Today in artist Edgar Tagle’s studio gallery, client Miguel Mendez-Ruiz displays the tattoo images of his family and Mexican heroes that earned Tagle two first-place awards at recent Body Art Expos. Awards line Tagle’s gallery called “Iguanas Arte” which opened on Washington Boulevard near Harvard in 2008. A local treasure under our nose, Tagle competes and moves on the international level, attracting fans from around the world including many big Mexican artists.
Body art is just one of the stars in Tagle’s constellation of talents. Also a painter, sculptor, carver, and muralist, his hip gallery is richly decorated with multi-media work. His Aztec dance group Xipe-Totoc appears regularly around the city.
“I love to represent my heritage” proclaims Tagle who was raised in an artisans’ village in Acapulco, Guerrero. “I grew up where tents were set up every morning, where the people met their basic survival through the sale of their art.”
A childhood surrounded by vivid art forms is amplified in the universality of Tagle’s current art vision. Today he has a near religious-awe for other artists’ work. “I learn so much from other artists. This morning I was listening to some music and went down on my knees to say ‘Thank you for letting me feel this.’ Everywhere I go surrounded by art, I try to answer with my eyes. Everything is my inspiration.” This universality of spirit is clear in the wide variety of Tagle’s subject matter – from decorative motifs to iconic pop images to realistic portraits of family members and friends that his clients request. “Because my mother died when I was four years old, I had to survive from place to place. Wherever I lived everyone remembers me from my art – from always having a pencil in my hand” – a trait that has today resulted in Tagle’s expert ability to work freehand.
Tagle attributes the popularity of body art to a growing connection with ancient cultures and family history, like local resident Brenda Leonardo who is having shooting stars inked on her abdomen in honor of her daughters named after stars in the Mayan constellation.
Mid-City is fortunate to benefit from the amazing talent and world view of current artist-in-residence Edgar Tagle. Check out his studio at 2032 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. (323) 730-7205; (323) 440-1273.