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shark tattoo designs

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									                                                                                                                  Life imitates art

                                           Inking the deal
                                            On the brink of his 40th birthday, Michael Franco finds out what it
                                            takes to get a tattoo – and be a tattoo artist – in Singapore
                                                                          2, 38A Lorong Mambong          physical pain to overcome the emotional pain.’
                                                                          (6284 7287, www.shark          Working out of a vibrantly designed home stu-
                                                                       Al-   dio, Young likes to get tattoo designs straight
                                                                          though largely self-taught,    out of the minds of his clients. ‘I want it really
                                                                          Scott de Silva is probably     from their words,’ he says, ‘because the thing is,
                                                                          the closest thing Richard      when you come in with a certain piece of work,
                                                                          Bahadur has to a disciple.     you can actually be caught in that piece of art
                                                                          One look at his portfolio      and your imagination is restricted from going
                                                                          clearly proves that learn-     further.’ He excels at both human and animal
                                                                          ing from a master has its      portraiture, his stunning black-and-grey de-
                                                                          benefits. De Silva special-     signs taking on near-photographic quality.
                                                                          ises in cover-ups – not
                                                                          something many artists         Jerry Tan, Sacred Needle #04-87 Far
                                                                          relish as it can involve       East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd (6734 0046). There
                                                                          melding their own style        are many tattoo parlours on the fourth floor of
                                                                          with an inferior one. In       Far East Plaza, but when talking to the local
                                                                          his hands though, your         body-art community, this shop – helmed by
Art by another name Use your body as a blank canvas for                   ugly old tatt will be trans-   Jerry Tan, who’s been inking for nine years
creative expression                                                       formed, like a worm into       – always gets more mention than the others.
                                                                          a butterfly (literally).        Unlike Young, Tan prefers his clients bring in a
When I told my wife I wanted something                                                                   design; his black-and-grey work is among the
involving pain, bare skin and a man for my            Kirby Lian, Utopia Studio #02-95 Roxy              best in the business. Also operating out of his
upcoming birthday, she didn’t even blink.             Square Shopping Centre, 50 East Coast Rd           shop is Yus, who specialises in Japanese de-
    I’d been talking about getting a tattoo for at    (6346 1541, When             signs. On getting a permanent piece of body
least 20 years, so when the time finally came to       asked about his speciality, 49-year-old Kirby      art, Tan says, ‘The thing about tattooing is that
put some ink where my mouth was (well, a lit-         Lian says: ‘I like to create something that in-    it’s quite addictive. Once you have one, you’ll
tle lower), it wasn’t at all surprising. My quest     volves the lifestyle of my clients. For example,   come back for more.’
to become a marked man led me first to a meet-         I like to use their name or horoscope to cre-
up with the Singapore Tattoo Club, a Facebook         ate individualised designs.’ Equally adept at
group with more than 250 members. They sent
me down the well-lined path to discovering the
                                                      colour and black and grey, Lian has been tat-
                                                      tooing for seven years and is eager to see the
                                                                                                         Designs on
top local tatt artists. While all skin artists tell
you they can do any style of tattoo, they are
                                                      Singapore tattoo scene continue to evolve. To
                                                      that end, he is organising the very first Singa-
                                                                                                         your body
listed here with the work they truly excel at…        pore Tattoo Show (9-11 January 2009) at Singa-     A glossary of tattooing
                                                      pore Expo Hall 6. Utopia also features Donald      • Old school Think drunken sailors: skull
Richard Bahadur, Body Décor Tattoo                    Kwek, known for his colour work and Japanese       and roses, pin-up girls, hearts, daggers,
and Piercing #04-22 The Heeren, 260 Or-               designs, and apprentice Deborah Tan, who           banners with names in them. Usually sim-
chard Rd (6235 3744, www.bodydecortattoo.             specialises in new-school needle work.             pler designs using basic colours, especially
com). If there’s a godfather of tattooing in Sin-                                                        red and blue.
gapore, it’s Richard Bahadur. He is the son of        Joseph Siow, Visual Orgasm #03-19                  • New school Tends to be fantastical and
Indra Bahadur, or ‘Johnny Two Thumbs’, who            Parklane Mall, 35 Selegie Rd (6336 5884,           extremely colourful, ranging from stylised
first brought the art of mechanised tattooing to If your tastes veer        anime-like images to outer-space themes.
the city in 1950. Although he began at 14 under       towards the dark side, Joseph Siow is your         Often done by younger artists.
his father’s tutelage, inking wasn’t his first call-   man. His early influences included a good           • Cover-up Any tattoo that obliterates or
ing. ‘I wanted to do something different, but my      dose of heavy-metal art, which is evidenced        changes an old one – usually for the better
dad saw my report card and said, “Maybe you           in his excellent executions of skulls, demons,     (see ‘old school’).
should be a tattoo artist. You like colours.”’        claws and other beautifully gruesome im-           • Black and grey Tattoos executed ex-
    Having been behind ink guns for 40 years,         ages. He’s also comfortable with portraiture       clusively with black ink applied in varying
Bahadur fittingly specialises in old-school            and tribal designs. His clientele trusts him       shades to often create a 3-D effect.
work. He left the Johnny Two Thumbs shop              inherently, often letting Siow freehand his        • Tribal/Celtic Geometric designs usually
– Singapore’s oldest tattoo parlour – earlier         work onto their skin without seeing a design       executed in black ink, and inspired by tradi-
this year to open Body Décor with two wom-            first. Fellow inker Deon can handle your new-       tional patterns of Nordic, Polynesian, Maori
en: Valerie Yang, a specialist in fantasy and         school needs, while Leslie specialises in Jap-     and other indigenous groups.
black-and-grey work, and Kim Chong, who’s             anese art, and MH, the apprentice, can give        Pricing note: The more complex the
adept at tribal designs.                              you a spot-on tribal design.                       tattoo, the more you can expect to pay. In
    Surprisingly, Bahadur remains tattoo-                                                                general, artists charge around $50 for a
free himself. ‘My father always told me that I        Elvin Young 37 Joo Chiat Terrace (9798             consultation and preliminary design work
couldn’t get a tattoo until I was ready,’ he says.    9140, Young is some-         (excluding Elvin Young, whose consulta-
‘I guess I’m still not ready.’                        thing of a tattoo counsellor, and waxes philo-     tions are free). In some cases, if the tattoo
                                                      sophical about his artform: ‘For some people,      is small, that will cover the application of
Scott de Silva, Shark Tattoo Studio Level             tattoos are like therapy. They want to feel that   the tattoo as well.                                                                                       September 2008 Time Out Singapore 21

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