They say that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure — and it seems that applies even when it comes to tattoos. Brazilian artist Helena Fernandes founded her own tattoo shop, Malfeitona, in her native city of Salvador de Bahia, where she specialises in ugly ink. That’s right: Fernandes has gained a cult following for what she calls her tatuagens peba, which means, literally, “trash tattoos.” Points for honesty?
With nearly 17,000 Instagram followers and a Facebook page full of glowing five-star reviews from happy customers, Fernandes’ unique artistic style has clearly hit a nerve with the tattooing community. As you can see from the black-and-white line sketches of stick figures and childlike scribbles all over her feed, there’s something strangely appealing about her drawings: They might be technically ugly, far from the clean, minimalist trend that celebrities can’t get enough of right now, but worse tattooing mistakes have certainly been made. (And purely by accident, no less.)
Maybe what makes Fernandes’ work cool is the fact that she, and her clients, clearly don’t overthink the tattooing process. Why get all swept up trying to track down the perfect tiny watercolour flower to replicate when you can just slap a sparkly smiling star on your body and call it a day?