Determined to be original
As a veteran tattooist who used to work with Paul Booth — a world renowned tattoo master from the United States — Shen Weiguo has established himself as one of the best in Shanghai with his bold and exquisite designs.
A native of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, Shen has always been passionate about drawing and modern art forms. He started out in the business in 1993 by helping friends do traces that were later tattooed on their customers. He is currently one of the most sought-after tattoo artists in Shanghai, with his followers even creating online forums to express their admiration.
Shen now operates two studios under the name Shanghai Canglong Tattoo, where he takes pride in ensuring that each design is never a copy of an existing one. China Daily USA spoke to the 39-year-old about the tattoo culture at his studio on Changle Road. about to ink on their skin. Try to imagine how peculiar it might look when you grow old and have a colorful cartoon image on your body.
I really like the traditional Chinese motifs and prefer to work and express myself on large-scale projects. I think these traditional motifs stand the test of time and represent good taste.
Being creative is very important to a tattooist. I always tell my staff to prioritize their own design styles ahead of making business. I tell them to be creative with each design and never allow it to be simply a copy of something else created by another artist.
Some people may bring up the excuse that every artist starts from learning from others or copying other works, but selfdisciplined and respectful artists will never allow themselves to “learn” from others for a long time. You should quickly walk out of the “learning process” and create your own style.
Among the most impressive was a US resident in his 50s who first asked me to revise a design for him 10 years ago. He kept returning over the years and recently asked me to ink his thighs and a small area on his chest, the only spaces on his body available.
There was also a Chinese family who opened a restaurant on the other side of the road. The parents came up with the idea of getting tattooed and asked us to do it for them. We inked a tiger on the father’s arm and a butterfly on the back of the mother’s foot. The son ended up with a Hannya mask (used in classic Japanese theater to represent a jealous female demon or serpent) on his calf.