BY BROOKLYN PINHEIRO
While Helena Fernandes was growing up drawing her ‘funny/cute/not realistic/not-following-the-rules” pictures, she never imagined they would become the source of her career. The style that she would print on everything from t-shirts to nails has made her famous across Brazil as she travels around the country tattooing the self-titled “badly-done” works of art.
Fernandes, 26, was always giving her drawings as gifts for her friends, whether it be in the form of a mug or a comic. In 2014 she met her fiance and drew him a bat with pointy teeth; he loved the image so much he asked her to tattoo it on him. Not long after, a friend asked for one of her cat drawings to be tattooed, and at that point one thing lead to another. Friends and then friends of friends started requesting that Fernandes decorate them in her basic line-work tattoos. Then this year she created the @malfeitona Instagram page, and because of it more and more work has come her way. With all of her new clients she can no longer work from home, but instead carries around her gear and works in various collaborative studios.
Her style, which she confesses she’s sure she didn’t create, has drawn a lot of support from other artists who’ve been eager to mentor and collaborate with her.
“To be a good artist you usually need to be good at realism. I am not concerned about fitting in so I am free to do what I want to do. It’s very honest and simple,” said Fernandes.
Besides being able to make a living off of what she loves, Fernandes feels that the most rewarding part of tattooing is all the positive feedback she recieves. A common theme from her admirers is that her work makes people feel as if life is a little bit sweeter and a little bit lighter. Even though she doesn’t fit within the traditional framework of tattooing, Fernandes is still producing art that people want to see on their bodies.
As she continues to pursue her tattooing career she also wants to expand to seeing her art sold on merchandise. Without compromising her style or what it stands for she hopes to continue tattooing people from all over the world.
“I want to keeping tattooing, to be loyal to what I believe in and not do things for money or popularity.”
While Fernandes loves all the tattoos she’s done, she’ll always have a soft spot for the ones with the pointy teeth, just like the one that started it all.