In times gone past, tattoos were considered to be the preserve of criminals in Asia and only ‘bad’ people had them. Now, thanks to the prevalence of tattoos adorning pop culture icons such as singers and movie stars, business people, white collar workers and office girls are going under the needle for that personalized indelible style.
Around Beijing, ropey looking tattoos that have the appearance of being made by somebody’s mate with a not so sharp implement and a bottle of ink are often on show, making many people aware of the availability of crude tattoos. What a great many people don’t know is that Beijing boasts a number of clinically clean, professionally-staffed world class tattoo studios. Here are four of the better ones.
Before opening Spring Tattoo, tattoo expert Zhang Hong Mei (Meizi) got her training in New York under well-known American tattoo artists Paul Booth. Meizi specializes in traditional Chinese-style figures and Chinese script.
The parlor has a database of names in a wide variety of languages; if you wish to get your own name, or that of a loved one, tattooed in Chinese characters you will be inked with an accurate transliteration.
As a member of the United European Tattoo Artists, Meizi is well up on matters of hygiene. She uses German equipment and disposable needles, following European directives in terms of hygiene. Not only does Spring Tattoos offer tattoos from its own designs and pre-existing designs, they also offer cover up tattoos.
That embarrassing Popeye tattoo that you got whilst on a bender in Phuket can be covered up with a more tasteful traditional Chinese design. Located on a busy Sanlitun bar street, Spring Tattoo Parlor enjoys an international clientele and is popular with the inked up expat crowd.
Add: 39-2-1002 Xinfu Ercun, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Creation Tattoo 天玺刺青
Opened in 2009, Creation Tattoo is one of the new kids on the block, as far as Beijing Tattoo studios are concerned. Having said this, the collective experience of the body art professionals at the studio is a good number of years.
Tattooist Haiyang has 11 years of tattoo work experience and some of his crowning works are impressive large scale pieces involving intricate, colorful designs that cover the customer’s whole torso. His specialty style is traditional Chinese art-inspired designs, featuring dragons, phoenixes, ghosts and demons.
Fly, a slightly less seasoned younger artist, makes up for what he lacks in experience with innovative design and creativity. His creations feature traditional tattoo subject matter with his own cartoon-esque twist.
Not only does this trendy, well-decorated studio in the up market Soho complex offer top quality tattoos, they also offer professional body piercing, microdermal tattoos and tattoo removal. The experts at the studio also pass on their knowledge of body art to willing students. Creation Tattoo also has their own fantastic line of T-shirts embroidered with tattoo designs.
Add: #4309, Building 4, Jianwai Soho, Dongsanhuan Zhong Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5869 1886, 139 1126 9662 (English speaking)
Longxiutang Tattoo 龙绣堂
Located between the stunning factory buildings, chimneys and structures of 751 Power Square just a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the 798 art district, Longxiutang has been a forerunner in China’s tattoo business since over a decade.
The studio once boasted being the largest in China at its original location in Nvren Jie before it was demolished last year. The tattoo parlor was originally founded by Xiao Long (齐旭龙), a famous Chinese tattoo artist now based in New York, with the vision of promoting and developing tattoo culture in China at a time when tattoos were associated with derogatory stereotypes. The studio is currently run by Tian Ju (田举), a tattoo master with over ten years of experience.
The studio itself is equipped with the top quality, international standard equipment. Needles are never re-used and ensuring the highest standards of hygiene is one of the studio’s top priorities.
Tattoos don’t come cheap, with the minimum price for tattoos starting from 500RMB. As a professional studio, Longxiutang does not do walk-ins. Those interested need to book several weeks in advance due to waiting lists and Tian Ju is known for turning down people who wander in unprepared or without a clear concept about the tattoo they want. English language isn’t spoken fluently here but communication through pictures usually does the trick.
Add: 751 Power Square, 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 139 1073 7761
Ghost Space Tattoo Studio 诡异空间纹身
The resident tattooist at Ghost Space Tattoo Studio is He Wenqian, who started out as a tattoo artist more than eight years ago. With all this experience under his belt his works are popular with both the local and expat community.
From muscle bound foreign guys with macho tattoos to dainty, well-to-do Chinese ladies looking for small lotus blossoms or a carp to decorate their midriff, He Wenqian has had all manner of clientele in his studio chair and under the needle.
Although He is not an English speaker, guests are able to bring a friend to translate or can communicate using pictures. He is happy to work from ready made designs or create custom designs specific to the client’s requirements. The entire operation exudes professionalism and the centrally-located, comfortable and pleasant studio in Longfusi is in keeping with this expertise.
Prices are not cheap, with the smallest simplest designs starting at 500RMB, but it is worth paying for quality, especially when it is something as personal and long lasting as a tattoo. In addition to tattoos, Ghost Space Tattoos also offers body piercing from simple ear piercing to more private and exotic piercing.
Add: No. B-26, 1/F Longfusi Plaza, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6401 3066