Tattoos lie beneath the skin’s epidermis and can take the form of words, symbols, pictures, or portraits. They may well be just ink on skin but they are so often misunderstood by conventional minds as reckless ‘youth mistakes’ that goes well with the word ‘rebellious’ or anything similar. How often are we caught guilty by staring at a heavily tattooed man, or worse, woman then making a snappy judgment on them? Almost ninety percent of the time I say. And we should really stop doing that. Here’s why.
Humans have various ways of expressing themselves. We are able to do it through poems, music, films, and photography to name a few. I personally think that tattoos are just another avenue for individuals to express their feelings, thoughts, beliefs, or anything that is deeply personal and holds a great deal of significance to them. Tattoo is an art that’s immortalized on skin instead of canvas. I’m not encouraging that you get inked, but if you do harbor the thought of getting one, just be damn sure that it’s what you really want – think not twice, but thrice!
Today, I caught up with Joseph, the brainchild behind Visual Orgasm tattoo studio, to share with us his views on tattoos, and his life as a professional tattoo artist.
Hi Joseph! How long have you been in the tattoo business?
For about 13 years now.
That’s a long time! Now, what made you want to become a tattoo artist?
I wanted to take art to a different level, and working with different medium intrigues me.
And you’ve chosen that medium to be human skin, mostly. What are your thoughts on tattoos?
Tattoos are just skin deep. Do not judge a book by its cover.
I like that statement. So, share with us your influences or inspirations?
Through traveling, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people.
What is your favourite theme to work on? Tell us why?
Any custom work, particularly in realism style (eg. Portrait). Realism is more challenging as it commands a whole lot of focus and dedication to produce a ‘life-like’ tattoo.
In the process of working on a tattoo for a customer , at which stage would be considered to be your favourite? And your least favourite? What were some of the obstacles you faced?
The favourite and least favourite experience can occur simultaneously. At the first point of communication, some customers’ suggestions open up dimensions, which remain unchartered in me. On the other hand, certain customers can be stubborn when it comes to getting professional advice, such as practical sizing and placement for a tattoo. For example – “1cm rose on finger” or “passport-sized portrait”. Small tattoos with intricate details tend to smudge over time, making it seemed like “nothing lasts forever.”.
When was the first time you got inked?
I got my first tattoo when I was 18. When I felt the moment arrived, I went with it and never looked back since.
Now, what is the most memorable tattoo you’ve ever given? Why?
Every tattoo has a story to tell. For me, there is nothing like the most memorable or the least memorable tattoo. Each and every single one that I worked on inspired me in many ways.
What was the weirdest or unusual request you’ve been asked to do?
A bicycle crank on the ARSE!
Well, that sure is ‘unusual’. (Laughs!) Apart from getting a good and reliable artist which will meet their demands, what will be the advice for people who are considering on getting their first tattoo?
Always check out the artist’s portfolio, and then make an appointment with the artist to discuss how you’d like it to be executed. It’s essential to establish a mutual understanding between you and the artist about the impending tattoo. I just can’t stress enough on the importance of this.
We’ll keep that in mind! Have you got anything to say to the people who are keen to take up tattooing – either as a career or simply out of passion?
Get a professional apprenticeship from a tatttoo studio.
More on Visual Orgasm,
Visual Orgasm is located at No.2 Haji Lane Singapore 189195
Text by: Ryan Cheo
*Images provided by Visual Orgasm
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