It is common knowledge that industry folk, especially chefs, often have a penchant for getting inked. This link has been acknowledged in countless articles and even a book which explain that the physical and emotional rite of tattooing, from original idea to finished result, mirrors what a good chef goes through each night in the kitchen with discomfort in the name of creativity.
We chat to some of our tattooed team members, who offer their two cents on tattoos and how and where to get them in Hong Kong.
HEAD CHEF, OSTERIA MARZIA
Italian Chef Luca highly recommends Galaxy Tattoo in To Kwa Wan. He met studio owner Dust Wu when he was working at Ace Dragon Studio in Tsim Sha Tsui, and as Luca started his sleeve, he followed Dust to his next location.
With your tattoo artist, Luca explains, you start a deep relation of trust. A tattoo is something you keep for all your life, so trust is crucial. Dust is famous for his Japanese-style dragons, and Luca did a few styles with him: Japanese on his right arm, realistic on his right leg and old-school on his right calf.
Although everyone has a different point of view about tattoos, Luca insists that it’s a totally personal thing. As long as it holds true to you, you should be proud.
GROUP HEAD BARISTA
Our master barista Gabe talks about his ink like passport stamps. He refers to tattoos as a note in the diary of life, reminding you of a point along the journey, and he’s collected a fair few from his travels. Gabe got his Hong Kong-done tattoos at Star Crossed in Tsim Sha Tsui, and has collected others from Seoul, Australia and New Zealand. He has a deep appreciation for indigenous culture, wearing a couple of Aztec-inspired badges on his biceps, although he cautions to tread carefully when dealing with symbolic or culturally significant images.
He advises that as long as your pieces mean something, despite what people might say you won’t regret them when you’re older. It’s important to do your homework though because different artists have specific techniques, and Instagram is a good place to start for inspiration.
GROUP OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Black Sheep Restaurants Operations Director Jonathan agrees that you need to do your research, but advises that once you’ve made your decision to go with it as overthinking just leads to hesitation.
He got his arm piece from Cubist in Lan Kwai Fong, and his advice is to try to enjoy the pain and avoid names, spellings and script. He believes graphics are better, because anyone can make a mistake which could be on you for life.
GROUP EXECUTIVE CHEF
Vancouverite Tony got several of his tattoos in Hong Kong, and he recommends ZINK Tattoo in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is currently closed for the month for renovation but will be back in business come December. He says that owner/artist Vivi, who runs the show with partner Zac, is fantastic, as she’s amazingly accommodating, creative, and is great with ink shading.
Luke’s tattoos range from a local ninety-year-old lady that symbolises hard work and a cartoon that reminds him not to take things to heart to his latest piece, an old-school sailor ship bearing his wife and daughter’s initials.
What drew Luke to tattoos is how personal they are. His experience is that, in general, chefs are intimate people and nothing is more personal than putting permanent reminders on your body of both the past and the present.
He gets his tattoos at a shop in Sham Shui Po called Lovinkit, from artist Alan Yu. Luke has watched Alan grow in his artistry from his first tattoo to his last and notes that he is phenomenal with his line work.