We had the good fortune of connecting with Zol and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zol, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Arandas, Jalisco in Mexico. I was brought over when I was just two years old and have lived in America ever since. I’m one of 8 children in my family, and we all grew up very close knit. My dad has been a musician for as long as I remember, and taught each of us an instrument and took us to see his performances with his Norteña band. My mom has been a home maker, and made sure we always had just what we needed. I’m really the only one of my siblings that turned out to be a visual artist, but I’ve liked to try different hobbies throughout my life- I tend to get bored easily.

Having grown up in a conservative Mexican household I’ve been taught to value hard work and sincere relationships. As far as my art goes, I’ve always been supported and encouraged to create without end. I joke around and say I grew up “under a rock”, but really I appreciate the family-based lifestyle I’ve had since it’s helped me focus on my art and feelings instead of being distracted with the plethora of media that’s out there.

Aside from this, I didn’t grow up as well off as other kids have unfortunately. I had all I needed, but just that much. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me toys or support me in frugalities, so that taught me to work for what I want and normally I get what I want now because I either make it, or work for it. For instance, if there was a doll I wanted as a kid that I knew my mom couldn’t buy, I simply made my own doll out of materials I’d found around the house or even sculpt it out of foil. It was all I needed. Without these skills, I wouldn’t have gotten as far in life as I have today.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been creating ever since I was 3 years old. The first thing I ever drew were chains of circles and lines on paper that my mom taught me so that I could practice on. Now, I love creating anything and everything. My art has evolved from simple characters to vivid abstract realistic pieces that look almost metaphysical. I’m synesthetic, so sounds and music translate literally to colors and shapes in my minds eye and are the main driving force behind my color palettes. I’m proud of how intuitive and emotional I can be, because it enriches my art so truly and gives it such a unique dimension.

Getting into the tattoo industry wasn’t easy at all- It took monumental resilience. I knew as I got older that I wanted to tattoo the work I create on people since it was such an ephemeral and meaningful way to create art, but finding a shop to apprentice in took me at least a year. I’m grateful to have been apprenticing in my current shop for a year and a half now, and excited to see where this journey will take me.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve actually only lived in San Diego for two years now and am such a homebody that the only places familiar to me are north park and downtown. More than likely we’d go for walks throughout town, maybe do some photography and hang out at bookstores. I like to think I’m pretty chill.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. They managed to move to an entirely different country with 6 kids ( 2 weren’t born yet) in tow. They made a living enough to feed, clothe, and educate me and my siblings without even knowing English. My dad worked tirelessly to support us and keep us safe while my mom did her best to get us into school, doctors appointments, and everything we could possibly need. My parents deserve their own novel to be honest, but I’ll keep this short. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Instagram: @zol_helios

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.