Body art for the average Joe – itsReal

courtesy CNA –

SINGAPORE : Tattoos have come a long way from being just a badge of pride for bikers and gangsters. Today, tattooing has grown more prevalent in modern culture with an increasing number of people crazy for them.

In Singapore for the first-ever Singapore Tattoo Show which kicks off on Friday, celebrity tattooist Chris Garver from popular reality TV series “Miami Ink” said, “Most people that I tattoo are pretty much just ordinary people who are a little more adventurous than the Average Joe.

“A lot of celebrities are tattooed now so I think that makes people realise that we’re not that different, we’re just like everybody else. We just happen to like something that the general public is a little bit scared of sometimes.”

Tattooing has grown more prevalent in modern culture with an increasing number of people in today’s generation crazy for them.

Garver got his first tattoo at six years old after he was accidentally stabbed in the finger with a pencil. He got his start in tattooing at 17, using himself as his canvas.

“I did my first tattoo on myself because I wanted to be able to show people my work so if they were to trust me, they had to see something that I did,” he said.

However, an elaborate piece of tattoo doesn’t come easy. Detailed tattoos can require two sessions each lasting five to six hours. The customer has to take a two to three week break before returning for a second.

The duration of completing a tattoo will very much depend on the customer’s threshold for pain, said Garver. “Some people only want to be tattooed for an hour or two, that’s their threshold but I’ve had customers that I’ve tattooed for 12 hours.”

“But it’s a bearable pain”, he added. “The least painful part to get a tattoo would be your upper shoulder or bicep area.”

While most of Garver’s clients go to him with a design in mind, the tattoo artist said there are some to leave it to his imagination. “Even when they do that, I’d find out what would suit them,” he said.

“If it’s something that I am really familiar with drawing and it really needs to fit on the body in a certain way, I’ll draw it on. But if something is very technical like it has a lot of straight lines and perfect circles, anything geometric, I’d make a stencil on the skin that I’d just trace with the machine.”

But racist or offensive tattoos are a no-no. “Many young people make bad decisions and I don’t want to help them do that,” he said.

Though advances in laser technology and tattoo removal creams mean that tattoos are not forever, those planning to get inked should “find something that you’re really going to enjoy for the rest of your life”, said Garver.

The Singapore Tattoo Show runs from January 9 – 11 at the Singapore Expo. Tickets for the exhibition can be purchased at the exhibition itself. More details can be found at

– CNA/km/il

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Filed under 1st Singapore, 1st Singapore Tattoo Show, 1st Singapore Tattoo Show 2009, aplink, art, art fusion, asia

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