Amanda Rodriguez is a New York City-based tattoo artist with a flair for English roses, among other beautiful and colorful organic designs. Her easily recognizable botanical tattoos have earned her the title of the flower queen of Brooklyn, where she creates unique artworks for her customers at Three Kings Tattoo in Greenpoint. Amanda spoke to BUST about her her journey as a tattoo artist and the women who inspire her.
So what inspired you to start tattooing?
It really kinda came out of desperation. After I graduated college I was stuck in a manual labor job that was pretty grueling. I hated it so much, and then I just ended up looking into tattooing and fell in love with it. As a teen, I was always considered a ‘goth’ kid and was into piercings, so tattooing ended up feeling really natural to me.
How would you describe your technical style, and how did it develop?
I’m really bad with styles and genres, but I guess I would say my style is neo-traditional/illustrative. I actually was a portrait artist as a teenager and just assumed that was what I would do with tattooing, but when I started to learn the techniques I began to really appreciate bold lines and rich colors and then it just evolved from there.
Tell me a bit about your beautiful rose obsession.
I’ve always enjoyed flower tattoos. My first big piece was the peonies I have on my left arm. I wasn’t that into traditional roses, I thought they were too harsh and sharp but when I was in Portland on a trip I started to notice these different roses. Almost all of the houses there have these beautiful rose bushes out front, and it opened my eyes to other types of roses that were more cupped and soft and almost peony-like. From there it developed into a full-blown obsession and I have done two books of English rose drawings. I have five different types of English roses planted in the backyard at Three Kings.
Are there any lady tattoo artists who truly inspire you?
Oh, of course! Tons. It is really nice because when I first started there were very few female tattoo artists, especially that were well known but now there are so many! I’ve been tattooed by a lot of females, notably Sam Smith from Scythe and Spade and Tiny Miss Becca from Jayne Doe, who is currently doing my back. I’m obviously a huge fan of the ladies at Wonderland Tattoo, Rose Hardy, Ellie Thompson, Kaitlin Greenwood and Hannah Flowers just to name a few!
Have you felt that as a woman you have received opposition for being a female tattoo artist?
In the beginning, yes. I learned to tattoo at a biker shop in Massachusetts, none of the artists wanted me there and some of the clients were super rude and sexist. One guy told my boss, ‘Oh, great, now you have someone who can tattoo my dick.’ Nowadays it’s different, there’s still a little bit of misogyny but it’s mostly all in good fun and most male tattooers are extremely respectful.
Have you ever refused to give someone a tattoo?
Yeah I’ve definitely turned down tattoos that I didn’t think would work well for whatever reason but generally, people are willing to work with you and listen to your advice and ideas.
What advice do you have for young girls who are trying to make it in this or any other industry?
Well, I think for one, understanding that it’s gonna be a long tough road with a lot of hard work. And two, figure out what it is you want to do and just make it happen. No one is just gonna pluck you up and give you the job you want you to have to just go out there and get it.
Amanda will be offering flash tattoos at this year's BUST Holiday Craftacular feat. the BUST School for Creative Living. Check it out!
Header image by Susana Rico, other images via Instagram/Amanda Rodriguez
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Janeth Ann Gonda is currently the events and promotions manager at BUST Magazine, a singer, dancer, writer, and event planner living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently the lead singer in the Gypsy Witch Rock Band Espejismo. After working in the Brooklyn music industry for several years she created her own event space Barranquilla Studios. Janeth has hosted hundreds of bands and fans alike and is an active member in the NYC music community.