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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。”

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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

In the Studio with Hongdam

Ilwol Hongdam is one of South Korea’s most famous tattoo artists. He estimates that over the past four years he’s inked over 3,000 tattoos, and he’s recently begun traveling internationally to reach clients in Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, and Paris.

Such a career was unimaginable in Hongdam’s youth: providing tattoos is illegal in Korea. Growing up, Hongdam steered clear of tattoos, which were associated with gangs. Only after graduating from college did he discover there was less of a stigma in foreign countries. He recalls being shocked by online images of doctors, police officers, and members of other respectable professions with tattoos. That it could be natural for a teacher to write on a blackboard with a tattoo exposed shattered his preconceptions at a time when he was having difficulty finding a career.


Ilwol Hongdam 是韩国最著名的纹身艺术家之一。他估算了一下,过去四年来他的纹身作品已经累积3000多件。最近,他开始环游世界,在上海、香港、纽约和巴黎等城市留下自己的纹身作品。

这样的职业在 Hongdam 年轻时是不可想象的,因为在韩国,纹身依然违法。人们总是将纹身与帮派联系在一起,从小到大 Hongdam 都尽量避免与纹身扯上关系。直到大学毕业后,他才发现原来在外国纹身并非是不良身份的象征。当他第一次在网上看到医生、警官或其他受人尊敬的职业工作人员竟然也有纹身时,感到十分震惊。一名在黑板上写着板书的老师,手上的纹身就这样坦然地暴露出来,原来这只是再普通不过的事情。当他为找工作而烦恼的时候,这个发现彻底颠覆了他的想法。

Hongdam’s background is in traditional Korean art, and from the delicate flower petals and gentle animals that abound in his work, one might expect this to have always been his interest. However, Hongdam says he originally wanted to pursue fashion, and was devastated when he was rejected from the department. Reluctantly, he enrolled in Korean Art and had a low opinion of it until he went to an exhibition by one of his upper classmates. “He wasn’t famous or anything, but his work—a large painting of a woman on silk—was so different from what I had thought of as Asian art.” Hongdam recalls thinking it only meant ink drawings on hanji (traditional Korean paper), so he was surprised by the mix of materials such as oil and acrylic. “It seemed like the division between Asian and Western art was breaking down, and I was shocked that Asian art could do so much, that it could represent things in new ways.”


Hongdam 学的是韩国传统艺术,在他的作品中,常常能看到那些精致细腻的花瓣和温和的动物。人们可能会想纹身就是他的兴趣所在,然而 Hongdam 说他最初想学的其实是时尚专业,当他被学校拒绝时感到十分挫败。最后,他不太情愿地进入了韩国艺术专业,一直以来他对这个专业都兴趣乏乏,直到他去参加一个高年级校友的展览。“他不是什么著名艺术家,但有一幅作品是在丝绸上画的巨幅女性画像,这完全颠覆了我印象中的亚洲艺术。” Hongdam 回忆说。他一直以为亚洲艺术就是在韩纸上的水墨画,所以他对于这种混合不同材料,譬如油画颜料和丙烯颜料,来创作的方式感到很震惊。“这打破了我心中关于亚洲艺术和西方艺术之间的疆界,原来亚洲艺术也可以有这样丰富的表现形式,我真的很意外。”

After working for a time as an art teacher, Hongdam turned to tattoos, both out of curiosity and as a way to keep drawing. Given his traditional training, this turn is both natural and unusual. Unlike irezumi (Japanese tattoos), which are characterized by thick lines that cover large portions of the body, Hongdam’s tattoos resemble the lighter, minimalist style of more traditional ink-wash paintings. One characteristic of traditional Korean art, he says, is that “the canvas is not filled but uses the beauty of blank space, the emptiness.”


在作为一名艺术教师工作了一段时间后,Hongdam 开始纹身的工作,一方面是出于好奇,另一方面也算是他用来继续画画的一种方式。既然他接受的是传统艺术教育,这一转变可以说是既自然、又非比寻常。不像 Irezumi(日式纹身)的线条粗厚,往往覆盖身体很大部分,Hongdam 的纹身则更精细、简约,就如同传统的水墨绘画,“ 传统韩国艺术是画布不会被填满,而是充分利用留白的一种艺术。” 他说。

Hongdam also sees similarities between traditional Korean art and tattoo as a medium. Most of the material and sense of color comes from nature, such as muk (Korean ink), which comes from charcoal trees, and hanji, which comes from mulberry trees. Skin, too, is a natural medium, and Hongdam finds fascination in working with various skin tones, which bring out or tone down his art. He observes one more common feature: “You can’t fix mistakes in traditional ink paintings. You can paint over a mistake in oil, but in once you make a mark with ink, that’s it. That’s why traditional ink artists tend to work in constraint and under high pressure.”


Hongdam 认为,传统韩国艺术和纹身之间的共同点在于 “媒介”。大部分的材料和色彩灵感都来自大自然,譬如他所用的韩国墨水(muk)就是来自木炭,而韩纸则是来自桑树。皮肤也是一种天然媒介,在各种肤色上创作对他来说是一件充满魅力的事情,因为不同的肤色会突显或是柔和他的艺术。他还观察到这两种艺术间的另一个相同点: “在传统水墨画中,一旦画错了是没有办法去弥补的。这和油画不同,因为在油画中你可以直接在画错的地方上继续画,遮掉错误。但一旦你用墨水画多了一点,也就无可挽回了。这就是为什么传统的水墨画艺术家总是在紧张与高压的状态下工作。”

The pressure is even greater for tattoo artists, whose canvas is after all a client’s body. In this, Hongdam sees enormous responsibility. “You know how listening to an old song brings up memories of when you first heard it, like how it was snowing that day or how you were with your first girlfriend? Tattoos are the same. When you look at a tattoo you think back to the artist, and how you felt when you got it,” Hongdam says. “A tattoo you get in a bad environment becomes a scar. I keep this in mind because it’s really important, though it’s hard if the client is rude.”

Asked if he has any particularly memorable clients, Hongdam is quick to reply: “I remember so many of them.” Once he spent three days giving a tattoo to a dermatologist from Paris who specialized in tattoo removal. He’s even given tattoos to celebrities, though because he lacks a television in his office, he sometimes fails to recognize them.

Sometimes he still feels nervous, despite his years of experience in the business. “One time a client kept crying through the process. At first, I thought it was because of the pain, but he told me the tattoo was of his mother’s words, and she had just passed away.” Of course, many people get tattoos for much lighter reasons. “One foreigner said the first thing they drank in Korea was banana milk – which comes in a very distinctive can – and said they wanted it tattooed because it was their image of Korea.”


这样看来,纹身艺术家的压力甚至更大,毕竟他们的“画布”是客户的身体。也正因如此,Hongdam 觉得自己有着很大的责任。“你应该也知道,听一首老歌,你脑海里就会浮现一些回忆,想起你第一次听到它的时候,想起那天下雪,想起你和第一任女朋友在一起的时候。纹身也是这样。当你看到一个纹身时,你会回想起这名纹身师,想起你纹身当时的感觉。” Hongdam 说,“如果你是在恶劣的环境中得到这个纹身,那它就会变成一道疤痕。我一直提醒自己这一点,因为它非常重要。当然要做到这一点并不容易,特别是遇到不礼貌的客户时。”

当他被问及是否有什么特别难忘的客户,Hongdam马上说:“非常多。” 有一次,他花了三天时间给一个专业去除纹身的巴黎皮肤科医生纹身。他也曾经给名人纹身,但因为他的办公室里没有电视机,所以有时候就算是名人他也会认不出来。

尽管已经有多年经验,他有时候仍然会感到紧张。“曾经有一位客户在我为他纹身时一直哭。一开始我以为是因为痛,但他告诉我这个纹身是他母亲曾经说过的话,而她刚刚去世了。” 当然,很多人纹身只是出于更简单的原因。“曾经有一位外国人说,他在韩国喝的第一瓶饮料是香蕉牛奶,他觉得这种牛奶的瓶子形状很特别,纹这个图案也是因为它代表了自己对韩国的印象。”

Even though Korea isn’t the first country that come to mind when one thinks of tattoos, Hongdam says the tattoo scene there is developing quickly. His age puts him somewhere between an older generation that still views tattoos negatively and a more open-minded younger generation, and this fact informs his work.

“Some people think of me as a tattoo artist and not an artist, which is surprising. To me, they are very much the same. Tattoo artists are artists. Some people work with wood or rocks—I’m just someone who works with skin. Why should people who do tattoos only do tattoos, or why should people who paint on canvas be restricted to that medium? I want tattoos to become a natural part of art and society.”


尽管说起纹身,韩国可能不是你第一个想到的国家,但 Hongdam 认为,纹身文化在韩国正在迅速发展。从年龄上看,他介于视纹身为不良标志的旧一代,与态度开明的年轻一代之间。

“有些人认为我是一个纹身艺术家,但又不是艺术家,这一点挺令人惊讶的。对我来说,这两者是一样的。纹身艺术家就是艺术家。有些艺术家用木材或岩石来创作,而我则是在肌肤上创作。为什么纹身艺术家就只能做纹身,为什么画画的人就只能用画布来创作? 我希望纹身能成为艺术和社会中自然存在的一部分。”

He’s not dogmatic about what tattoos should be, and he remains open to all kinds of inspiration. “I don’t want to be an artist who says tattoos have to be one way, or that ink painting should be another—I don’t really find that exciting or appealing. If we weren’t open to new ideas, we wouldn’t have watercolor tattoos, fine line tattoos, pictorial tattoos, or anything else. Though it’s intimidating to encounter ideas you disagree with, we have to be exposed to them, so we can either accept or reject them and see where to go from there.”


他不打算对纹身订下什么教条,他对各种想法持开放的态度。“我不想成为一个要求纹身必须怎样,或者要求水墨画应该怎样的艺术家,我觉得这样做很无趣。如果我们不接纳新的想法,就不会出现水彩纹身、细线纹身、图案纹身等等。不同的想法可能是一种挑战,但我们必须要先接触到这些不同的想法,才能决定要接受或是拒绝它们,再看看如何进行下一步。”

Hongdam hopes younger people see in him an example. “Other than deciding to be a tattoo artist, I’ve decided very few things for myself. Mostly I’ve followed advice from my parents or teachers. The first thing I decided after thinking about what I was good at and what I wanted to do was to become a tattoo artist,” he says. “So I have no regrets—this is something I’ve chosen. In art or anything else, I think it’s important for people to take ownership of their own decisions.”

“It’s a lot like tattoos,” he adds. “Clients often ask their friends where they should get their tattoo. And if they regret their decision, they blame their friends. I think choosing a path is a lot like choosing where to get a tattoo.”


Hongdam 希望年轻人能以他为鉴。“除了做纹身艺术家这个决定,我自己其实很少决定任何事情。大部分时候我都只是按照父母或老师的意见走。在我认真思考了自己擅长什么和想要做什么后,立即就决定成为一名纹身艺术家。我没有遗憾,因为这是我的选择。不论是艺术,或是其它任何事情,我认为对人们来说,自己的决定要自己做,这一点是很重要的。”

他补充说道:“这一点和纹身很像。一些客户经常会问他们的朋友在哪个部位纹身比较好。如果他们事后后悔,就会去怪朋友。我认为人生选择走哪条路,和选择在哪里纹身是一样的。”

Website: iwolhongdam.com
Facebook~/ilwolhongdam
Instagram: @ilwolhongdam

 

Contributor: Eugene Lee, Joe Park


网站: iwolhongdam.com
脸书~/ilwolhongdam
Instagram: @ilwolhongdam

 

供稿人: Eugene Lee, Joe Park

Inside a Mong Kok Tattoo Parlor

 

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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.


美富纹身由香港纹身师洪德輝(Karl Hung)创办,虽然地处纹身铺密集的旺角地区,但醒目的霓虹招牌和敞亮的落地窗户还是让美富纹身显得突出。这次新茶有幸采访了美富的两位纹身师Karl HungCash Chan,除了同事身份之外,他们其实还是一对酷酷的小情侣。Karl和Cash曾是设计学院的同学,毕业后,因为两人对纹身文化共同的痴迷,他们从同学变为情侣,再变成现在的师徒关系。

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.”


这里的纹身师都十分坚持自己的个人风格。 Cash提到有些客人会上网找一张图,然后希望他们纹一模一样的。当遇到这种情况时,美富的纹身师多数会拒绝。“希望客人找我们纹身就是喜欢我们的风格,我们会在与客人的聊天过程中了解他/她的性格,并为其定制一个独一无二的纹身。客人只需要提供一个想法,之后的创作都由我们搞定。”

Instagram:
@mofo_tattoo
@karltattooer
@lilycashchan

 

Contributor, Photographer & Videographer: Ye Zi


Instagram:
@mofo_tattoo
@karltattooer
@lilycashchan

 

供稿人,图片摄影师与视频摄影师: Ye Zi

Starcrossed Tattoo

 

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The tattoo industry in Hong Kong kickstarted during the colonial era, when navy ships would dock by the masses in Victoria Harbour. Thousands of sailors would get inked on these foreign shores and then set sail again with their custom pieces. Tattoo legends like Jimmy Ho, whose father was one of the first tattoo artists in Hong Kong, are still tattooing today. Even though there is a relatively long history of tattooing in Hong Kong, it is only in the recent years that this city has seen vast expansion and diversification in the industry.


香港的文身行業可追溯到殖民時代,那時候大量的軍艦停靠在維多利亞港,成千上萬的水手都會在這異國的海岸上嘗試文身,然後帶著屬於自己特有的印記再次揚帆起航。像何惠民這樣的文身界傳奇們,一直到今天仍從事這個行業,其實他的父親就是香港第一批文身師。雖然文身行業的發展在香港有著相對長久的歷史,但也僅僅是在近些年,文身才在這裡有了快速和多樣化的發展。

Over the last three years, Hong Kong has held a Tattoo Convention annually in September. The convention has been one of the main driving forces behind the recent boom in Hong Kong tattoo culture. The convention gathers visiting artists and exposes the general public to the art form in new and innovative ways. The media has also played an integral role in this development. Shows like LA Ink have created a ripple effect throughout the world, even reaching the distant shores of Hong Kong. It is things like this that are taking tattooing from being something that was previously a bit lowbrow or taboo, and transforming it into a mainstream and sellable art form.


在過去三年裡的每年九月,香港都會舉辦國際文身大會。這個盛會成為了近年來不斷促進香港文身文化繁榮發展的一大動力。大會吸引了眾多文身藝術家的到訪,並以一種全新的方式向公眾展示這一種藝術形式。媒體的參與,也在這個發展過程中發揮了必不可少的作用。像《LA Ink》這樣的電視節目,在世界範圍內如漣漪擴散一般傳播來,甚至得以激盪到香港這般遙遠的海岸。正是由於這些多方的努力,文身才從曾經帶著低俗或禁忌的標籤逐步轉變為主流和走俏的藝術形式。

Hong Kong will always be a dynamic community as it continues to be one of the world’s most transient international cities. Tourists, short-term contracts, cruise ships and mini stopovers all promote a random flux of diversity into the tattoo market. Rich Phipson, co-owner of Starcrossed Tattoo, said that it is due to this that their shop doesn’t have a particular client base. They indulge a very wide variety of customers from all over the world. It goes without saying though that Starcossed Tattoo has a large group of regular clients who have a particular preference regarding the artist they use.


作為一個移民性的世界都市,香港社會永遠充滿了流動性。旅客、短期工、遊輪和小型中轉遊船……所有這些都為這裡的文身市場增添了一種隨機的多樣性。文身店Starcrossed Tattoo的老闆之一Rich Phipson表示,他們的文身店沒有特定的顧客群,取而代之的是來自世界各地各種各樣的人群。自不必多說,Starcossed擁有龐大的常規客戶群,這些顧客對文身師都有自己的偏好。

Starcrossed currently has four artists: Ross Turpin and Rich Phipson from South Africa, who own the shop; Jack from Hong Kong; and Michael, who has been an apprentice for a couple years and is now tattooing clients. Each of the tattoo artists has his own unique visual style but a unifying quality in their work is their bold use of colour.


Starcrossed目前有四個文身師:來自南非的兩位店主——Ross Turpin和Rich Phipson;香港的Jack,以及經過幾年學徒生涯,如今已成正式文身師的Michael。他們每個人都有自己的文身風格,不過這幾人有個相同點就是他們在用色上都非常大膽出色。

In current society – and especially in a place as diverse and vibrant as Hong Kong, people have the freedom to construct their own sense of self. Identity is less likely to be wrapped up in things like one’s profession, social status, or race. Freedom of expression and tattoos contribute to the creative composition of the modern day individuals’ identity.


在當今社會,尤其是像香港這樣多元和充滿活力的地方,人們都可以自由地進行自我意識構建。每個人的身份構建不再完全由職業、社會地位或者種族等因素所決定。個人表達和文身的自由,都有助於當代人群創造屬於自己的個體身份特徵。

Websitestarcrossedtattoo.com
Instagram: @starcrossedtattoo

 

Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Mireille Paul


網站starcrossedtattoo.com
Instagram: @starcrossedtattoo

 

供稿人、視頻與圖片攝影師: Mireille Paul

The Tattoo Dragon

 

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Liu Wenlong is a tattoo artist who splits his time between the cities of Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province) and Hohhot (Inner Mongolia). As one of China’s most famous tattoo artists, he founded Wencui Ciqing Tattoo Studio. In Liu Wenlong’s name, the Chinese character wen is the first part of the Chinese word for “tattoo,” while the character long means dragon. Over the years, Liu has developed a unique tattooing style that fuses his deep appreciation of traditional Chinese culture with modern tattoo design.


刘文龙是居住在中国呼和浩特和杭州的文身艺术家。作为中国最知名的文身师之一,他也是文粹刺青文身工作室的创始人。“文”是“文身”的“文”,“龙”是“中国龙”的“龙”,带着父母所起之名的刘文龙,热爱中国传统文化,更将自身对中国传统文化的深刻理解注入当代文身中,形成了自己的一套独立系统。

Back in 2005, there were many small tattoo shops in China that specialized in the passing fad of the day: tattooing women’s eyebrows. This fad was a catalyst for Liu’s interest in tattooing, so much so that one day he decided to try out tattooing on himself. He gave himself a simple tattoo and showed it off to one of the local tattoo shop owners. The shop owner was so impressed that he offered Liu an apprenticeship. After a few years, Liu honed his skills and began to focus on traditional Chinese tattoo culture. This marked the beginning of what has now been a ten year creative exploration into the art of tattooing.


2005年的时候,中国街边有很多给人纹纹眉毛之类的小纹绣店。当时的他出于兴趣,想给自己文个身。文完之后,纹绣店老板发现他文的比自己还要好,就接受了刘文龙留在店内工作。而后2007年,他开始做中国传统的文身,并一路摸索前进。于是这一文便是十年。

China’s tattoo tradition is longstanding, with its primary roots in warding off evil spirits and misfortune. For example, when hunters went off into the wild in search of game, certain tattoo images were said to protect them. In other cases, tattoos were symbols used to denote rank or social status within respective Chinese social circles. All throughout Chinese history, tattoos have also been associated with religion, personality cults, and organized crime. But in contemporary China, like elsewhere in the world, tattoos are mostly just about personal self-expression. “People who are into tattoos are those who love themselves, who believe in themselves, and who thirst for freedom. They are fiercely independent and wildly free-spirited. They don’t care what others think. They only answer to themselves,” says Liu of his patrons.


中国文身传统由来已久,最开始的文身主要是为了辟邪。出海打猎都会有特定的图纹以保平安。在文身发展过程中,也有一段时期个人身上所文的图腾是作为社会等级地位的象征,并有带有宗教象征意义,以及严格的等级限制和规范。总而言之,文身这件事不外乎宗教、个人崇拜与符号象征。时至今日,文身更多是一个人的自我表达。“喜欢文身的人,首先是信仰,二是爱’我’,渴望自由。都是特别自由特别独立的一类人,他不会去管别人的看法。他做什么只会问自己。”刘文龙告诉我们,他现在的客户也是这样的人。

The way Liu sees it, “Tattooing isn’t just about turning one’s skin into a canvas, or using a tattoo gun like a paintbrush. There’s much more to it.” Besides a tattoo’s uniqueness and staying power, Liu carefully considers all aspects of the tattoo design. Before he starts sketching a particular tattoo, he needs to know what his customers want to express, their particular skin tone, their muscle form, their attitude, and their outlook. His sketches are followed by scaled mock-ups, color matching, and detailed renderings. This process can take up to a year to complete, and only then does the actual tattooing begin.


在刘文龙看来,文身并非只是“皮肤为画布,文身机作笔”这么简单。文身在一块皮肤上的唯一性和时间上的持续性,让他对每个图形的设计都非常谨慎。在知道客户的想法和信仰之后,他还会细致观察客户的肤色肌肉以及整个人的状态。此后才会作草图,再画与人体等比例的图,最后出一个包括色调搭配等的完整效果图。这一个阶段历时不定,甚至有时候一年也无法完成。

The relationship between Liu’s customers’ muscle forms and his designs is of utmost importance to his creative process. His designs are customized to best suit the shapes and movements of each of his clients’ bodies. In addition to ths, Liu also incorporates Chinese philosophical traditions of the five elements into his tattoo composition. He identifies the three sections of the body as water, land, and air in order to correspond to heaven, earth, and man. “If you look at the composition of my designs on a person’s body, you will notice that the legs and feet typically feature powerful water elements. The mid-sections have a lot of stones or earth elements. The upper body will feature clouds or mist, or things related to the air. ” For Liu, this compositional arrangement gives people power, stability, and strength.


人体肌肉和图形之间的关系也是他设计一个图案极为重要的考量因素。所以,他会设计特殊的线条去配合人体肌肉的运动。除此之外,他还应用到中国的五行理论,将人的身体分为水、陆、空三个部分,以代表天、地、人。“一个人站在那里的时候,脚的位置是下部的中心,所以会用一些比较有力量的水;中间的部分会用一些山石、陆地等,比较上的部分会用一些云雾啊,跟云有关系的东西。”他认为,这样规划的文身在人站起来的时候就有了支撑点了,充满力量。

Comparing Chinese style to Japanese style tattoos, which also heavily utilize traditional Chinese cultural elements, Liu says, “From design form and visual appeal to significance and meaning, I still prefer the aesthetic of Chinese style tattooing. The Chinese tradition is mostly about powerful, breakthrough imagery that represents meaning and significance through poetic harmony and abstraction. Chinese tattoo artists focus on the storytelling behind the imagery and the hidden gems of inherit meaning. The images might seem abstract and fantastical, but its only through this approach that we are able to communicate the full scope and depth of our thoughts.” Liu plans to continue exhibiting his work at international tattoo conventions with the goal of showcasing the uniqueness and beauty of Chinese tattoo culture to the world.


相较于同样应用了很多中国传统元素的日本文身,在赞赏日本对文化的传承以及文身的细致之余,刘文龙说:“从图案的造型、韵味、意义上来说,我还是比较中意我们中国人的审美。中国文身更多的是突破这个形,要表达的是意义和韵。我们比较注重图案后面的东西。有时候笔没有写实到那个点,但是通过那个点去达意。”他将中国文身带到国外去,也是希望可以让世界知道中国的文身。

Instagram@cuitattoo
Weibo@文粹刺青TATTOO
WeChat: wencuitattoo

 

Contributors: Gerhan, Banny Wang
Videographers & Photographers: Gerhan, Damien Louise
Additional Images Courtesy of Cui Tattoo


Instagram@cuitattoo
微博@文粹刺青TATTOO
微信: 文粹刺青

 

供稿人: Gerhan, Banny Wang
视频摄影师与图片摄影师: Gerhan, Damien Louise
附加图片由文粹刺青提供

In the Studio with Needleman

 

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Needleman is a Beijing-based tattoo shop started by two friends, Man and Xing. Man tattoos, and Xing designs calligraphy. As collaborators, they both have a common appreciation not just for the art of tattooing, but for all traditional arts and painting.


满针人是由满涛和星这两位好友共同创立于北京的文身工作室。满是文身师,星负责字体设计。作为合伙人,他们除了喜欢文身艺术之外也都对传统艺术和绘画十分热爱。

A former ice carver from the northern city of Harbin, Man later moved to Beijing to attend the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. It was there that he met Xing, who studied Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting. Last year, Man and Xing co-founded the Needleman tattoo workshop which combines both aspects of their talents into one concept.


来自北方城市哈尔滨的前冰雕师满涛,在移居北京就读中央美术学院时认识了星, 星主攻书法和传统国画。去年,满涛和星将各自所长融合成为一个概念,共同创建了满针人文身工作室。

“China has a lot of really great folk art and traditional arts – for example, Shaanxi leather-cut designs and papercut art,” Man explains, “a lot of that actually already resembles the Western old-school style of tattooing. We want to use tattoo art to translate some of these traditional concepts into modern ideas that young people can also appreciate.”


中国有许多优秀的民间艺术和传统艺术——比如陕西的皮影和剪纸艺术满涛说,许多东西其实都和西方old-school的文身风格很像。我们希望通过文身艺术将这些将被遗忘的传统概念转化成能被当代年轻人接受的现代东西。

“As a calligrapher, it’s important to design characters for tattoos which look good on all the contours of the body,” Xing says,” but they also need to be quite refined and sophisticated based on Chinese calligraphy traditions.”


作为一名书法家,对我来说设计文身字体最重要的是如何让它能在人体的线条上最好地呈现出来星说,但还是要基于传统书法的水准去完善和细化。

Their combined approach can spark interesting ideas in China, where there are many tattoo stereotypes and clichés. Needleman’s tattooing style is actually much more adaptable and fluid, often taking inspiration from old-school, Japanese, traditional, and new modern styles.


在中国,有太多关于文身的刻板印象和陈词滥调,而他们这种融合的模式在这样一个环境下是个相当有趣的亮点。满针人的文身old-school、日式、传统和新摩登风格中摄取灵感,他们的风格也更容易被人接受得多。

Outside of the tattoo workshop, they also illustrate books, paint larger works, and make art prints. “We complement each other as artists,” says Man. Their classical training as fine artists is evident in the illustrative quality of their tattoo work.


除了文身,他们也创作图书插画、大型绘画及艺术版画。满涛说: “从艺术角度上来说,我们正好互补。”二位接受过的正统纯艺术学习,在他们的文身作品绘制中展露无余。

Weibo@满针人
WeChat: needle-man

 

Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Jia Li


微博@满针人
微信: needle-man

 

供稿人、视频与照片摄影师:Jia Li