To Alvin Chong, a tattoo is a everlasting technique to commemorate one thing or somebody vital.
“After all, there are people who get tattoos for aesthetic causes or as a result of they like a specific artist’s model and want to have a chunk of their art work on their physique, ” defined the 48-year-old tattoo artist.
However, most individuals get tattoos to recollect somebody they love or a pet, mark a milestone in life, or to doc the issues that they cherish, he added.
Chong himself has an “uncountable” variety of tattoos on his physique. He bought his first tattoo to mark a memorable occasion in his life.
“I created this brand for a motivational course I took in 2003. My coursemates and I went via lots of laughter, ache, disappointment and all the things else collectively. It made an influence in my life and I introduced that brand to an area artist and bought it as my first tattoo, ” he stated.
Two of his favorite ones had been achieved by worldwide artists in New York 5 years in the past.
“On my left hand is a monster eye achieved by American tattoo artist Paul Sales space at his studio, Final Rites Tattoo Theatre and Gallery, whereas on my proper hand is the Statue of Liberty by Peruvian tattoo artist Stefano Alcantara, ” he stated.
Chong, who has over 10 years’ expertise in his commerce, travels abroad a number of instances a yr not simply to get tattooed, but additionally to ship his service to purchasers in addition to attend tattoo conventions.
“Going for such conventions is an effective technique to mingle and get to know different artists from all over the world and study from them, ” he stated.
Earlier than he turned a tattoo artist, Chong was within the promoting business. Armed along with his drawing and illustration abilities, and along with his curiosity piqued since getting his first tattoo, he determined to coach beneath an area artist.
“Once I first began out, I practised alone legs. It’s one of the simplest ways to study as a result of once you do this, you’ll understand how properly you’re doing, whether or not you’re doing it accurately, how deep the needles are getting in, and the way properly the tattoos are therapeutic, ” he defined.
When requested how does one put together for his or her first tattoo, he stated that particular person have to be mentally and emotionally prepared. Additionally, they have to know what they need, until they’re prepared to offer free rein to the artist.
“Usually a shopper would come to me and say, ‘I like your model so simply give me what you are feeling will probably be appropriate, ’ however that normally occurs with abroad purchasers as a result of they’re extra open-minded in comparison with Asian (native) purchasers, ” Chong defined.
“They’re mainly amassing a chunk of art work from the tattoo artist, with their pores and skin because the canvas, ” he elaborated.
Chong’s artwork is stylised and semi-realistic. He specialises in portraits of individuals and animals, and is understood for his cranium works.
Probably the most troublesome piece he has achieved was for a person in his 20s in Hong Kong. The younger man had misplaced his fiancee who dedicated suicide resulting from melancholy. His tattoos (of going through female and male silhouettes on his left and proper arm) had been an expression of his disappointment and a memorial to her.
“It was an emotional expertise not only for him but additionally for me as a result of I might perceive the ache he was going via, ” Chong revealed, admitting that he too had tried suicide when he was a lot youthful due to a number of failed relationships.
He rapidly added that it doesn’t matter what one goes via, suicide isn’t the reply.
“There are individuals who care and it is very important discuss to somebody, ” he suggested. “This is the reason it’s essential to have actual associates in your life, as a result of they’re those who will enable you to see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel once you undergo troublesome instances, ” he emphasised.
Chong stated that his associates helped him to see that he had a function in life and inspired him to stay on to pursue his goals. They spurred him on to be completely happy, sort and to assist others.
“I aspire to be a giver – a giver of affection, good vibes and energy”, he stated, including that it’s higher to steer a life that’s of worth than a profitable one.
In 2017, Chong began a tattoo charity drive with some native artists for Dignity Basis and raised RM14,000 to help refugee youngsters via college. He continued with this giveback marketing campaign for victims of the Palu earthquake-tsunami in Indonesia in 2018 and Orang Asli Pos Tenau in Perak in 2019.
“It’s via serving to the much less lucky that we study to understand what we now have, which we so usually take with no consideration, ” he stated, including that he hopes to encourage extra folks to do the identical.
In 2019, Chong, who can be an avid hiker, went on the Fjallraven Polar expedition, the place 20 individuals (chosen by public votes and jury) from completely different areas of the world, crossed the Arctic (from Norway to Sweden) on self-driven canine sleighs.
“The expedition modified my life. I can nonetheless keep in mind each element vividly as if it was yesterday, ” he reminisced.
“It was exhausting but enjoyable. We travelled 330km in 4 days by canine sleigh. We needed to stand on the sleigh seven to eight hours every day. At each checkpoint, we needed to handle our canine (every participant had six canine) – cook dinner for them, dig holes to shelter them from the chilly, hold them heat – earlier than taking good care of our personal wants.
“It taught us about sacrifice, self-discipline, willpower, to by no means hand over, and teamwork, ” stated Chong, who lives in Petaling Jaya along with his spouse and son.