Did you know?
As of 18th September 2020, Japan has ruled that tattoo artists no longer require a medical license, concluding that tattooing has "artistic features", rather than a "medical act".
Long gone the days when tattoos are associated with gangs, violence and drugs. History has become a culture, and the monochromatic inked identification has turned into a manifold of artistic appreciation and self-expression.
People covered with tattoos might still receive uncomfortable stares from others, or viewed with a negative first impression (cc: the older generations). Today, we see tattooists as ones who leave their creativity and imaginations imprinted on skins, people who help us express and speak to our inner self.
Assemble has partnered up with 3 amazing tattoo artists in Singapore, to promote their one-of-a-kind art through our Printed Inner Linings Volume IV: 印 (Inked).
Keith Yeo aka @AngMohKeith
Recently shifted to Iron Fist Tattoo, Keith is giving his 5 years of experience as a tattoo artist a fresh transition. Head over to his Instagram and you will see bold colours and strong lines. Specialising in American Traditional tattoo style, Keith added an element of Asian culture to the iconic roses, ladies’ faces and animals, to spice up his personal style.
My interest in tattooing started when I got tattooed by an artist called Jean Paul Tessensohn (who I would eventually work with and become good friends with in the future). The experience with JP really inspired me and a few years later in 2015 I started getting tattooed by mentor Feroze McLeod. I asked if it he would teach me tattooing and he was kind enough take me in as his apprentice!"
While we were over at Keith's station, it was neatly decorated with some classic American tattoo flashes and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. It was later when we found out that Keith took inspirations largely from them, not forgetting Naruto Shippuden!
With the aim to have his works to be held up to the same standard as his peers and role models, Keith is constantly improving himself. Despite the inability to do tattoos during the Circuit Breaker, Keith did his best to focus on his physical and mental health, other than working on paintings, commissions and flash sheets.
Iron Fist Tattoo
21B Mosque St, #03-01, Singapore 059501
1 - 8pm daily // Enquire @AngMohKeith
Gillian Toh aka @Gildebeest
One word to describe Gillian's art works would be surrealism. Best known for her Split Head designs, Gillian is currently a resident tattoo artist at Tooth & Nail Tattoo.
With her field of studies focused on graphic designing in university, Gillian had no passion for commercial design and hence did not pursue a future in the industry. After having a couple of small tattoo scripts in discreet places on her body, a good friend of Gillian suggested her to becoming a tattoo artist. Initially thinking "no way, that's crazy", Gillian decided that what's so impossible about it!
I wanted to get into tattooing because it seemed like a way to reclaim the body - to manifest or effect my own agency. You don't get to choose what kind of body you're born with or how that makes you perceived, but you can cover it with art or carve out what had always been underneath and make your body your own. Being a part of that process, learning the craft and becoming more tattooed myself seemed like a meaningful thing to do."
When asked about the challenges she faced during her times in the industry, Gillian pointed out client education and setting her own ethical boundaries as an artist. Every tattoo is supposed to be unique — a one off occurrence that is designed for an individual's body as close to permanently as they can get. However with the ease of accessing Pinterest or Instagram, many are taking references and requiring artists to replicate the original tattooers' works. To add on, sometimes certain designs which look great fresh in photos might not make good tattoos as they do not age well.
Therefore Gillian's piece of advice for you, if you are looking to get inked (a real good ink), is to do sufficient research! Find an artist whose portfolio you trust, be clear/specific about what you want, then give them the creative freedom to design some dope shit. And also remember that tattoos are organic things that will age with you! Ask your artist if something is a good idea or not, and be open to their advice. If you like their body of work, they're capable of making something that will please you.
Tooth & Nail Tattoo
30A Kandahar St, Singapore 198890
Monday to Saturday 2 - 9pm // Enquire @Gildebeest
Julian Chia as @TheBoldFox
Started his journey with needles and inks since 2009, Julian is now the owner of Wild Paw Tattoo Co., and despite his extensive experience, Julian remains humble and stays true to maintain quality and services provided to his clients.
With no real formal art background, Julian's strong interest in punk rock and skateboarding got him exposed to tattoos. Many musicians he liked had tattoos and the love for tattoos grew from there. He got his hands on second hand machines from a local artist and he just went to town on friends, initially just for fun. Eventually Julian decided that this was something he really wanted to do, got an apprenticeship and worked his way up.
I do a lot of things inspired by nature and animals, and lots of local flavoured drawings, like in the stuff I made with Assemble. I think a lot of times joy/happiness seem like far off things, but I’ve realised there is more than enough beauty in the things just around us to last a life time. Hence the local and nature themes."
Julian's artworks come in forms of Traditional and Neo-traditional tattoos. Neo-traditional tattoos are an evolution of Traditional tattoos, with both of the same techniques, but characterised with richer colours and more decorative intricate details. Animals and nature are elements which are commonly found in Neo-traditional tattoos, which Julian is largely known for. Catch his quirk through his works, you'll find some boys and girls riding things that you would not even imagine!
Wild Paw Tattoo Co.
30A Bali Ln, Singapore 189866
Monday to Saturday (by appointment only) // Enquire @TheBoldFox
Check out the complete collection here: Printed Inner Linings Volume IV: 印 (Inked), where all 9 designs showcase the individuality of each tattoo artists. A special shoutout to Brandon (@LensofMira) for capturing the tattoo artists in the zone too!
If you have any other questions, feel free to hit us up at +65 8742 6863 and we would be happy to assist you. You can also book an appointment by clicking here. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at @assemblesg and like us on Facebook!