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How one local tattoo artist combines her Colombian roots, creative expressions

How one local tattoo artist combines her Colombian roots and creative expressions
How one local tattoo artist combines her Colombian roots and creative expressions 02:03

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- With a tattoo machine in her hand Rachel Lopez, or Raylo as she goes by, is creating a permanent masterpiece depicting a Mexican American image known as a chola, but with a twist.  

"I can move the Queen of Hearts to like right here if you want," Lopez asked her client. 


As Lopez prepared the stencil, her client and friend chose the image to pay tribute to her own Hispanic roots.  


"Really representing the duality that I think exists within Latinas," Fontaine Gutierrez said.   

Before spending time in tattoo shops, Lopez grew up in Voorhees, New Jersey, after her father came to the U.S. from Colombia, making her a first-generation American.  

"You have this conflict of who am I? Where do I belong? I don't, it's hard growing up," Lopez said.  


She said with her culture came standards she felt pressured to uphold while trying to find a career path.  

"Well, yeah, I'm successful, I'm just not your nine-to-five kind of person," Lopez said. "So, it is really difficult to convince my family or people in general that I can be a creative and I can be successful." 

She said the stigma around tattooing specifically within the Latino community made it hard to feel accepted. 

"A lot of them are associated with criminal activity or gang violence," she explained. 

But the art holds significance within indigenous groups that Lopez and others continue to channel through modern-day tattooing.    

"For like Mayan and Aztec cultures it was really a form of honoring yourself, your family and your heritage," Gutierrez said.  

As she revealed in the final piece, Lopez's permanent art serves as a way to showcase that there are endless ways for Latinas to represent themselves.  


"I am Lopez, and I am so proud to be Colombian and Latina and a representation in this culture," she said. 

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