Tag Archives: tattoo art

More than Skin Deep

 

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To mark the launch of Skullcandy‘s wireless Push™ earphones, we teamed up with the brand to present a series of stories celebrating those in the creative community who push themselves to the limit and break boundaries.

For the first story of the series, we caught up with professional skateboarder Wang Di. In this installment, we met up with tattoo artist Miho (Yao Meihui) to chat about body art, defying convention, and having the conviction to succeed.


为庆祝蓝牙无线耳机 Push™ 的重磅推出,Skullcandy 与 Neocha 正式携手合作,为你带来几位艺术家、运动员和音乐人,打破极限,自我出声的故事。

在这系列的第一篇,我们向大家讲述了职业滑手王玓的故事。而本期我们与纹身艺术家姚美惠会面,聊了聊关于身体艺术、挑战常规和相信自己的一切。

Yao Meihui is not your parents’ tattoo artist. Reserved, almost self-effacing, she’s hard to imagine wielding a tattoo gun. Were it not for the Chinese character drawn on her left cheek—jin (金), or gold—you might not even guess she has an interest in body art, much less that she runs one of Shanghai’s most in-demand studios, Shizhuo Tattoo. Her designs are unconventional, with intricate cartoon illustrations of goth girls drawn in a style she describes as Japanese and New School.

Yao is also not her parents’ tattoo artist. Their generation thought tattoos were something decent people just didn’t have. When she came home with her first one, at the end of high school, her parents pretended not to notice, maybe because she got it to celebrate a good score on the college entrance exam. But a few years later, when she announced she wanted to learn how to make them herself, her father hit the roof, and even threatened to cut her off. “My dad was against me learning how to do tattoos for a lot of reasons. One of them is that Northeastern China, where I’m from, is pretty conservative,” she says. “There’s a prejudice against it. If you have tattoos, maybe people will think you’re a thug or a criminal.”

Yet Yao stuck to her guns and kept learning on the sly. She taught herself the basics online, found her first willing customers, and eventually started to work at a roadside shop. After a couple of years, she apprenticed herself at YZ Tattoo, one of China’s most famous studios. Now that she’s become an independent, sought-after artist, even her dad’s come around.


姚美惠并不是父母那一代人眼中的纹身艺术家。她内敛、低调,看起来一点也不像一个会用纹身枪的人。要不是她左脸上画着的“金”字,你大概想不到她会对这项人体艺术有任何兴趣,更想不到她竟然是上海最受欢迎的纹身工作室——十浊刺青的创始人。她的纹身作品多是以“日式和新学院风格”描画复杂的哥特女孩纹身图案,标新立异风格,又不会令人觉得出格。

当然,姚美惠也不是她父母眼中的纹身艺术家。在她父母那一代人眼中,只有不太正派的人才会有纹身。但在高中毕业时,她纹了自己的第一个纹身,她的父母假装没有看到,猜想她也许只是因为考进了一所好大学,想要庆祝一下。但几年后,当她告诉父母,自己想学习如何纹身时,她的父亲火冒三丈,甚至威胁要切断她的经济来源。“我爸讨厌我学纹身有多方面吧,一个是东北那边比较保守,是对有纹身的人的一种偏见。如果说你有纹身的话你可能是一个地痞或一个流氓。”她说。

然而,姚美惠没有放弃,而是偷偷跑去学纹身。她在网上自学了基础知识,找到她的第一位自愿的客户,后来又开始在路边的店里工作。过了几年,她在杨卓刺青,中国最有名的纹身工作室之一当学徒。而现在,她已经成为一个抢手的独立纹身师,她的爸爸也开始理解她。

Ever since she was little, when she saw her first cartoons, Yao has loved to draw. Her childhood dream was to make animated films, and at college, that’s what she studied. Only toward the end of her undergraduate years did she decide to take a different path from her classmates. “Tattoos are a pretty niche thing,” she recalls them telling her. “You probably can’t live off of that.” 

Yao didn’t want to take the easy path. “I like to create different kinds of art,” she says. And she also likes to use different kinds of materials, something she couldn’t really do as an animator. “Skin is a really magical material. Skin is always different,” she says. “Some have soft skin, some people have hard skin, some people have thick skin, some people have thin skin.” On top of that, every body part is different and responds differently to the needle. “Every job is a challenge, you always feel you’re doing something new.”


从姚美惠小时候看了第一部漫画后,她就喜欢上画画。她儿时的梦想是制作动画电影,在大学也是读这个专业。直到本科快毕业时,她才决定选择与她的同学不同的职业。 “纹身是一个很小众地东西,你可能没有办法靠它吃饭。”她回忆当时同学对她的劝告。

姚美惠没有选择更容易走的那条路。“我喜欢创作不一样的造型。” 她说。她更喜欢用不同的创作材料,这是动画制作所没有的。“皮肤就是一个很神奇的材质。皮肤永远是不一样的,有的人皮肤比较软,有的人皮肤比较硬,有的人皮肤厚,有的人皮肤薄。”她说。最重要的是,每一个身体部位是不同的,在针刺下去时也会有不尽相同的反应。“每一次的工作都是挑战,你会觉得自己总是在做一些新的东西。”

Getting to where she is now took determination. Yao didn’t only face opposition from her father, she also had to face doubts from one of her mentors, a well-known tattoo artist with his own shop. “I’d been working there for around three years, and one day we were all sitting in a meeting and talking about tattoo styles and things. And our boss said to the dozen or so of us there, ‘None of the people sitting here will become an artist,’” she recalls. “But actually I was thinking, ‘I will.’” She’s always believed in herself, and that confidence pushes her to always keep moving forward, even when she’s not sure what to do next.


要走到她今天这一步需要极大的决心。姚美惠不仅要面对她父亲的极力反对,还要面对来自她的一位师傅的质疑,那是一位经营着自己的纹身工作室的著名纹身师。“我去了那家店工作了大概三年吧,大家坐在一起开会,讨论纹身风格啊,这些工作方面的事情。然后老本跟我们十几个说,‘在座的各位,你们谁都成不了艺术家。’”她回忆说,“但是我一直认为我可以。”她一直都对自己充满信心,正是这种自信,推动她不断前进,即使是在迷茫的时候。

When Yao finds herself stuck creatively, she’s not immune to doubt. “When you’re blocked, you start to wonder if you’ve veered off course. Maybe my style isn’t natural enough? Maybe what I’m inking isn’t solid enough?” Her response is to force herself to keep creating. That’s the only way to get unstuck. Sometimes she’ll try painting or drawing for a bit— the detour into a different medium broadens her pool of inspiration. “I don’t let my hand stop, don’t let my brain stop,” she says. “You can really get a lot out of that. And when you finally make it past the dead end, you take a big leap forward.”


当姚美惠遇到创作瓶颈时,她也会怀疑自己。“遇到瓶颈期的时候是会怀疑自己会不会有点走偏了?风格会不会不够洒脱?”她的回应是不断强迫自己保持创作。这是打破瓶颈的唯一办法。有时,她会试着去画画:用不同的媒介来拓宽了她的灵感。“我的做法就是手不要停下,脑子也不能停下,真的会收获到不一样的东西,过了瓶颈期就会有一个大飞跃。”

Being an artist is about constantly improving, says Yao. “Your works always look best before you’re finished. When you’ve added the last stroke, you think, ‘Not bad, but not perfect.’ A week later you think ‘They’re terrible, I need to do something better.'” She never stops seeking to outdo herself, making each design better than the last.

“Pushing limits, for me, means not stopping, always trying different methods, and striving to break through that dead end. Then you can soar.”


在姚美惠看来,作为一个艺术家就是要不断提升自己。“自己的作品永远都是画完之前最好看,刚画完觉得嗯,还不错,差一点。过一周就觉得不行,我还需要更好的。她从未停止过对自我的挑战,努力让每一件作品都超越前一个。

“突破极限对我来说就是不要停下来,一直要去尝试不同的方法,然后努力地跨过那道卡,就是质的飞跃。”

Shop the Push™ wireless earphones at Skullcandy’s Tmall page or official website.


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Weibo: ~/crowstattoo
Instagram: @meihui_miho

 

Contributor: Allen Young
Videographer: Ni ZhaoyuYang BingyingPaul Gardette, Damien Louise
Photographer: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


微博: ~/crowstattoo
Instagram: @meihui_miho

 

供稿人: Allen Young
摄像师: Ni Zhaoyu, Paul Gardette, Yang Bingying, Damien Louise
摄影师: David Yen
英译中: Olivia Li