What better place than China to get a tattoo
Well, like most people here, I had been thinking of getting a tattoo for years before I got one. I'm normally in London and there's a hell of a lot of interesting tattoos about (on people, that is) as well as a hell of a lotta nice tattoo shops (Lal Hardy comes to mind as one of the best). I decided I wanted a tattoo as well but I had no idea what I wanted.
The main consideration for me was whether a tattoo should mean something or should just look pretty for its own sake. Moving on, 3 years later, I am working in China and still thinking of a tattoo to get. I've got a whole portfolio of probable stuff I want to get put on me, photos, quotes etc. I think the more i've collected the more difficult it is to decide what to get. In fact, at time, i feel like i've become more of a tattoo idea collector than a tattoo collector.
Having said that, it's something I actually enjoy doing, drawing out ideas and seeing what might look good. I've also used photoshop to attempt to draw tattoos on myself! All of this preparation was somewhat overlooked when I finally got my tattoo.
Since i'm working here, i'm learning mandarin as well, so I meet people occasionally to practice speaking. One time I met a girl with a dolphin tattoo (unusual in China, especially outside of Beijing and Shanghai), the next time, I met all her mates - all of whom had tattoos (dragons mainly). It was very strange sitting in China with a bunch of tattooed people, got a few more stares than normal, although no-one shouted out 'laowai' at me. (popular thing for the locals to shout at anyone who isn't chinese, it means foreigner).
They offered to tattoo me, and I thought why not, what better place to get a dragon tattoo than in China - there was a slight fear of hep A and the fact that wounds seem to take longer to heal in China, maybe because of the heat?
So I set off, with my new found buddies, to their place, which was, it turned out, their room! Looked nice and clean, with air conditioning and a nice shiny suitcase in which the tattooist, CunJian, kept his stuff. He showed me a small dragon, I figured it would look good on my arm. I sat down and he started to tattoo.
It actually felt alright, It didn't hurt, only took a couple of hours and looks pretty damn good. He drew out the outline of a dragon on my arm, freehand. Very nicely I have to say, he'd done it many times before obviously. Then he started to colour it in, mainly in red and blue. He told me as he was tattooing, that he was actually trained as an art teacher originally but he was tired of apathetic children. He was totally right, it would have been a waste of awesome skill.
He finished up, cleaned it up and he showed me some of his art work, some amazing pieces on large sheets of paper. I expressed an interest in one of them and he offered it to me...for a price! I paid, and left.
The healing wasn't a problem, he gave me some stuff to rub on it everyday which seemed to help.
Its now about 3 months later and its absolutely fine, still looks good, I might start looking at a bigger one, or extending this one out a little further.
I'm in China until next summer, so I guess i'll get one here or when i'm back in London. I think the tattoos here are as good as the ones i've seen in London, technically, however there is a lack of creativity. London tattoos have a distinctive look because they are very elaborate and mostly well thought out. All the tattoos i've seen in China are very good except they are very....literal.
I like my small dragon, it would be great to have a giant backpiece. I saw some tattooists in Japan, the best ones seem to have a waiting list of years! but their work is well worth it.
There is also a women in Shanghai (Shanghai Kate) who is relatively famous for tattooing in China. Her work looks really good, and even though its expensive (for China) it really looks worth it.
Bottom lime, I really liked my tattoo and am definitely gonna get another one, and another, and another! My only problem is extraordinary bodyhair. It can sometimes conflict with effect of the tattoo! I'm sure those of you with a lot of body hair can appreciate that! Thats one reason I can never have a portrait tattoo, except maybe a werewolf face!!
Thanks for reading
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Aug. 2008