We had the good fortune of connecting with Charlene Aragon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charlene, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
There’s always a thrilling chase with a healthy dose of uncertainty that comes with having a creative career. Everyday is different because the projects and people I make art with are. I like not knowing what to expect and being challenged to push creative boundaries and open up my perspective to grow with the times, art, and people around me. It’s a career that constantly pushes me forward, while keeping me on my toes, and I love that.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art comes from a place of love. My soul’s purpose is to connect with others and the world around me, and I feel I do that best through art. As a former body painter, I’ve always seen the human body as a beautiful canvas. How the art moves on and flows in every angle with each unique body is important to me because I’m used to my body art being displayed on stage and spotlighted. I’m drawn to the idea of my art coming to life with those I make it for, and the energy it seems to give them! I’m best known in my industry for my skill in watercolor, floral, and color! However if you look into my portfolio, you’ll notice a wide variety of bright, vivid, and detailed styles ranging from black and grey to color realism, and delicate watercolor to bold neotraditional. My art is influenced by many different styles, people, things…it’s ever-changing like my clients and myself so there’s not one particular style of tattooing that I am inclined to create – I love them all! I really try my best to connect and understand my client’s point of view as well as soak in their personality in order to customize and tailor a unique piece of tattoo art that authentically represents them. I feel, if anything, that this personal approach is my style.
Giving heart through art has always been my main drive. I’m so proud to have helped break down the ‘rough-and-tough’ stereotype of tattooers by bringing the community together to collectively raise thousands of dollars in toys, school supplies and funds towards various charities ….all while doing what I love. There are so many deeply personal and special tattoo projects I take on and offer to survivors. Helping someone to love their body and view themselves as the art that I see is truly the most rewarding experience.
I’ve done various odd jobs at a young age from face painting at festivals to mural painting giant entertainment rooms and themed shops. It wasn’t until I entered my 20s that I seriously considered a career in art. In 2012 I picked up a tattoo machine for the first time, and I haven’t looked back! I didn’t have any young Asian female tattooers in my community to look up to, or anyone in my family to turn to for advice in where to begin or what steps to take to to navigate this intimidating world of tattooing. Being someone who was young and looked like me , I felt sometimes the bias within the industry because I didn’t fit the profile or mold. Often times I had to pick myself up from the discouragement of being constantly underestimated. This only drove me to work harder , push my comfort levels further and further everyday, and tirelessly practice and learn on my own for 2 years before working at my first tattoo shop. 9 years later I now own Painted Harts Tattoo , my own charming tattoo studio in Anaheim where I create and connect with different walks and talks of people who travel from all over the world to get a tattoo from me. For anybody out there reading whose heart is calling towards a new life direction, I just have this to say- following your passion is absolutely an adventure worth taking!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooh I am such a foodie so my idea of showing friends around is taking them out to eat…a lot! Morning you have to start at q hole in wall Gala bakery in my hometown Garden Grove for their pate chauds and strong vietnamese iced coffee. take those to go and cruise along PCH towards long beach where you can walk around the Long Beach Museum of art before having a delicious jalapeno margarita and bite with a refreshing ocean view at Claire’s at the Museum. For an artsy, whimsical unique dining experience Barton G is a must…ordering the lobster poptarts is a greater must! Every dish is served as an art piece so be prepared to OoooO and Ahhh!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My story is truly inspired by the culmination of incredible stories that have been shared over every tattoo and body painting session…and there’s been hundreds so the list of those to thank would be too long for here haha. I have so much love and thanks for my clients for giving me the gift of their unique perspective because it has truly shaped me into the artist I am today. Through any doubt, creative block, and struggle (believe me, there’s been a lot!) my rock and husband Chris has been there to provide this artist with plenty inspiration and support to push through. I am so grateful for him and my wonderful family for their endless and unconditional love and encouragement.