Coinciding with recent Art Basel festivities in Hong Kong, Edison Chen presented a new project dubbed 3125C. Taking form as a pop-up gallery on the 13th floor of a commercial building in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district, “Unlucky 13″ featured an array of contemporary art pieces and memorabilia belonging to Chen.
Trying his hand at curating, the actor-musician presented artworks from the likes of Misha Hollenbach of P.A.M., Devin Troy, KAWS and Tomoo Gokita. A slew of apparel from Chevingon, VANQUISH, TheFourness, CLOT and Emotionally Unavailable line was also available along with a special T-shirt collection by artist Cali Thornhill Dewitt. Attendees were treated to an array of delectable snacks, music selection from DJ Prepare, and tattoo service courtesy of Shamrock Social Club’s own Dr. Woo.
Check out the recap images for a glimpse of ”Unlucky 13.” For all of items from 3125C “Unlucky 13″ Pop-Up Galleria are available for mail orders, you can purchase them throug firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Woo of Shamrock Social Club is one of the most coveted tattooists on the West Coast. With over 300,000 followers on Instagram, a long list of celebrity clientele and a wait-list that stretches well beyond summer, shines a spotlight on the artist’s core beliefs and values by spending a Saturday with him and his family.
In a previous video, he notes how the arrival of his children changed his career trajectory and now the video above acts as a narrative on what truly makes him tick. It’s easy to draw parallels between his body of work and his unique perspective on life.
World renowned tattoo artist Jun Cha has unveiled a video to accompany the launch of his MONARC Studios, located in Downtown Los Angeles. The private studio will serve as a congregation space for tattoo, fine art, and design creatives — allowing these artists to collaborate on projects. Jun Cha started tattooing at the age of 16 and has delved fully into the art ever since. Drawing inspiration from Renaissance and Baroque classical periods to post-war era paintings, his work often features religious imagery, with Venus de Milo and the Goddess of Nike making appearances in this video.
Check out the Social Trust-directed video above, and head over to the MONARC Studios website for more information.
Tattoo artist Jang Jun-hyuk works on customer Suh Hyun-woong at his parlor in Seoul.
When Suh Hyun-woong showed his mother his first tattoo, she burst into tears.
“She couldn’t understand why I would want to do that to myself,” Suh laughed. “But now she’s pretty much accepted it.”
Which is probably just as well given that the 19-year-old student’s body is a growing, monochrome canvas of fantasy designs.
Once associated almost exclusively with organized crime members, tattoos are going mainstream in South Korea, championed by sporting heroes, K-pop stars and other celebrities with passionate fan bases.
But the law has failed to keep pace, leaving the growing number of Korean tattoo artists vulnerable to prosecution on the whim of local authorities.
Tattooing itself is not illegal in South Korea, but the law states that it can only be carried out by a licensed medical doctor.
“So if you want to get a tattoo, you’re supposed to go to a hospital? It’s just absurd,” said Jang Jun-hyuk, the owner of Tattooism, a tattoo parlor in central Seoul.
Officials say the law as it stands is justified by health considerations, including the risk of hepatitis or HIV infection from improperly sterilized needles.
“It’s invasive. The skin is punctured and it bleeds. That’s why we look at it as a medical procedure,” said Korea Medical Association spokeswoman Ahn So-young.
Nevertheless, the government does appear to be considering change and commissioned a study in October on the possibility of permitting legal tattoo parlors.
In the meantime, tattoo artists continue to inhabit a professional world not dissimilar to sex workers; technically illegal but largely ignored by the authorities as long as they stay under the radar.
Most Korean parlors, like Jang’s Tattooism, are literally “underground” — basement studios with unmarked doors whose locations are spread by word-of-mouth.
Jang, 42, was a 20-year-old student at a fashion college in Seoul when he saw his first tattoo sported by a friend and decided then and there where his future lay.
The friend had got his tattoo in Mexico and, given the lack of options at home, that’s where Jang went to train.
“In Korea at that time, nobody was using a tattoo machine. It was really just criminals using needles on themselves, and the results were pretty ugly,” he said.
The organized crime stigma was so great that, until recently, having a large tattoo would result in a rare exemption from South Korea’s mandatory military service.
After several years in Mexico, Jang returned and set up his first illicit tattoo studio in a nondescript office building in Seoul.
There was no sign, and with advertising not an option, he tried to drum up customers by posting pictures of his work on the Internet, along with a mobile phone number.
“In the first three months, I probably got about 10 customers,” he recalled.
“But it was a good time. There were only about 10 parlors in Seoul, and we all knew each other and encouraged each other,” he said. “It’s all a bit competitive now.”
There’s no real consensus on when attitudes began to change, but a pivotal moment in 2003 involved soccer player Ahn Jung-hwan, a national hero following the South Korean team’s heroics at the World Cup a year before.
After scoring in a match against Japan, Ahn peeled off his shirt to reveal a shoulder tattoo declaring his love for his wife.
“He was a big name and that started things off,” Jung said. “Suddenly there were all these other sportsmen, as well as movie stars and K-pop singers getting tattoos as well.”
Business picked up, and the number of tattoo parlors mushroomed, but the legal issue remained.
Five years ago, Jung’s parlor was targeted in a random raid and he ended up in court, where he was fined $3,000 and given a one-year suspended sentence for violating public health codes.
Despite sporadic crackdowns, the number of studios has continued to grow and some, like Maverick in the expat-friendly district of Itaewon, have grown bold enough to put up neon signs.
“It’s a form of passive resistance,” said Maverick owner Lee Sung-je. “It’s my way of saying ‘I’m here, doing my work.’ “
Lee claims customers across the social spectrum, including a smattering of civil servants, and executives working at straight-laced conglomerates like Samsung.
“Though they do tend to go for tattoos that can be covered up easily,” he said.
Francis Kim, a 31-year-old chef, said his tattoos still draw a mixed response.
“I get a lot of compliments from younger people, but the older crowd tend to look at me as if I must be a gangster, or just a loser who doesn’t fit in,” Kim said.
Suh Hyun-woong, meanwhile, appears intent on pushing his mother’s tolerance to its limits, with an eclectic choice of tattoos that includes the baffling acronym WGUMCD emblazoned in large gothic script on his stomach.
“What Goes Up Must Come Down,” he explained. “It’s my life motto.”
Hailed by The New York Times as one of the most in-demand tattooist in the world, Dr. Woo gives us a rare look at a day in his life. Although he has catapulted into the forefront of popular culture with the help of over 300,000 followers on Instagram, along with a loyal clientele that waits months on end to get an appointment, Dr. Woo remains extremely humble.
We’ve taken a look at Dr. Woo’s essentials in a previous video. Now, the intricately detailed tattooist discusses how the birth of his son, Lyon, changed his priorities – shifting his career onto a planned trajectory – and pays homage to his mentor Mark Mahoney for teaching him the quintessential values to uphold as an artist and a father. Dr. Woo continues to master his fine handiwork at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood, California. Watch the video above to learn about his familial ties and get inspired by his unique outlook in an extremely competitive industry.
The last stop of the House of Vans Asia tour concluded in the city of Guangzhou, providing a three-day program of diverse cultural offerings to the local community, as well as tourists alike. Although Guangzhou may not be the first place to spring to mind when one thinks of creative locales in China, the illustrious city has long been leading the line in economic and cultural developments, yearning only for a platform to showcase the creativity it has to offer. House of Vans provided this platform, where multiple workshops grounded in art and expression brought together the like-minded community and even mothers who took their infants to experience the occasion.
Kicking off the first day were renowned photographers Tobin Yelland and Lele Saveri, teaching students the art of self-publishing through DIY zine classes. Shanghai art duo Idle Beats carried on the momentum by educating design and illustration students on the entire process of making a screen print, from design to creation, and finally printing a custom tote bag. Taking a different approach than to the previous House of Vans events to represent the more edgy side of expression, tattoo artists from Sunrat Tattoo in Korea and famed Chengdu-based artist Keke offered up free tattoos of which were well-received, causing local kids to line up in front of the venue from the early morning hours in a bid for some free ink.
A House of Vans event would not be complete without a slew of talented local and international music acts. Thus, the evening portion of the festivities saw Hong Kong-based punk rock drummer Kevin Boy open the stage to pave the way for Beijing indie/synth band The Big Wave. The first night was then capped off with Montreal indie dance band We Are Wolves, which ended everything off in climactic fashion and made sure the crowd stayed dancing into the early hours of the morning. Saturday night showcased a more hip-hop-laden roster as local crew Chee Productions successfully whipped the packed house into a frenzy by bringing out a surprise performance by Beijing’s MC J Fever. However, the next act that followed was arguably the highlight of the evening, where special guest Pusha T performed a full set of his most popular songs and verses, from the likes of ‘Grindin” to G.O.O.D Music tune ‘Mercy.’ The musical performances did not stop there though and DJ duo Two Fresh brought things to a close with an explosive performance. Sunday night also saw a rap-infused event and an MC battle by the Iron Mic brought together a plethora of young aspiring artists to battle it out in front of friends and family.
Notwithstanding what Vans is predominantly known for, the three-day event also provided a program of skateboarding activities open to all. Independent skate/surf photographer Leong Zhang took out a crew of young photographers to give them insights into the intricacies required for shooting skating activities. Using the Vans China/Hong Kong skate team as the subjects for the class, the participants took note of the details and angles that transform a great photo into a legendary photo. Two days of skate contests for amateurs and pros were also offered as Chongqing artist Panda and local graffiti crew Dickid created a monster 6-meter tall, Sk8-Hi-inspired set filled with a mammoth quarter-pipe as well as street obstacles painted by American artist Rich Jacobs. The much-anticipated jam-format contests brought out the pro’s representing five local skate brands: Vagabond, 8FIVE2, HKit, Symbolic and Hero, who all battled it out to take home the winnings. After impressive displays of tricks and creativity from all those involved, it was the 8FIVE2 team from Hong Kong that took the title for best street run and Shenzhen-based team Vagabond winning the best quarter-pipe jam.