Full of enthusiasm and nomad by nature (she works in different studios in Spain), we got to know better the intriguing art of Sonia aka “Miss Nàcar”.
Miss Nàcar (for friends, simply Sonia), may you explain how you became a professional tattoo artist and what were the defining steps in your career?
Well, the first contact and the first idea came from my dear classmates. We were studying Fine Arts in Salamanca back in 2012. Some of them were beginning to be interested in tattooing and as with all other things, we shared opinions, concerns, references etc. Little by little I began to be aware of all the wonders and wide possibilities offered by this support called “Tattoo Art”.
What have been the defining steps in your career so far?
The idea and the desire remained latent in me until 2019, when I moved to live in Madrid. There the circumstances were much more favorable; I had a lot of free time and I decided to give it a try. Soon my designs interested the owner of a studio in the center of Madrid.
In that studio I started doing the walk-in tattoos that came into the studio and that’s how I truly learned.
To this day I continue to enjoy and learn doing this type of tattoos. The last and third turning point I would say is right now. Now that they are asking for my designs and I can grow from them.
Oriental influences plus surrealism (all those little animals born deep in your imagination) plus delicacy in the use of contours and color: do you think this is the winning recipe for your art?
Explained like this the truth is that it sounds super good! (smiles) But I really have no idea what the winning recipe might be, probably if I thought more about it I wouldn’t be able to do it. At the moment I just try to be honest and produce only what I like. Discard a lot of things and keep only what feels good to me.
Go ahed, that’s very interesting…
The mixture of concepts or “surrealism” happens when one thing reminds me of another, when that happens I take note. As for the line is the thickness that I like the most and the one I’m more used to use because of all the demand for fine line and commercial tattooing that usually takes place in the studio.
With the colors in my works, we go back to the same thing. They are the ones I like and I don’t base them on much else.
I can’t explain why I prefer some to others. I also rely on the experience using them, which also lets you see which ones you are more comfortable working with.
Inevitable question: why do the subjects of Japanese women appear so frequently among your works?
Sometimes I’m advised to include a little more variety to my designs and flash repertoire, which I see as logical and I think it would do me good, but finally when I want to realize I’m making a new lady.
I think it’s seasonal and right now I have so many ideas around the female figure that I can’t stop.
When the role is blank and there are no guidelines I don’t feel like doing anything else. It doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing I like, I find satisfaction in practically any tattoo I do, even the ones that have nothing to do with me.
But obviously I do feel a predilection for certain themes, shapes, colors, aesthetics etc. Without knowing how to explain very well why I prefer some things or others, I know that art and love have much in common and it is the part that can’t be explained.
Do you have a comfort zone when you tattoo?
I like that the tracing doesn’t come out too thick! I like to tie my hair well and make the client a little afraid by telling them that it will probably hurt a lot so that later it doesn’t seem so bad.
Since you are divided work-wise between three distinct Spanish studios (‘Voltaje Tattoo’ in Vitoria-Gasteiz, ‘Tattoo Adicts’ in Bilbao and ‘Sabia Tattoo’ in Santander), I would ask you to introduce us to all three…
My main studio is ‘Voltaje Tattoo’ (IG: @voltajetattoo) in Vitoria, but I also like to offer the option for those who want to get tattooed in Bilbao or Santander. Bilbao is only 40 minutes away and is a city with much more tourism and movement. Santander is my hometown and I like to go there to take advantage and see family and friends.
What kind of place is ‘Voltaje Tattoo’?
‘Voltaje’ is a beautiful studio! Ander Rage opened it only three years ago, in the middle of the pandemic and in a short time it has become a reference in the north of Spain. We also have great collaborators and talented friends who come to visit us from time to time.
Tell me about ‘Bilbao Tattoo Addicts’.
Well, that studio with more than 15 years of history is a key studio in the city. The owner, Unai Ibañez, has 26 years of experience and the illusion of the first day. Many guests from all over the world pass through this studio.
Last but not least, ‘Sabía Tattoo’.
‘Sabía’ is the studio of one of my best friends, we love each other very much for no less than 18 years. It’s lucky to have the opportunity to share time with her doing what I like the most.
Do you have any major tattoo conventions or guest spots already scheduled between this summer and next autumn?
August is the month of the year that I like to be more relaxed, many birthdays of family and friends coincide, including mine and I love to take the opportunity to go to the beach. I will stay between the Basque Country and Santander.
In September I will be in France, at the moment I have already planned to go to Lyon to ‘Biribi’, but I would like to make one more stop on the way. I will also be in Galicia (Ourense at ‘Secret Bridge’, Vigo at ‘Rataloka’ and Santiago at ‘Nora Tattoo’). In October I will be in Amsterdam at ‘The Blue Blood’ and in Barcelona at ‘Chica Pantera’. I can’t wait! Next November I guess I’ll be in Madrid, which always treats me very well and I love to go there.