Elson Yeo on Tattooing Scars
For the latest issue of Skin & Ink, I interviewed Elson Yeo of thINK Tattoo in Singapore, and we discussed his particular talent of working with scar tissue--a somewhat controversial topic in the industry as many artists won't work with significantly damaged skin. In our talk, Elson explains how he approaches scars artistically and technically:
Scar tissue is always unpredictable. I work the tattoo towards the scar. As I approach the tissue, I turn down the voltage for a softer stroke. I test the market. If it's supple skin, I use a normal stroke. If it's tender, I'll use the scar as an illusion of whiplash. Or a whole scar tissue could be designed as a trickle of blood--you just color it a little red and it will always look 3D.What's just as interesting is how his reputation for this type of work as attracted clients with undamaged skin: "Now I also do tattoos of scars, not just using scars. People will give me design ideas and say, 'And then cut it from ear to ear'." Designs that mix both real and fake flaws make up much of clients' requests today.
A Chinese Buddhist with a laidback demeanor, Elson's dark portfolio of work, which includes many disfigured young women, may seem to sharply contrast with his sunny personality but Elson says that beauty, not demons, drive his art--just an unconventional notion of it.
I like the juxtaposition of beauty and blood. I find it hypocritical of human beings to always adore a pretty girl's face but be scared of blood, which gives her life. If beauty is too polished, it's just a boring Barbie Doll.Read more about Elson's 13+ years in tattooing and how he came to his signature style in Skin & Ink on newsstands now. See more of his tattoos on his Facebook photo galleries.