The 12-year-old Pursuing Her Passion as a Tattoo Artist

[Upbeat music playing] Joseph: When my clients and friends find out that I teach my daughter tattooing they were quite surprised because most girls her age are busy with their iPads and games while she’s learning tattooing from me during her school holidays. Most of them say “Wow, at a young age, (she’s) following her passion.” So far, I haven’t seen any other young tattoo artists in Singapore. She’s probably the first one. I’m Joseph, I have been tattooing for 20 years. This is Lilith, my daughter. She is currently apprenticing under me. I brought my daughter to the studio because I want to expose her to the tattoo culture so that she can learn about tattoo art. Last year, she was in my studio doing her homework. She was observing me doing my work and I asked her, “Are you interested in tattooing?” She said, “Yeah, why not?” and that was how it all started. Some of my friends are very encouraging. They volunteer and sacrifice their skin for her. The first time that she tattooed on real skin was on my friend last June, during her school holidays. It was a cartoon character that my friend picked for her to do. Lilith: Tattooing my first tattoo was a little difficult. I felt a bit scared because I was afraid that I might lose control and make some mistakes. For drawings, you can erase but for tattoos, you can’t and you have to be very careful. J: You see, she’s still a kid so she’s still exploring the idea of tattooing, drawing and cultivating her own passion. Usually, I let her explore the styles that she likes to do. Then, I’ll guide her along the way to customise her own styles. Okay, this whole part you colour black. She grew up in an environment where her parents have tattoos, friends have tattoos and it shows that we are just regular people. In the old times, parents will shield their child from people with tattoos and tell them that they are bad guys. Also, there are a lot of misconceptions about tattoo artists. (People think) it is not considered a proper profession but now the stigma has changed. People now know that tattoo is an art form. So, I’m very supportive of my daughter coming to the studio because I don’t think many kids her age are following what they want to do. L: I feel proud because it’s not something everyone can achieve. I want to be a tattoo artist in the future because it makes me very happy P: Would you let Lilith tattoo you? Now? She hasn’t practiced for awhile. (Laughs) When the time comes, I’ve already saved some space for her.

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