my career, and so it’s well worth trying to overcome my social awkwardness and my discomfort speaking in front of groups.”
The Illustrative Techniques workshop is worth three tattoo licensure continuing education credit hours in the State of Oregon. Garcia says that her workshop on color theory, which she plans to bring back to Portland in May, is also worth licensure credits.
In addition to offering the workshops at Lovebird, Garcia says that she also has plans to host the classes in Chicago later in March. All workshops are intended for intermediate and advanced skill levels.
“The sense of community that comes from these blows me away and really reinforces the need to share information, especially with younger tattooers,” says Garcia.
Other Tattoo Consulting Services
Garcia says that she’s expanded her service offerings beyond tattooing because she saw a need for providing unbiased expertise.
“Most of my emails these days are from people who aren’t happy with tattoos they already have, and they want to know what their options are to improve the situation,” she says. “I can’t offer more than advice, and people are still on their own to take their own informed next steps.”
To help, individuals can book a consultation service with Garcia where she can discuss
“I assess the situation, find out their needs and hopes for the look they want to achieve, and offer guidance as far as what is possible,” says Garcia. “I can point them towards techniques that will look good with what they have, and can grow into—and what to expect in terms of maintenance and care.”
For dedicated clients, who are looking for advice on planning out a body suit, Garcia also offers a wholistic, full-body tattoo curation. “The client has to be very brave and trusting of my vision for this one,” says Garcia. “But there’s a lot of fun to be had, and potentially insanely gorgeous collections to be built.”
When working with a client on a full-body curation, Garcia conducts a thorough consultation and takes full-length photography and measurements before she begins designing the complete collection.
“As often as the client desires, I direct them to an artist who can fulfill each stage of the plan,” says Garcia. “I’ll write an introduction of the project to send to the artist, and send them the appropriate photos and measurements. If they decide not to participate, I’ll choose another artist, or do the piece myself.”
Hoping to Educate Both Sides
Garcia says that she’s excited about these initiatives because it gives her the chance to educate both fellow tattoo artists as well as clients. “I know a lot about what it’s like to get tattooed and about how tattoos can be done, so why not help things along,” she says. “I am a person that believes that we all benefit if both sides are well informed.”
After tattooing for over 21 years, Garcia says she gets excited about the thought of younger artists learning the ropes quickly and keeping her on her toes. It’s one of the reasons she’s so willing to share the information and learnings that she’s built up over her career.
“Nothing pleases me more than to discover that some young tattooer did something I never dreamed of, and now I feel like I have to step up my game again,” she says. “Tattooing is growing as a business and as an art form, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”