Artist statements can be cocky. The buzzwords about accolades and influences turn into a circle jerk written in third person.
Even if you’re desperate enough to give it a chance, you find yourself zoning out immediately, waiting for it to end. The artist intends to deepen your understanding of their passion, but instead thrusts you into their own self gratification. You’re left yearning for more depth, or at least something more interesting, after just a few seconds.
Sure, I can tell you why I want to erect images of controversy and subversion, but you might not be concerned with the intention of each stroke. You’re in it for the end game, the big picture, the climax when all the hard work pays off.
If that’s you, check out my portfolio. Listen to some of the songs I’ve written. Book a tattoo consultation. Reach out to me with questions.
But if you’re interested in the dirty details, here they are:
I’m Cari, a tattoo artist, musician, and visual artist in San Diego, CA.
I am drawn to images and themes that highlight juxtaposition — cute and creepy, adorable and disgusting, beautiful and macabre, humorous and tragic, sentimental and sarcastic.
My love for art began as a simple drive for self-expression as a kid. I was an angsty misfit trapped in a Southern town, vomiting my most extreme emotions into visual art and music. Everything I created was a “fuck you” to authority figures, media hysteria, and societal norms. Sometimes it got me in trouble (okay, most of the time) but it gave me the outlet I desperately needed to survive.
With time and life experience, my work has shifted and the edges have softened but the heart of it remains the same — when everything is painful and bleak, art reminds us that there’s still a way to laugh, to be sarcastic, to be ourselves, to enjoy our little corner of a crumbling world. It reminds us that it’s going to be okay.
As a tattoo artist, I have had countless opportunities to witness the way tattoos can inspire, empower, comfort, encourage, and just look really really cool. I do not take this privilege lightly — to be trusted with turning people’s memories, passions, and experiences into a unique and permanent piece of art is humbling and life-giving for me. I enjoy the collaborative process of design with my clients and look forward to turning a person’s internal visualization into reality.
When I started my tattoo apprenticeship in 2005, my hunger for learning and creativity pushed me to develop an expansive skill set with multiple styles. I can appreciate artists who specialize in a single style, but truthfully I would get bored.
I pull inspiration and techniques from neo-traditional, new school, and traditional tattoo styles. I am also inspired by cartoons, video games, books, cooking, music, anthropology, the comfort of the overwhelming notion that life is meaningless, and a specific memory of the time my dog immediately shit herself from seeing the beach for the first time. Basically, if it makes me laugh or think or feel nauseous, it influences how I create!
I started working at Diego Tattoo Gallery in 2013 and found more than a job. There, I met and married the love of my life – the founder of Diego Tattoo – Diana DeAugustine. I entered into an exciting role working alongside her and our other kickass artists to continue growing and maintaining Diego Tattoo’s reputation as an all-inclusive shop that celebrates artistic creativity. We cultivate a positive environment for our employees and clients to express themselves and connect with the art of tattooing, mostly just by being good people.
I did say I love juxtaposition, and I believe there is nothing more stark and important than choosing to be a good kind person in a world so full of people and situations that aren’t. And so, that’s who I try to be and what I like to give back.
If you’ve ever felt like life is gory, exciting, unsettling, joyous and satirical all at the same time, then you will probably connect to my work. If you’ve been told your sense of humor is misplaced or too dark, you’ll feel even more at home. If you’ve spent countless hours researching cadavers and embalming to counteract your innate fear of death, then we might just be one in the same.
I would be honored to create a new tattoo or commissioned art piece for you. Whether you want to make your life a little less boring or ensure that your family never wants to host gatherings at your house again, I’m your girl.
I welcome all the weird and beautiful parts of your vision with equal enthusiasm.
If you’ve made it through all this eye fucking you’re probably flaccid and overwhelmed. Thankfully the party’s over — for now.
Other Fun Facts
I am a card carrying member of The Satanic Temple.
I’m also a member of the Coalition for Tattoo Safety.
I host and produce a podcast called Fatally Yours.
I draw a lot of dicks…