Tattoos is still something that carry a lot of stigma in Hong Kong as it was related to the triads before, however the perception of tattoos is slowly changing in Hong Kong. Because of this there is emerging new innovative, passionate and talented tattoo artists in the city.
The history of tattooing in Hong Kong dates back to the 1940’s when the first official tattoo shop opened. The artist who opened this shop is the famous James Ho. Famous for his dragon tattoos, sailors, marine and soldiers would come to get a tattoo at James Ho’s shop. It is said that during the wars tattoos was a way of identifying the bodies, and the army would take pictures of the soldiers tattoos. However, after the wars including WW1, WW2, The Korean War and The Vietnam War, the soldiers, navy and sailors went away and tattoos become more normal with the triads in the city. This was also the time when the oriental design started to bloom. Designs like dragons, tigers, koi fishes, local culturally inspired design and the placement of the tattoos become important. At the start only the triad ‘’bosses’’ could afford a tattoo and they would get designs like dragons on arms or back, or designs on the chest. Truck drivers and construction workers would also get tattoos, however their design was more simple as they could afford less colourful and detailed design.
Today tattoos is becoming less of a taboo and more normal. It have started to shift from being a symbol of being part of the criminal community, to be a way of expressing who you are, what you stand for or just to decorate the body with unique art.
Here is some local artists and tattoo studios for you to check out!
Studio in TST
What do you think about tattoo’s? Do you have any? Let us know in the comments below!