Below is his story in his own words translated for your reading pleasure:
"If life's journey is a drama, then a man with tattoos is the leading man of this drama!"
This sailing boat isn't my first tattoo, yet it's the most meaningful one yet. I've known Apple Qu for many years. Even though she was in Singapore and I'm in China, our distance did not prevented me from admiring her artistic skills and commendable passion for tattooing. In my heart, I've long determined that she's the one to inking this sailing boat on me.
In the Summer of 2014, fate has destined that our path should finally cross. Apple arrived in my city (Xi'an), and we finally met for the first time. After a brief discussion of my tattoo, she completely understood my vision and motivation for this tattoo. Thanks to her, I've also gained a fuller understanding of the fine art of tattooing,
Perhaps it is because of the literal meaning of my Chinese name - Bai Fan meaning White Sail or ship, I've always been fascinated by the idea of having a sailing boat as a tattoo. While surfing the web one day, I stumbled upon the design for this tattoo. You could call it love at first sight. After setting eyes on this particular design, I have never looked elsewhere ever again!
In life you will have to face many ups and downs, but how many of us have the determination and perseverance to brave the stormy seas? Only with strong faith, will one be able to persevere this stormy voyage. The sailing boat symbolizes my level of perseverance and commitment to succeed in and navigate through life's stormy seas. And thanks to this determination, my life journey has begun!
In life's journey, regardless of whether you're a good or bad guy, your love towards your children will always be the most beautiful thing there is. Children is God's most precious gift to us, one that requires our utmost care and love. That's why I've added the imprints of my little darling to my left calve!
Here are some common reasons people give to getting tattooed. Whether its legitimate or not, well, just use it to get a laugh or two, eh?
For certain people who feels insecure about themselves, tattoos help them to feel confident/beautiful.
Tattoo as a remembrance of a person, place or event.
Tattooing for the sake of looking cool or different from the pack.
When the body hurts, the soul stops hurting. A reason to make a memorable and beautiful reminder to oneself.
Because of love...
Just to know how much it really hurts.
A friend for life. A tattoo will never leave or forsake you. You can cry your heart out and it will always be there to silently comfort and stay by your side.
No one will be with me for life. Only can a tattoo till death shall we part.
Because of my child. After my children grows up and moves away, my tattoo will remind me of the bygone memories.
Because of religion or beliefs.
Mother of all reasons:
To cover up scars, or stretch marks from a pregnancy. A tattoo can beautify the body's appearance.
A walk down memory lane:
To mark the march into adulthood.
Most astonishing reason:
Tattooing is highly addictive. The kind of pain and adrenaline rush makes for the most delightful indulgence.
With tattoos, I look tougher. Which means lesser chance of getting bullied.
In a more pragmatic sense, "how much is a tattoo worth?"
After arriving in Singapore for a few years, I have been fortunate enough to have encountered folks of every race and culture during the course of my work here. I've met Caucasians, Indians, Malays, Chinese, etc. They've taught me the methods and ways in which the everyday Joe uses to measure the value of a tattoo.
This is just my interpretation of my findings. Please forgive me if there are any errors or omissions.
Let us first discuss the process of selecting a design. A lot of folks tend to lay eyes on a design that they saw on an artist or celebrity. Then there are those who had just lost a relationship and needed a "diversion" which incidentally ended up on the pain (and exhilaration) of having a permanent tattoo. However, the bulk of folks we entertain are those younger individuals who simply want a tattoo to "show" off - as a fashion statement. These are the same group of people who would be and get their body pierced for the sake of it.
Then we have those who get a tattoo to commemorate or remember a beloved or pet. For these group of individuals, they are not tattooing for the love of tattoos, but simply because they have a very good reason to have to. These are the people who would only get one tattoo and that is it.
These are essentially the main group of tattoo customers with no exception. While watching those American reality television with clients telling long stories about the rationale behind their tattoos, one might think that all tattoos have a meaningful story behind them!
Frankly, I think it's all a bunch of hogwash. Where on earth do all these people get such stories from? But then again, they were doing it for the viewership. So it's all a commercial ploy.
In the real world of tattooing, stories or no stories make up half of the tattooed population. Take me for example; I can never associate any of my numerous tattoos to any peculiar story. Except for the bitter sweet moment while getting tattooed: the pain, the adrenaline rush and the excitement. My rationales for my tattoos are simple enough. The designs are etched on my skin for life. I treat them as my best friend forever. When I'm happy, it's there. When I'm sad, it's there. While everyone leaves me, my tattoos will be beside me my whole life. Until death, I will never be lonely again.
Throughout my years spent in the tattoo studio, I have met people of all shape and sizes. For such a small little country, I've met folks from all over the world and have heard countless stories from these emotional tattoo clients. All I can say is I've learnt much from these encounters.
I remember a particular encounter I had with an Australian Vietnamese. He told us a very touching story. But this is an exception and not the norm. For these groups of people, they would not attach a monetary value to a tattoo. Because to them, a tattoo is a lifelong remembrance that will never be lost through the passage of time. While for those who wants a tattoo just for showing off, then they would never know the real value of a tattoo, and would simply choose their artist based on the price.
For them, it will be very difficult to tell the difference between a good and poorly executed tattoo. They may say its art. But they will never know the real significance of a good tattoo. And because of this, they would tend to have at least one badly done tattoo on their body. When they are matured enough, they would then regret it, and spend a fortune either to have it covered up or removed. Those in the know will tell you that getting a tattoo removal is expensive, and it will either not remove it completely or leave a scar in its place. This all depends solely on your luck (and skin).
In truth, most people falls under one of these two categories. I often ask my Chinese clients here, why they want to do a particular design. More than half would give the same answer. I'll leave the answer out here. At least I've only met a handful of Chinese folks with a meaningful or touching story behind their tattoos. Of course, for tattoos, there are both good and bad rationales behind them. It really depends on your capacity for understanding all the varying factors.
For those of us born in the 80s, we think that we can always catch up with the latest fads and trends. But we're wrong. As we mature and age, tradition and old cultures will slowly creep back into our lives. The bashfulness of those born in the 90s is our past.
A close friend from my hometown in China once told me that when her girlfriend saw his tattoos, she told him in the face that those with tattoos always have a shadowy past. With that they ended their relationship.
When I learnt about it, I was intrigued. Either this girl has been living in a cave all these years, or she comes from a very strict family background. Either she can't accept new things in her life or she is just too dogged with things that change her perception of the diversity of society. Just like that, a possibly beautiful relationship had to end abruptly. Just because of a tattoo!
I felt like shouting at the top of my lungs, "Do not judge those with tattoos. Just because you have none, doesn't mean that those who do are all bad people!"
This is just one of the long list of stories I've heard about tattoos. I'll stop at one. To judge the heart of a person, guy or girl, you can never judge them simply by their tattoos. How to judge a person then? I'll leave it up to you!
For those true tattoo lovers, please do not use money to measure the value of a tattoo. Remember the adage, "art is invaluable." I'll not discuss further about "art" here. Because I did it once over coffee with a Singaporean friend at a cafe and we got into an argument because of it!
A lot of things are best left unsaid. I just hope that people do not choose a design blindly. Even if you found a meaningless tattoo, be very sure that you will never regret getting it. If you really can't find one design that you will never regret, then it's best to shelf the desire to get a tattoo for the time being. We only have so much skin. Treasure it!
Through the years, I've seen countless cases of tattoo regret seeking a cover up. The most challenging tattoo cover ups are of tribal tattoos. Tribal are the buck of all tattoo regrets. Why? Is it because some pop star or celebrity got it? Do you know how many of these celebrities have regretted their tattoo choices and are in the midst of having it removed?
Those awful black blobs for designs! Then there are those who are in favour of Maori tattoos. Please go and google the meaning and significance of a Maori design before getting it inked. Thank you very much!
I can’t emphasis this enough: if you don't have the funds, please don't rush into getting a tattoo. Go online and research some materials, look at an artist's portfolio, compare the good and the bad, before deciding on anything. The pricing difference between a tattoo artist and someone who simply does tattoos can be 10:100. That is why for those who are financially lacking but still wants to get a tattoo, all I can say is, wait - wait until you've matured in your thinking before making a decision you may regret later.
But even if you are financially able, you should still not rush into getting a tattoo immediately. Do due diligence as above before deciding on anything. Remember the 10:100 ratio. Why the staggering difference? Because a guy who tattoos, is simply doing it for the money. He may have the best location in town, but he's all about the money. Out go ethics and other professional measures of a true tattoo artist. You want a tattoo? Sure! He won't care anything about design, placement, etc.
Then, we have the true tattoo artists. They are not high up on a pedestal. They have elevated tattooing into an art form. Of course, for these groups of selected few, the pricing will be based on affinity and communications. They may give you a tattoo at a discount, for half the price or even charge you the full price. But no matter the costs, it's worth it!
I've always been perplexed with people having difficulty differentiating between good and bad tattoos. Is it really that difficult, or is it because I've been in this industry for too long (my fine arts background plays a part as well). It's just like a 9-5 worker who does not have high aspirations in life; he may never know the true value of a good tattoo.
If a fine arts trained artist desires to get a tattoo, it will be extremely hard for him to get a tattoo that he will be truly satisfied with. This may be because as a fellow artist, he knows that in art nothing is perfect. At the very least, I won't be able to do it. Because I'm no perfectionist, I only strive for second best.
Then there is another group of people with the perfect lifestyle. They have everything they want and lead a beautiful lifestyle. But they will not be able to tell the difference between a good and a bad tattoo as well. All they have to show is a tiny little tattoo - the result of a moment of bashfulness. The simple solution is to do some homework and research online, and you'll be fine.
If you ask me how much is a tattoo worth. Frankly, I can't answer that question. Because art is priceless. Of course this is true only if the tattoo is expertly crafted. All I'll say is to treasure every inch of your limited canvas.
Why does a similar tattoo with the same size and component costs $50 here and $500 there or even much higher someplace else? Well, it's your call. Consider what your tattoo is worth to you, and then decide on its true value...
A lot of people do not appreciate the significance of Traditional American design. Many individuals, who are not familiar with this genre, tend to picture this style as cartoonish or even childish. Far from it, traditional designs are one of the most popular genres available. This article will help you overcome this stereotype, and introduce you to its rich history to become better well informed about the rich colorful heritage that this genre offers.
The pioneer of this genre was the legendary Sailor Jerry. Born in America, Jerry got exposure to tattoos at the age of 13. When he was 18, he got conscripted into the navy as a sailor during the Second World War. After he was discharged after the war, he started up shop in Hawaii's Chinatown. He passed away somewhere in the 1970s.
During his active years, tattoos were not yet grouped into genres like what you have today. The only two groups of the period were Western and Eastern styles. Hence, Sailor Jerry pioneered the Traditional American style. His trademark style revolved around themes of the navy and seafaring - a nod to his sailing days.
American Traditional is easily recognized by its bold outlines and use of bold and bright colors - mainly with red, blue, green, yellow and black. Even today, Sailor Jerry's designs are still a popular choice of tattoo fans over the world.
As Sailor Jerry was involved with fighting the Japanese Imperial Army during the war, he was particularly adverse to Japanese culture and even tattoos. Interestingly, he travelled all the way to Japan, in order to learn the skills and styles of Japanese tattoos, in order to improve on them to create greater and better tattoos that even the Japanese would envy and shake their heads in disbelief. When he eventually returned to the US, he improvised a lot of what he saw, thus creating a new style of Japanese tattoo that became extremely popular both in the US and abroad. As a result, Sailor Jerry's Japanese style tattoos became extremely popular and were regarded as even better than authentic Japanese tattoos in the 1950s to 1970s.
Sailor Jerry was not a diarist and never liked to be photographed. Therefore, what is left of his legacy today is only of a few pictures left of him with his friends.
During his lifetime, Sailor Jerry used only seven tattoo machines throughout his life, though no one knows where it went. It was said that museums had been trying in vain to purchase these dry tattoo machines for millions, however, none was ever found. In 2010, at an auction, "transfer papers" used by Sailor Jerry for transferring stencils onto customer's skins were auctioned off with a start bid of USD$500 per piece.
Sailor Jerry dedicated his whole life to his only love, tattooing. He never married nor had any children. After he passed away, it was only known that he left his collection of drawings to his only relative, his nephew.
During the 90s, an investor bought over all the remaining Sailor Jerry's sketches and its intellectual rights from his nephew. The investor formed the Sailor Jerry brand name and established an empire selling merchandises from high-street fashion to jewellery and even alcoholic beverages. The brand is now worth millions of dollars with boutiques all over America and the UK. Unbeknownst to his nephew, the entire estate was worth more than the few thousand he sold his uncle's estate for. Perhaps he never had any interests in the tattoo culture and the significance of the Sailor Jerry name in the industry.
For more information about the legendary Sailor Jerry, visit his website at: http://www.sailorjerry.com/
With over 400 years in its development, the “good luck cat” or “Maneki-neko” in Japanese has evolved into an almost omnipotent being with a wide variety of look, expression, colours, and even sizes! Today, some of the more popular variety includes: festive-neko, four-seasons-neko, eclipse-neko, lucky-neko, hardworking-neko, etc.
Traditional Japanese Maneki-neko comes in both the male and female variety. The male-neko with its right paw raised signifies good luck and fortune (commonly used for good fortune and in houses). The female-neko with its left-paw raised signifies the attraction of crowds/clients (commonly found in business establishments and restaurants). It is generally believed that crowd brings money for the business. This is why when people say Maneki-neko; they usually are referring to the female variety.
Moreover, the different paw positions also carries many different meanings as well. For example, with its paw lower nearer to the face, it represents the attraction of happiness from nearby, whilst when the paws are high above the head, it signifies the attraction of happiness from far away.
Even the colours of Maneki-neko carry different attributes:
Some believed that a Maneki-neko has a lifespan of 2 years. However, the general consensus is that this is just another business tactic, to sell more neko-themed merchandise! No wonder the Maneki-neko by itself has become a goldmine for businessmen all over the world!
Read enough? Go and look for your unique Neko design now!
A tattoo is a minor surgical procedure. Any good tattoo is the result of an artist's and your aftercare regime.
Therefore, what makes a good tattoo is dependent on how well you care for it; especially during the initial healing phase.Having said that, not many are following a proper aftercare regime, resulting in the formation of thick scabs, fading, or even worst -- an infection.
After sucking up the guts and making an appointment with the artist, you should print out bring whatever design elements, styles or pictures with you, to discuss with the artist and make him/her familiar with your likes and wants, in order to create something memorable and unique.
Reminder: Do not consume alcohol one day before your tattoo appointment, have a restful sleep, and eat a proper meal before your appointment. Having food in your body helps to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent fatigue, dizziness and increase your pain threshold.
Upon completion of your tattoo, the artist or manager will explain the aftercare in detail to you. For example, what type of food to avoid, no sun exposure or swimming, and not applying certain lotions to the fresh tattoos, etc.
1: After the tattoo, the artist will clean and disinfect the area before applying a layer or Vaseline (prevents infection), followed by wrapping it up in cling wrap. Do not remove the wrapping as it's there to protect the tattoo from external contamination.
2: Generally, 3~6 hours is the typical time-frame before you are allowed to remove the wrapping to clean the tattoo. This is the general rule for Singapore's weather condition; it may differ based on your location. When removing the wrapping, it is advisable to do so under running water, in order to prevent the adhesive tape from damaging your skin during removal.
3: After removing the cling wrap, use clean hands to gently rub away the remaining layer of Vaseline and dried blood/secretion on your tattoo with either a non-alcohol based beauty or wet towel (alcohol will irritate and sting the tattoo). Let it dry naturally afterwards. Removing dried blood and secretion is a critical step in preventing excessive scabbing and fading requiring touch ups later.
4: After drying the tattoo, pure aloe gel should be applied 2~3 times daily for 3~5 days following the tattoo. This is to help speed up the healing and prevent infections. Enlist the help of loved ones or family members if the tattooed area is too large or hard to reach. Always use a glove or clean hands while handling the fresh tattoo. Some individuals may use antiseptic ointments (Erythromycin, Vaseline, etc.) on the tattoo. However this is not recommended, as they tend to be very thick emulsions and may clog the pores. For more serious infections, Bactroban Ointment is recommended as it will not cause fading.
5: One important note is to allow the aloe gel to fully dry before sleeping or going out. Do not wear tight clothing. When sleeping, do not allow the fresh tattoo to come into direct contact with the bed-sheet or blanket. Use a small pillow or bolster if needed. Not doing so will cause the fresh tattoo to "stick" to the bed sheets, as it will leak body secretions from time to time.
6: During the healing period, do not soak the area in water, go swimming, or exercise. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of getting an infection. You can resume normal activities after a month.
7: During the healing period, particularly for colored tattoos, exposure to direct sunlight may cause unnecessary fading. Those with sensitive skin in particular, should take note.
8: In 3~8 weeks, your tattoo will enter a healing phase. During this period, your tattoo will grow thin layers of scabs and may itch. This is a normal part of healing. Do not scratch or pick at the scabs. Let it fall off naturally.
NOTE: Thick Scabs vs Thin Scabs: thick scabs with hard skin, swelling and redness is the result of improper aftercare following a tattoo (#4) or the artist might have been a little heavy handed during the tattooing. However, a healthy thin scab is part of the natural healing process and there's nothing to worry about. A healthy scab resemble little pieces of skin like dandruff does.
9: Exercising / Sports or extreme physical activities should be refrained from until the tattoo has shed its scab, as excessive sweat will encourage bacterial growth and chances of infection, while constant physical impact will cause further damage to the underlying tissues and impede healing or alter its appearance.
10: For most individuals, the tattoo itself may be healing fine, but the area surrounding the tattoo may appear red and swollen. This is because blood circulation to the extremities is not always optimal and accumulation of fluids in those areas may cause swelling. To prevent this, if the tattoo is on the leg, refrain from standing for prolonged periods at once. If the tattoo is on the arm, try to elevate it as much as possible. If swelling occurs, you can apply ice packs on the area to help it subside.
Tattoo Tip: During the healing period when it starts to form thin scabs and starts o itch, you can apply a thin layer of baby oil (Johnson & Johnson's) to help with the itch and help the color to stay vibrant. Do not apply it on a daily basis as too much mineral oil might clog the pores as well. This is one of the cheapest way to keep a tattoo fresh and vibrant for a long time.
If you want to get a uniquely beautiful one-of-a-kind tattoo, it is important to find an accomplished artist with the right technical skills and ethics to do the job right.
An appointment is not just so we could do your tattoo. But most importantly, so that we could communicate and discuss in details about your needs and wants. This is responsible tattooing.
These are Apple's tattoo aftercare tips for all tattoo aficionado out there.Please take good care of your new tattoo!
Memory Lane Tattoo Studio is family owned and operated, offering a cozy and relaxing environment to get a tattoo. Our goal is to depart from the stereotypical harsh image of tattoos and tattoo studios, change the style and image long associated with the industry. Hope you enjoy your tattooing journey with us!