A Little Bit Spicy
Two artists paint women of the Southwest
Albuquerque-based artists Nani Chacon and Marie Sena have been friends for years. They became acquainted because Chacon’s husband, Carlos Rodriguez, and Sena are both tattoo artists. “I think we got along mostly because what she does is kind of in a male-dominated field,” Chacon says by phone. “And the way that I came up doing art—I started doing art as a graffiti artist—is like a really male-dominated field.” Both concentrate on female figurative style.
Their joint art show, Picosa, puts women in the fore: a heavily made-up lovely with spiderweb tattoos on her neck; a clown-faced lady applying lipstick; female Mexican wrestlers, replete with masks, in a violent yet sensual embrace. There are also a few portraits that aren’t of women, but the overall theme of the show is women of the Southwest. “We’re in such a unique cultural climate,” Chacon says. “We felt like that was something that needed to be celebrated and pushed to the forefront of what we’re doing—not just that we’re going to depict beautiful women, but the beautiful women of our surroundings.”
Chacon is always trying to confront and redefine beauty. She says she and Sena think it’s important to find internal values and develop your own aesthetics, rather than accept the media’s version of what’s beautiful. She enjoys that women can look at her art and identify themselves, or see their cousin or sister.
“Sexy is not always the lipstick and big boobs kind of thing. There’s also a strength and a power that women possess.”
Another reason Sena and Chacon want to do the show is to depict ideas of sexuality and femininity from a woman’s perspective. Popular pinup and tattoo art is from a man’s point of view, Chacon says, and it helps create a stereotype of what’s attractive. “Sexy is not always the lipstick and big boobs kind of thing,” she says. “There’s also a strength and a power that women possess.”
Picosa opening reception
Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 to 11 p.m.
Show runs through Sept. 2
Por Vida Tattoo
1014 Central SW
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