"Most things happen from hard work. It doesn't have to do with personal appearance," says Marilyn Rondon. The illustrator and Brooklyn resident is the newest addition to our tattoo theme. "If you believe in yourself and you have a goal and a dream and you put all of your positive energy into it and put yourself out there then you're going to get the reward," continues Marilyn. "I want to affect people's lives. I want people to know we're all connected and we can all relate. I wear my heart on my sleeve. When I have a show, I put my sketchbooks out that say everything about my life."
About her "Respect" tattoo, Marilyn says, "I've been bullied and taken advantage of my whole life. The tattoo is my way of standing up to people. I know you don't get respect by putting it on your face, but it's more for myself, so I don't let people treat me like shit anymore."
"I have my parents' birth years on my fingers and I also have root beer because it's my favorite drink."
"I illustrate women and roses. I'll think of something, or I'll see something on the train, write it down and then I'll come home and draw."
"I'm a nice girl and I have a great work ethic, but I walk into places and people are like, 'I don't want this person with a face tattoo or a neck tattoo to work here.' I knew that when I got them it would be harder to get work (or just in general make my life harder), but I didn't care. I didn't do it to prove a point, I just knew that I always wanted them. I've always taken the hard route."
"Optimist is on the inside of my hands because I always look at the better side of things."
"I did these drawings... they're all in frames and they're all heads floating. The drawings say, 'Women look at me strange.'"
"People stare -- kids, teenagers, old people, people with tattoos. Some people say something nice like, "Nice Tattoos" or "Sweet ink!" Sometimes people say dirty and mean things . They call me disgusting or tell me I'm a piece of shit. I was walking the other day with my boyfriend and this guy was like, 'You're disgusting!' I just kind of laughed. Uusually, I just look at it like, 'You have a problem. I haven't done anything. I'm just existing.'"
Photos by Elisa Goodkind