In the Studio with Needleman

November 20, 2015 2015年11月20日



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.


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.”


“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.”


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.


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。

WeChat: needle-man


Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Jia Li

微信: needle-man


供稿人、视频与照片摄影师:Jia Li