Visual Arts

March 15, 2013

HK Ink: Graeme & Eli

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Written by: Alba Ma
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What motivated you to get the first tattoo?
Graeme: I got my first tattoo when I lived in North Carolina during my third year of university. With my roommates we were watching a lot of anime and so I picked a little symbol from one of the shows we were watching a lot of: “Naruto”. There was a studio in the town so I went in, paid $50 and got the tattoo. One of my roommates filmed the process and I remember it being much more painful than any of the others I’ve had. I reckon I was pretty hung over at the time.
Eli: My first tattoo was my wings. I had just left home and wanted a tattoo, wings seemed like an appropriate coming of age image. I seem to get tattoos at exciting times in my life but it’s never a conscious decision to mark a specific moment, more of an accompaniment to the experiences.

Have you always loved tattoos?
Graeme: I like good tattoos. I like people with tattoos. And I like the process… I guess it’s like anything – why do people start watching ballet, or collecting paintings? Something about tattoos, the history, the culture, everything that goes along with it just appeals to me. I won’t lie though, it probably helps there’s a rebellious and rock ‘n’ roll association with them. It can be quite adventurous when it’s done correctly.
Eli: I don’t think that tattoos are an exceptional way of expressing myself, but rather I think it just reflects how comfortable and relaxed I am as a person. Many people I work with don’t know I have tattoos because they are covered, it’s more like a conversation with myself rather than showing off to the world.

Any plans for new tattoos?
Graeme: The next two I want to get are a diamond and a little pig. The pig is a good luck symbol for sailors but I just like pigs! It’s a fun cartoony style. Pigs and chickens used to be kept in wooden boxes when being transported and, if a ship sank, they’d live because they’d float. Sailors are said to have had them tattooed on their feet as good luck. The diamond is another old school design but you actually see it on the sewer covers around HK, so I think it’s quite fitting to get while we live here.
Eli: I am not letting myself think properly about my next tattoo because I’m in the middle of this current one. Although I’m always dreaming! I’d like a heart with an anchor, a lighthouse, a diamond, a pig on one foot and a chicken on the other. I’m actually quite worried Graeme and I will end up with almost all the same tattoos.

For more related articles, check out RAW Magazine 05.

Photos by Joyce Yung

About the Author

Alba Ma
Art has always played an important role in Alba’s life (ever since grade school when she discovered that art making could get her out of team sports). Upon completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History, Alba was a luxury travel PR manager before breaking out as an editor and writer for various lifestyle publications. She’s currently the deputy editor of a leading interior design magazine and freelancer based in Hong Kong.


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