Humans of Catalunya is a series about Casalunya, in which we introduce you to people who live in Catalonia. Today we talk to Sandra Robledo-Ferrez (43), a resident of Tarragona and owner of Sandra Ilusion Art, a tattoo shop.
Who are you?
‘I am a very creative person. I think we all come into the world with a seed, something to give. Mine is art, creativity and especially drawing. When I was little, I wanted to be a professional cartoonist. But the typical thing is, your parents tell you that’s not a job, to choose a path that will make me money. So I went to a studio that had nothing to do with art. Without realising it, in life you put on layers that cover your essence. But the universe provides opportunities to return to our purpose. Now I am much closer to my essence and choose to do things that really make me happy.’
And what makes you happy?
‘Art is my passion. I make face painting, I draw on the stomachs of pregnant women and I make tattoos in my tattoo studio. Clients usually ask me for a fine line style, although I like manga style and drawing the most. In my free time, I dance salsa and Bachata. I have worked professionally as an actress and flamenco dancer. Currently and for many years, I have a Michael Jackson tribute group and we dance in Tarragona and its surroundings. I love animals, I have had dogs and cats. Now I have a beautiful dog (Braco the Weimaraner), and I love spending time with him. I also go to the gym a few days a week to take care of myself physically and I eat healthy.’
Where are you from?
‘I was born and raised in Tarragona. My father is from the region of Extremadura, my mother was born in Tarragona, but her parents came from Granada.’
Why did you choose Tarragona to live in?
‘I was born here, and the truth is that Tarragona is very beautiful. With its mountains, beaches, the Rambla and the Roman ruins. It’s really like a small town, or like a big town. It depends on how you see it. You can walk around the city in one day. The bad thing is the factories that pollute the city and the environment. Sometimes I think they could take better care of the city. But of all the cities in Catalonia, I like Tarragona best. Barcelona is nice too, but I prefer a simpler life. Here people stop in the street to talk to each other. In Tarragona you live more in community than in the Catalan capital. I like this city a lot, but if I were to leave one day, it would be to go and live in Granada. It also has mountains and sea nearby, and I love the south of Spain, and also the cheerful people.’
How do you live?
‘I live in a flat in Eixample that I bought 13 years ago. It has two bedrooms and I have renovated it completely to my taste, although it has no lift. One of the rooms is rented out through AirBNB from time to time, where I practice English and meet international people. One day I would like to have a house with a small garden, vegetable garden and chickens, close to the countryside so I can go for walks with Muffie. For example in the area of Vall de Arrabasada, Boscos or in El Catllar.’
Where can we find you?
‘In my tattoo studio Ilusion Tattoo Arte. I opened it this year, and my idea is to grow into a tattoo parlour where other tattooists work too. It is a shop with an open atmosphere. The time that tattoo shops were dark is long gone; nowadays all kinds of people get tattoos. Getting a tattoo is something very personal because it stays on your skin forever and represents you. Today, many clients have told me that getting a tattoo with me is a good experience. And that’s what I love to do, help people make their dreams come true with my talent for drawing.’
Stop by her shop on Carrer Joan Baptista Plana 19 in Eixample (Tarragona), or check out her website Sandra Ilusion Art or her Instagram. Do you live in Catalonia and would you like to be interviewed as well? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.