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Friday, April 14, 2017

TATTOO #5: Ai-chan

Somewhere along my adventures on the internet, I found an series of horoscope illustrations, and after further research, found that they were illustrated by an artist called Amrit Brar, who aptly named the series "Shitty Horoscopes".


The series contains several books, and the one I related to the most is from Book VI: After the Fall. 
 
I had this saved in my PC and phone for a while, wanting it as a tattoo but not sure how to style it. I certainly did not want to rip off the design itself, and even sent an email to the illustrator herself (so far I don't have a response).

~

Recently, a fairly popular tattoo artist returned to the scene - Hishiko Woo. I had been following her for a while, but never really delved into her designs until recently, after she had returned from giving birth and caring for her son. What really drew her to me were her horoscope designs, and how she was fairly open minded to feminine-gore. Her style was different from other artists in the sense that her style was mostly illustrative clip-art or comic style.


I didn't really know what I wanted, but she pretty much understood the design concept. It was her who suggested that the focal point be on the hands covering the eyes, and the hand around the throat. We set the appointment date to be - ironically - my dad's birthday.


This entire exchange of information was during one of my earlier gym days, in between sets, on WeChat. It felt so impulsive, compared to my previous tattoo ventures where I actually sat down and spent some time composing what I was going to say.


And compared to the unique style of Yang Lee, whose traditional designs are remarkable, Hishiko has a completely different vibe of her own, and the way she got what I wanted even before I elaborated more just cemented her as the artist I needed to have this piece done.


~

I realized that the period pre-tattoo, I would always have bouts of severe melancholy/depression. There's no explanation for it, nothing in particular that really gets me down - PMS, my weight not going down, even old clothes started fitting again, so the only explanation I had was some kind of pre-tattoo anxiety or something. It kinda happened when before I got my hannya as well, but it didn't feel as severe.

UPDATE: the duration of the anxiety has significantly reduced, but I still get inexplainable melancholy for a couple of weeks before the actual day.

~

D-DAY

The studio (Haiyuan Tattoo) is a residential unit within Taragon Puteri Bintang (which makes this my first visit to a studio within a residence), on Changkat Thambi Dollah, right behind Berjaya Times Square, and shares a building with Furama Hotel.


Haiyuan, her husband and mentor, was conducting a class when I stepped into the very homey yet professional place. And believe me, she's as pretty in person as she is in her photos. AND HER SKIN IS PORELESS - PORELESS!!!


After taking my arm measurements, she took about an hour to sketch out the stencil from her original drawing, while my boyfriend and I (mostly just me, though) played with their cats and had an early lunch (thanks, YW!). I shall go all out crazy cat lady and say their cats are fucking adorable and so fluffy and so purry!!! One of them actually made the effort to follow my boyfriend around, even kneading on his pants with its paws~~~


We started around 1.30pm, after she prepped the stencil. Because of the immense detail on the design, the outlining took much longer than expected, and because there were so many lines on the design, she had to fill in the hair part so that it would be easier to continue the piece when I go back for the next session.


She asked if she could call me 小倩, after previously calling me 紫倩, from what I presumed was from my Facebook or WeChat. I happily obliged, and to distract myself, sang along with whichever song I knew from their compiled playlist (自誇說一下,人家也覺得我的歌聲好聽 呵呵呵~).


I can't really compare the pain to that of the hannya piece, because of the difference of atmosphere, and the presence of an actual person with me (during the hannya piece, I bombarded my boyfriend, who was then just my friend, with messages counting back in sevens from 1000, which he suggested in reference to Tokyo Ghoul when Kaneki was being tortured). But compared to the forearm tattoo I got, it was definitely much more painful in the sense that the pain never 'dulled'.




We took a short break in between the lining and the filling in of the hair of the girl. Can I just say I'm so happy to have another set of boobs on me now?


She wrapped my piece in saran wrap, another first as the artists for all my smaller pieces used a sterile bandage and taped it down with surgical tape (take it off after 2-4 hours, rinse, air dry, and apply A+D emollient), and Yang Lee only applied a layer of Tattoo Goo onto the finished piece. Instructions were to keep the saran wrap on for 5 hours, then immediately rinse and pat dry with paper towels. I was not to apply any lotion or ointment on it for the first 5 days, but I cheated and applied some After Inked lotion about twice a day (which was how often I washed it anyway).


2nd session is set in April, hopefully that doesn't coincide with the China trip~ Till then, this post will remain in my drafts~

~

2ND SESSION - SHADING & COLOR


IT DID NOT COINCIDE WITH THE CHINA TRIP! But it did coincide with King's Raid maintenance, much to the dismay of the SO.

A post shared by Kellie Low 紫倩 (@yukari_ivankov) on


We met her in the lift on the way up, and almost immediately got to work after she finished setting up.


The process was much less painful than the previous session, perhaps because it was less needle-to-skin contact duration - the little lines that she used for shading broke up the needle-to-skin contact duration so it was much more bearable, except for that little bit which was practically at the elbow which hurt the most out of the entire piece.


The first part was outline and general filling in of her hair, this part was the shading lines, slight touch up on the hair part, defining the parts of the flowers surrounding it, and color on the lips, severed parts of the hands, and a little color on the nails.




Toward the end of the session, she asked if I minded that she featured me as a 'guest' in her Facebook live session. A little background on Hishiko - she used to be a local host and artiste, and since she has retired from that industry to be a full-time mother and tattoo artist, she does little Facebook live sessions in talk show format to fulfill her urges to be a host. She actually held another live session the previous night, describing how she will start doing talk-show format live sessions to hopefully give insight about various topics to her audiences.


In this session, we discussed the meaning behind my piece, and how tattoo artists can try their best to illustrate their clients' ideas even if they do not have a specific style or image in mind. She also gives a little insight to the style she likes to go along - deformed, but still hauntingly beautiful.

~

AI-CHAN'S ELEMENTS

While I did not request the boobs (although I hoped she would include them), there are a few key elements of this piece that holds significant meaning, both toward the original illustration and caption, as well as some elements of being a Libra (which I find applies to me fairly well).




HANDS COVERING HER EYES AND CHOKING HER
Referring back to the original caption of the illustration, I take that the very hands covering her eyes are actually her own - her overthinking blinding her to the blatant reality before her, and blurring her vision of the path before her. The extra hand is the hand of society - choking her to stop her from being 'herself'.

FLOWERS - JASMINES
I owe my growth to one particular person, apart from family. That one friend in university who did not make me feel included just for the sake of being included - she went out of her way to include me in her life, and make me feel like a part that's significant enough that she wanted me around. I requested that Hishiko add jasmine flowers around Ai-chan, in homage to my fellow Libra.

NUDITY
Apart from just being more comfortable naked most of the time, the nudity indirectly represents feeling naked to the world, as if being an open book displayed in a public place to be judged, scrutinized, and being very vulnerable.

ROPES
In my mind, I desperately want to be tied up - to be tamed, to be given some sort of boundary so that I could at least see how far I can go without falling off the edge.

EXPOSED RIBCAGE
Starved of what she needs to live - emotional food, affection, attention, understanding from others, acceptance.


FEMALE AESTHETIC
Despite all that, she wants to be feminine, pretty, attractive - if not to others, at least to herself. She feels how broken she is, but can't see how pretty she is to everyone else.

~

In the end, I find myself gravitating more toward black and grey pieces, with minimal color. And I finally have another masterpiece on my skin to take to the grave with me - I never imagined to have a piece like this, nor could I imagine it on my skin, but now I can't wait to see it fully healed!

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