Tattoo artist Esther Garcia adds an ornamental touch to her clients’ arms and legs. Over the course of her 20-year career, she has evolved her style to combine elements of the blackout trend with colorful blooms, winged creatures, and decorative motifs that seemingly float on skin. The idea for this approach was originally a solution for coverup tattoos, in which she inks over a previous design that someone wants hidden. The solid black ink helps to quiet the visual chaos of the old tattoo and make way for a new illustration. It has become so popular that it is not limited to only coverups—clients also request it on their untouched skin.
Garcia is inspired by the tradition of Dutch flower painting from the 17th century. Her blossoms have a similarly realistic feel that evokes the same lushness and light on a dark backdrop. The reds and pinks shine like a beacon of light against the rich black ink and signify a welcome beginning—especially for those who were living with unwanted body art.
After two decades of tattooing and owning her Butterfat studio in Chicago, Garcia is working on projects that are off the body. One endeavor in the works is called Flower Thieves, a textile and commercial design collaboration with freelance artist and illustrator Kyle Letendre. Scroll down to see some of Garcia’s tattoos and then make sure to follow her on Instagram for even more.