Tattoos that feel like caressing the skin. It almost seems that Joey Pang’s artwork has been gently put there by a paint brush, with a direct connection to chinese caligraphy and painting. Here, she explain her trajectory as an artist.
Lire l’interview en français ici.
What did you dream of as a kid ?
I was born in Yunnan in Mainland China. My parents families were originally from China but moved down to Indonesia during the cultural revolution and then back afterwards. I grew up very poor. We lived in shacks on the mountains or very far outside the city.
Drawing was my only passion growing up. I really didn’t like any sports and was hugely shy. I liked to imagine that I could see things from the sky, stones or on any surface – just trying to see pictures and details in everything around me.
Who were your childhood heroes ?
Steve Jobs is my one of my all time heroes. I wish I could do something that make this world better in some way. Working to improve tattoo culture, especially in Hong Kong, is my first mission.
What did you think you would do once you grow up ?
I trained in makeup / cosmetology before moving to graphic design. But I realized that these industries were just about business and didn’t want to lose my passion for artwork by just having it become an office job. That’s when I found tattooing.
Which one of your tattoo is the most significant to you ?
I really appreciate all my tattoos. Especially my leg piece from Paul Booth when he was a guest artist here, a thigh piece from Xoil and sleeves from both my friend and apprentice. They are all a part of me.
As a tattoo artist, which tattoos are you especially proud of ?
Tattooing for me or for most people is about self expression, how you think you should look like or the picture inside you. Not all of my clients come for tattoos with epic stories behind the inspiration. Most appreciate art and want to create their own piece.
How would you define your style as a tattoo artist ?
My tattoo art is strongly influenced by my Chinese cultural background. Chinese calligraphy and painting could be said to be my style. The art of lines and brush shows the artists’ Chi (energy), directly through movement. After the traditional art form has been created, I then use another medium – tattooing – to re-create this on the body. It is still carrying the same flow and energy as it’s originally from me.
Does everybody will be tattooed in the future ?
Absolutely. And I feel that this will become a far more common, even ubiquitous, form of self expression.
In the end, what does tattoos stands for ?
Art is about expression. It is to carry an artist’s thoughts, emotions, the history of human beings – it is a form of human meditation. And it is timeless. Artists express their own conscious of themselves or the world and wait for a resonance or recognition with the viewers. Then the art can be show in exhibition or sold to people who are interested, otherwise it will be buried forever.
Real tattoo artists do the same thing when they create a piece. This is the art before they tattoo it on a body. The difference is that the art was sold before it’s created (commissioned). Tattooing is just the next step of putting it to another medium, on the human body.
Tattoo art carries the same messages as ‘traditional’ art forms such as painting. Tattooing is just shown on the body and exhibited to the world wherever one goes. Tattooing gives life to a special art form which ages with the carrier and changes with their lifestyles. The pieces are for a lifetime or can even be kept if removed and preserved after death – so it too becomes timeless. Every tattoo has at least one lifetime to be shown off, exhibited every day and traveling through countries until the person is buried.
The difference of tattooing is that it is a creation of two souls, both the artist and carrier making it unique.
02/22/2016 – Email interview by Christophe Chadefaud