The Women de Color series highlights creative work done by women of color in the arts through interviews as well as personal and craft essays.
On definitions: In this series, the phrase ‘women de color’ is used to define any one person who 1. identifies as female and 2. considers themselves of Asian/Pacific Islander, Arab/Middle-Eastern, Black/African American/Caribbean/West Indies, Native/Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latin descent.
Pooka Machine is a Cuban-American tattoo artist working from Ocho Placas Tattoo Company in Miami and the author of Of Honey and Mud (2015) a book of pressed botanical drawings and paintings.
Taking her inspiration from her deep love of nature, Pooka has created a unique ‘feminine floral style’ she transfers to the page as original drawings before meticulously etching her designs on the body. Building a cult following over the years, fans come bearing gifts of potted plants and heirloom seeds as they arrive in the studio to receive one of her transformative art pieces.
Pooka selects a few favorites and discusses the creative force behind them.
On inspiration: “I am deeply inspired by plants. I spend time almost everyday in my garden. Most days very early, alone and quiet just studying the plants and observing. There is a deep feeling of awe within the garden and it’s the best place for me to recharge and get ready for work. There are times when I forget about certain beautiful flowers or foliage that inspire me and all it takes is one trip to the garden to remember! I’ll come into work and most times I try and incorporate those plants into larger pieces. Life gets so hectic but my work- the inspiration- the planning of upcoming tattoos- it calms and centers me.”
All images provided by Pooka Machine.