SLUG Style: Mao Barroteran
Art and Fashion
Mao Barroteran oozes the type of style that’s so modern it’s ahead of its times. With a background in dancing, music and preforming arts, Barroteran treats every sidewalk as their personal runway.
Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.
What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, decade, fictional character—anything.
My style definitely embodies modernism. I like anything functional, genderless, sizeless. I tend to gravitate toward comfort but always like to keep looks streamlined, clean and edgy. Not to be that bitch, but I like to draw inspo from interiors, architecture, galleries, etc. I find it easy to pull a look based on a feeling I had going through a museum or color palettes I find driving around in buildings or on the street.
Long answer short, I’m not sure I have a specific thing or iconic character for reference!
What are your interests or hobbies? What is the hobby or interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about? Tell us about it!
I really enjoy anthropology. When I was younger, I used to spend my time researching ancient civilizations from around the world. That eventually had me very infatuated with polynesian performing arts. I eventually started taking polynesian traditional dance and music lessons, which I practiced for years! Now I just do it when I have to move my body or find time to keep my dancing skills up to date.
I do believe that my deep interest in traditional cultures taught me to appreciate colors, textiles and accessories as an intentional way to show who you are and how you see yourself.
I also enjoy putting playlists together, long stoney walks, gallery dates with friends and late-night house parties.
Tell us about your tattoo work! What do you try to express in your work and what draws you toward tattooing?
I started my tattoo apprenticeship a little over three years ago. I have been tattooing on my own for a little over a year. I come from a DIY garage tattoo background—that’s how I got my first tattoos. It taught me that tattooing can be anything and done by anyone. That’s exactly what I want to create on people’s bodies: art that hasn’t been seen before, as well as art that you can quickly recognize. I love cartoony to abstract shit. Contemporary tattooing excites me so much because modern artists are slowly ripping away the silly “rules” this industry has, which shouldn’t even be there in the first place. I could go on and on about the gatekeeping and weird/negative things and experiences tattooing can come with, but I personally choose to ignore the bad and push the good (-;
There is such power in seeing new artists approach tattooing in such a nuanced way, and that inspires me so much. Most credit for dismantling toxic unspoken rules in the tattoo world goes to queer and artists of color in my experience, which comes as no surprise!
In my tattoo practice, I wish to show that you can create whatever you want with your body. Make your body yours and unique. I also want to express the fact that art is for every single living body, no matter size, shape, color or abilities. I understand tattooing is a permanent way to modify your body, but is it really that deep? One day this body is going to be recycled into earth and dissolve away. Just get that tatt, girl.
How do tattoos factor into your style considerations?
I think they go hand-in-hand portraying something contemporary. I love it when I see someone and I can just tell they know themselves and have a sense of individuality. When I design tattoos, I try my best not to restrict myself or believe that I have to portray this specific brand or style. I tend to have a similar train of thought when I dress myself. I like to collect pieces that are beautiful or special in their own way. That way when I dress myself, the whole thing comes together automatically! I find this to happen with tattooing as well. Ideas and imagery that I see as attractive or cool—I try to make work into designs.
Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?
I can confidently say that I’m always on! It doesn’t really take much effort for me to pull a look to be honest. I 100% believe that the way I look is a direct reflection of how I feel inside and vice versa. Dressing myself is my favorite thing to do, so every opportunity I have to put a cute lil fit on, imma go all the way! It doesn’t always mean I need to look sharp or cohesive head to toe, but at least the elements I have are usually special and unique to me.
There’s nothing more powerful than wearing a full look to take the trash out.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be?
Unique, edgy, modern p•;
What tends to catch your eye about others’ fashion?
Sense of individuality. I can always appreciate someone’s style, even when it is not my taste, or looks [be] far from what I would wear. I love seeing a person confident in what they’re wearing and projecting that outward.
Also, accessories! I want to see a bag even if it’s empty lol. COMMIT 2 THE LOOK!!!
How has your personal style evolved over time?
I have definitely been through so many phases in my personal style from the punk kid in junior high to the minimalist tech guy a few years ago. I have allowed myself to experiment and get a feel for what I like. I do feel that what I like and wear today is a filtered down collection of what I’ve liked and worn in the past. I turn 30 this year, and I can confidently say I know myself and what I like to wear very well at this point.
I’m always so excited to let my style evolve, and that’s the one single thing that I remain permanently excited about!