Chengdu Fashion #3
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a lady called “27” which was cool. I’m a sucker for numbers, pretty pictures and stories and she had all three. I got myself invited to visit her studio, penned down some notes, and stole some of her images. Find more of her on Instagram.
MR3: Let’s get the basic information out of the way. Who are you, what do you do, and what other information do people need to know?
27: My name is 27, I am a tattoo artist, a singer in a punk band and run my own studio at Wildfire Studios.
MR3: Is that your tattooer nickname and how did you get it?
27: Yes! I was the 27th student of my guitar teacher which got me this name. Later I found out about the club of 27 which turned into the name of my tattoo studio.
MR3: What are the big trends in Chengdu, what tattoos did you see and tattoo most of?
27: In Chengdu there’s a lot of old-school tattooing, as well as the Japanese style, and the not so occasional ugly pictures haha.. Let’s say they all take up one third of the pie here. Chengdu typically has a lot of old school artists so this style recently became bigger here than in other Chinese cities.
MR3: Do you see any big cultural differences between the Tattoo scene in Chengdu and other cities or countries?
27: Not really. As a craft it’s the same. I guess people outside China expect Asian styles but it’s pretty divers here and the trends tend to be the same. Within China I think the whole tattoo culture in Chengdu is a bit more laid-back. Costs are lower so there is less financial pressure. We can take it easy which also gives us a bit more freedom on what to tattoo, and when.
MR3: What do you want to tattoo more of?
27: I want to specialize more towards popart, old school, and in general focus on the American styles. This means staying away from my lesser styles like typo work and guess what - the typical Asian style. My goal is to go to the States and learn from tattoo artists there.
MR3: How big are coverups in Chengdu?
27: Very big. I get a lot of requests and sometimes say no. It really depends on the case, and how the old tattoo looks. It’s definitely not always the work you’re most proud of but I guess patching up something horrible can be a reward on its own.
I once had a foreigner named Andrew who had his name tattoo-ed on his lower leg. The name was in Chinese which basically translated to the equivalent of Android, the phone. Poor guy.
MR3: what is the strangest tattoo you ever did? What was the story behind it?
27: I did a tattoo on a high-ranked government official. The man was 40 years old, and wanted the name of his girlfriend on his body. In China this is strange in all ways thinkable. Government officials get fired for having a tattoo and well, the man was not married to the girl. In the end I think it’s a pretty romantic gesture haha.
MR3: Outside of tattooing, how do you spend your time?
27: Singing with my band. It does not always work well with the tattoo-ing as the energy from being on stage collides with the “quiet drawing”. I’m looking to take it easier so I can get more focus on my tattoos. At the same time, performing is good publicity for my studio.
MR3: How does your family look at your job?
27: My mother was really cool with it. It’s kinda weird as I’m also being a punk singer and protesting against the government. She pretty much encouraged everything I’m doing.
MR3: Any last words?
27: Tribals are the windows 2000 of tattooing, I got one when I was 15 and am not proud if it haha. Check out my Instagram!