Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Conversation between Marilyn Rondon and Olivia Ramos.


Marilyn Rondon

Why Does Mommy Have Tattoos?

Book, 2016



RONDON:  ‪hii‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪Hi Marilyn - thank you for joining us‬‬


i am so happy to finally discuss your book


thanks for having me again‬‬


sweet me too!


making a book is a huge commitment‬‬


i remember - it must have been 2011-12 sitting at The Room and you telling me you wanted to do this


yeah, actually before then, I've been wanting to write children's books since I started illustrating over a decade ago.


The idea for this book was born back in the winter of 2012- the book has been finished for a year, publishing just takes a while.‬‬


‪it was a three year process‬‬




‪the illustrations are amazing - and the content, comes from you and your tattoos‬‬




thank you. Yea I used some of mine as examples and others are tattoos you would see on a wall walking into a tattoo shop, I wanted to keep that traditional vibe‬‬


‪it is a contemporary subject - as in there are a lot of mom's today with tattoos‬‬


unlike perhaps a few decades back


‪i feel like the number increases daily too, but the book isn't just entirely about tattoos either, in a way it's about life, and acceptance.‬‬


‪tell me more about that - acceptance is a big key to happiness‬‬


do you mean acceptance from you, or of you?‬‬


‪self acceptance, and for children to understand and accept as well‬‬


i had stigmas about tattoos growing up because my parents were ignorant towards the culture


only gang members and hookers had tattoos


and sailors‬‬


it's most definitely not the case nowadays‬‬


yea, man everyone has them, school teachers, bank tellers (they just hide them well) fitness instructors, models, actors, doctors


and i know this because they always talk to me about my tattoo and then are like "man i want more" lol




you are totally covered‬‬


bout 60% actually‬‬


‪and growing?‬‬


yea, i haven't gotten anything new in a while but i wanna keep adding to my collection‬‬


what is it about?‬‬


you say it is a collection, you can have a collection at home


what is it about having on you at all times?


everything in life is disposable except your body‬‬


you only have that, as a guarantee while you're alive


it's a way of keeping people in my life, memories, a time-line of where i was and how old i was when i got each tattoo


‪there are two things i get out of that:‬‬


one - it is a nomadic gesture - as in - I can be anywhere and take my entire life with me


and similarly - two - I am all i ever need


‪i guess, everyone can interpret it differently, my friends are precious to me, i feel lucky to carry their art on me permanently‬‬


what happens when you are maxed out?‬‬


of space?‬‬


will you delay or slow down so that you reach 100% at the end of your life?‬‬


it's impossible to answer that question cause i could die at any point, anyone can. I get them at times when i feel like i need them the most‬‬


‪yes - no sense in predicting the end of anything‬‬


it's stressful‬‬


‪lol - i'll change the subject





no worries haha‬‬


when you wrote the book - were you thinking more of the mom's that would be reading it or the children that would be listening?‬‬


‪i was thinking about both. but i mainly wrote it for the children‬‬


‪it is very simple in a great way and more than anything it is very positive - which makes your your answer ring true‬‬


there is no drama or struggle


all about the magical purposes behind the tattoos


if you were writing for mothers would it be different?


‪i don't know, i would have probably written an entirely different book‬‬


I just thought about the questions in a different format - did you in a way write it to the memory of you as a child?‬‬


‪yea definitely i feel i would have had a different experience growing up had i read something like this.‬‬


when you got your first tattoo did you feel like you were betraying your family or culture?‬‬


‪i was hiding it from them, in a way yeah, and that's why i ran with it‬‬


i didn't wanna hear what my parents thought


i just wanted them to accept me


before my father passed, i don't think he even knew I had so many


he'd moved back to Venezuela, the last time i saw him i was 19


he passed in 2011- I already had quite a lot


but i never sent him pictures and would only speak to him over the phone


so he never saw me as heavily tattooed


‪i remember you telling me about your father getting a tattoo under his foot‬‬


and that's the tattoo you got on your throat - not sure if I am remembering correctly


he never got to see it?


No i got it after he passed‬‬


it was a memorial tattoo to him


not identical to his


‪it is probably one of the most impressive tattoos you have‬‬


that and then you tattooed your face - how did people react to it?


there was fuss over it‬‬


how come?‬‬


it's your face


i think because i'm a woman




explain that a bit more if you can‬‬


for example‬‬


when i got my first face tattoo


it was done by a woman, a very talented artist


she had been tattooing her boyfriend's face at the time


and felt comfortable tattooing mine when i asked


after she did it, she nearly lost her job over it


because i'm a woman


‪that doesn't make any sense to me‬‬


maybe cause i am a woman


it doesn't make sense at all‬‬


it's ridiculous


and partly - this is why the book is about mommy getting tattoos and not daddy or parents‬‬


i mean it's not because you are the writer and you happen to be a woman - it is because there is specific prejudice about women and tattoos


yeah absolutely‬‬


i wanted to give tattooed women a voice


that has been not ignored but maybe not thought about