Marilyn Rondon: The Artist Behind the Ink

Upon meeting Marilyn Rondon I instantly get the impression that she is an old soul. She speaks about her art and experiences with such a strong sense of awareness that could only come with lifetimes of having been dragged through hell and back.

A multi-disciplinary artist, Marilyn has an impressive repertoire of works to her name, ranging from her ‘Naked On The Internet’ series, where she exposes the sexual harassment that women face daily online, to the much needed educational children’s book ‘Why Does Mummy Have Tattoos?’. Her recent jewellery collaboration with VidaKush is a fresh line of necklaces designed for those who are emotionally aware and sensitive to energy. An ever-evolving artist, and human in general, I chatted to Marilyn Rondon about being a mentor online for mental illness, the process of healing from past experiences, and being a ‘Dreamer’ in the current political climate.

Marilyn rondon shot by Gustavo Oliver for Subvrt

Are there any creative processes or rituals that you undergo when producing your art? 

No rituals. I just need space and sometimes silence, or a good soundtrack, and minimal distractions. I like working alone, I can’t get much done if there is anyone around, I can only hold a conversation and make work (not including writing) via Facetime. Sometimes if I’m painting and feel lonely I’ll Facetime a friend while I work.

marilyn rondon

How has moving from Miami to LA impacted on you as an artist?

It’s been really difficult. Most of my stuff is in storage in Miami, so I’ve had to take a break. My computer also crashed on me a few weeks ago so I haven’t even been able to write, I’ve been writing in my notes on my iPhone. Definitely not my preferred medium but I’ll do what I can. I’m not the best at journaling, I’ll write like a sentence and then remember I have something else to do. Lately getting anything done has been really a task being that I’m in recovery for the second time and recently lost a very important person in my life, so my mind and heart are scattered, I’m sensitive, having a depressive episode and just trying to bounce back and re-find my joie de vivre.

Marilyn Rondon shot by Gustavo Oliver for Subvrt

Is there one particular medium that you resonate the most with creatively? 

No- I’m multidisciplinary because I am so ADD- I’m no master of any and don’t plan to be. I like trying many things, that’s the fun in life- trying things out, sticking to something for a while when it fits, and then moving on when I’m ready.

Artist Marilyn Rondon shot by Gustavo Oliver for Subvrt.

You recently changed your IG name from calientechica to intellectualchica. What inspired that change?

The change was an accident and I’m still pretty bummed on it. I was having lunch with a friend and jokingly said “I’m going to change my name to ‘caliente.pHd'”, because I’m constantly on it advocating mental health and alternatives to big pharma, and so I changed it, and within like 10 mins someone took my username. I was pissed and deactivated my account in a fit of rage, with myself and with the asshole that would just do that – so I had to meditate on it, and that’s when ‘intellectual chica’ was born. She’s caliente chica’s higher power. A little less emo, a little more bossy.

marilyn rondon

I am definitely a believer in the healing power of music, and its ability to transcend dimensions. What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now

Lil Peep + Wicca Phase Springs Eternal- Absolute In Doubt. Lil Peep- Suck My Blood. Lil Peep – Veins. Lil Peep- Told Ya. Lil Peep- Falling For Me. RIP LIL PEEP ily

How do you feel about being a mentor to those on Instagram who are experiencing depression or have mental illnesses of their own? 

I find it’s a full-time job and holds me accountable for everything I say and do. If I don’t practice what I preach not only am I letting myself down, I’m literally letting down the thousands of people that look to me as an icon. It helps keep me going although at times my depression is crippling and I don’t want to do a thing. I think about deactivating my account at least twice a day.

marilyn rondon

You have been very vocal about your personal experiences with drug abuse and domestic violence. Do you think that talking openly about your past has assisted in the healing process for you? 

I think yes and no. I think unfortunately it’s created a space for people to judge me, but it’s not for those people. When I was younger people’s judgement really would get to me. It was really hard for me to look at myself as myself- I would hear their voices constantly telling me I was a freak, loser, outsider, attention whore, whatever other label you want to give me- and being a person with mental illness- that’s the worst thing you can do.

It’s constant evil eye, constant demons mocking me. I’ve gone into a state of psychosis more than a handful of times. It’s painful, it makes me want to never do anything. But then someone beautiful- an angel will reach out and remind me why what I do is important. Sometimes I get mad at myself for sharing so much of my personal journey with the world- but I’ve been working on a book for the last 5 years that I hope to publish in the next year- and if it can save just 1 life- then I guess leaving myself out to bleed for the vultures has been worth it.

marilyn rondon

If you could go back and give any words of wisdom to your teenage self, what would they be? 

No matter what people say, you got it goin’ on. 😉

What’s the biggest misconception that people seem to have about you? 

People in general are just very intimidated by me because I have all these face tatts and I’m also an introvert. I’m highly sensitive so I come off as a bitch, or shy, but really I’m just feeling everything out and observing. I’m an observer, I’m not intimidating- I’m really goofy once you get to know me, and at times can also come off as a know-it-all, but it’s just because I love filling my brain up with knowledge and random facts. I like knowing what the fuck I’m talking about and I guess at times it could rub people the wrong way.

What are your thoughts on energies and auras having a colour associated with them? Is there a colour that you would associate with your self? 

Of course, everything in the universe is energy. I believe in auras because of life experiences I’ve had where I can visually see mine and other people’s auras. I’m an indigo child. I’m also an avatar.

Tattoo artist and visionary

As a Dreamer (undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children) how are you dealing with the Senate’s recent failure to process updated legislation that would enable a clean Dream Act following off from Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program)? 

My most recent depression episode was because of this reason. For the last 6 months I have been in limbo knowing whether or not my work visa can be renewed this year. On Monday congress passed a bill that allows DACA holders to renew their DACA but doesn’t allow new applicants. I finally feel a sigh of relief because I’m no longer at risk to lose my working abilities, but am still going to be an advocate for DACA because there are so many immigrant youth that are eligible and it’s just out right wrong that they can’t have rights when THIS COUNTRY IS LITERALLY ALL IMMIGRANTS.

marilyn rondon

For those who aren’t aware, or want to help out, what can be done? 

Keep talking about it and keep signing petitions, go out on the street and protest, call your representatives,  but most importantly SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS.

Are there any ways in which you would like to use your Instagram following as a catalyst for change or awareness that you haven’t had the chance to engage in already? 

I’m still trying to explore that- one of my next steps is to get my kundalini yoga teacher training so I can teach in prison systems, and start a youtube channel bringing more awareness on addiction + meditation methods.

marilyn rondon

Can you share with us what you’re currently working on? 

sorry, issa secret.

Follow the adventures of Marilyn Rondon adventures on her Instagram.

Tattoo artist and healer in a film photoshoot.


Photographer: Gustavo Oliver

Make up: Janice @__a_s_i_a

Stylist: Pheonix @project9tail

Interview: Sahar Nicolette


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