MY NAME IS VINNY VALDEZ.
I grew up in a household of seven, not counting the animals. If you want to count the animals I lived with then not my hands along with yours would be enough. Dogs, cats, snakes, turtles, birds – you name it, I probably had it in my house at some point in my life. A typical Saturday morning was spent strolling with some family members in a nearby forest to check out and feed animals. There was also the occasional waddle in ponds, creeks, and lakes for turtles, a particular favorite animal of mine.
In addition to animals, art is something that occupies a large part of my mind, heart, and time. Growing up Deaf in a hearing family has allowed me to observe closely how hearing people perceive the world through sounds. It was through that experience that it dawned upon me what kind of advantage I hold in my talent. When it comes to creating a piece of work, many artists use auditory cues as their source of inspiration.
I, as a deaf artist, develop my vision and ideas through visual cues. I completed my education in Fine Arts at Illinois State University in 2007 with a special interest in studio photography. Photography is a medium that I have always appreciated because it allows me to put a special emphasis on the smaller details that people oftentimes overlook.
Always thirsty for a new medium to put my skills to a test, I decided to take up on tattooing. I did what I had to do and landed an apprenticeship in 2010 in Chicago with an artist who tattooed me in the past, Jacob Kearney. I knew that my life had rolled over into a new chapter when I realized that inking people is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Now that I’ve discovered my true calling, I live by a mantra that is inked behind my ear: “Silence is golden.”