De­ter­mined to be orig­i­nal

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG ZHENGHUA in Shang­hai

wangzhenghua@chi­nadaily.

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.

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