Located in Mong Kok, Hong Kong – an area in no short supply of tattoo parlors – sits MoFo Tattoo. With drop-down windows and a brightly lit neon sign, MoFo Tattoo stands out amongst the clutter of parlors. The founder, Hong Kong native Karl Hung, and one of the resident tattoo artists, Cash Chan, are lovebirds who also share a mentor-apprentice relationship. The two attended design school together, and after graduation, they bonded over their mutual interest in tattoo culture. Recently, we dropped by and chatted with the couple about the unique look of the shop and the addictive nature of tattoos.
The atmosphere of MoFo Tattoo is different from the feel of a typical tattoo parlor; the space has a nostalgic quality to it and feels more like a vintage toy store than a tattoo shop. Karl says that many customers have preconceptions of a traditional tattoo parlor being a dark and evil place. Some customers are nervous even before they step through the door. So to offset this misconception, he had the idea to put cute objects in the store to alleviate the brooding atmosphere many associate with tattoo parlors. It was only two years ago when Karl began collecting Japanese vinyl toys and antique furniture two years ago. But as his house slowly filled up with his collection, he had the idea to introduce a similar vintage aesthetic to the tattoo shop. “The dragon and phoenix at the entrance came from a restaurant that went out of business,” Karl comments on my visit. “We asked a friend to grab it for us. No one expects a dragon and phoenix in a tattoo parlor. I think it’s quite interesting so I made it happen.” Besides the collection of toys and dolls, the store showcases old Cantonese movie posters and the framed works of other various tattoo artists, all collected by Karl. “When you like another tattoo artist’s work, you’ll want to buy their art.”
与其说是纹身店，美富纹身给人的第一印象更像是一家怀旧的古董玩具店，一进门就可以看到各式旧公仔放满这个店铺。Karl说传统纹身铺给人的印象是环境昏暗，比较邪恶的地方，这会让有些客人还没来到就开始紧张。但他想多放些可爱的东西在店里，让客人处于一个轻松好玩的环境中。Karl两年前开始收藏日本搪胶玩具以及各式古董家具，渐渐的家里东西越存越多。于是在店铺装修构思的时候，他就打算延续这个自己喜欢的怀旧风格。 “店门口的一对龙凤也是我们托朋友在一家酒楼结业的时候收回来的，没有人会想到在纹身店挂一对龙凤，我觉得挺有趣的，便这么做了。” Karl介绍道。除了大量的玩具公仔以外，店里还挂满了不同类型纹身师的画作，也几乎都是Karl的收藏品。“当你欣赏某位纹身师的时候，就会很想买下对方的作品。”
For Cash Chan, her first encounter with tattoos was when she was 16-years-old. The interest would snowball into a full-blown fixation. She’s been hooked ever since. Chan gets at least one new tattoo per year and proudly says that over 70% to 80% of her body is covered in tattoos. “I use my skin to collect the works of my favorite tattoo artists,” she says. “Will I cover my entire body in tattoos? It’s only a matter of time.” For Chan, tattoos aren’t sentimental souvenirs; instead, she sees them as a method of self-expression, as unique and timeless accessories.
Cash Chan第一次接触纹身是16岁的时候，之后便一发不可收拾, 以至少一年一个的速度增加。现在Cash的身上已有7-8成的皮肤都布满纹身。“我会在身上收集我欣赏的纹身师的作品。纹满全身？那是迟早的事情。” 对她而言，纹身并不感情用事的纪念品，而是属于每个人独有的装饰，是一件永不褪色的衣服。
With her long eyelashes, black eyeliner, and dark red lipstick, Chan might appear intimidating and unapproachable to those that don’t know her. But fitting the Libra archetype, Chan is actually quite sweet and charming. “I love Disney princesses. So when I first started designing tattoos, a lot it was related to princesses,” Chan says. After participating in a tattoo exhibition in England, she was awestruck by the bold use of colors and lines by many of the European artists. “Their works were quite avant-garde, unconfined by any conventional rules.” Returning to Hong Kong, she went a month without creating any new tattoos, but rather spent her time contemplating what type of work she wanted to create. She admits to having felt quite lost and directionless during that time. But inspiration returned one day while she was in the shower. “A colorful image just suddenly came to me. I don’t know what it was, but all I could think about was this image. I knew that’s something I wanted to create right then and there.” When asked about the meaning behind it, she shrugged and said, “When you like something, you like something. There’s no particular reason.”
长而上挑的黑色眼线和深红色唇膏是Cash的外形标志。虽然外表看起来有点冷酷，但天平座的Cash本人还是挺萌的。“我超级喜欢迪士尼公主，所以刚入行时我的纹身作品很多都是和公主相关的。” 然而这一年Cash也经历了纹身风格上的转变。 她坦言，在参加英国纹身展的时候，欧洲纹身师对于颜色及线条的大胆运用让她印象深刻，“他们的创作真的很前卫，完全不会被任何条条框框所限制。” 回到香港后她在店里静坐了一个月，没做过一个纹身，但每天都在思考自己真正想做的风格是什么，那阶段的她比较迷失。关于新的灵感是如何诞生的，Cash笑说灵感来自某天洗澡的时候， “我脑中突然浮现出一个彩色图案，我不知道它是什么，但我满脑子都是这种图案，我便知道就是它了。” 问起图案背后的含义，Cash也非常率性的告诉我们，“我觉得喜欢就是喜欢，并没有什么特殊的原因。”
Every tattoo artist at MoFo is adamant about their aesthetic. Chan mentioned, at times, customers will search for an image online and request that they replicate it. The tattooists will generally flat-out refuse these requests. “We want customers come to us because they like our style,” Chan explains. “Through talking with our clients, we’ll attempt to understand their personality and customize a one-of-a-kind tattoo for them. All customers need to do is show up with an idea, and we’ll take care of everything else.”