|Neto Velasco's body is his canvas.|
Neto Velasco came to Los Angeles to make his mark, but the city also made its mark on him. He arrived from the Mexican town of Querétaro a year ago. "I had a really good life in Mexico, but I prefer adventure," he says. "That's why I came here."
Velasco, a graphic designer, had left his house and given everything away except three pairs of jeans, five T-shirts and a camera. "I want my life to be simple. Like, if tomorrow I want to go to Japan, I just grab my backpack and let's go," he says.
At 26, he is young and passionate and wears his heart on his sleeve. He admits that it wasn't just adventure but misadventure that fueled his decision to come to the United States: A girl in Mexico had broken his heart. She'd met another guy. "I never want to talk to you again," she said. Velasco refused to remain in the same country she inhabited.
In L.A., he got a snake-and-dagger tattoo to remember her by. He'd given her everything but received nothing — just a dagger in the heart.
"Every time I have a broken heart, I need to get a tattoo, and I need to go out and do some stencils," he explains. Tattoos and stencils — which he's used to mark the streets of L.A. — are his therapy.More »