Chi-Shi has been doing tattoos for more than thirty years, and served as a professional judge of many tattoo exhibitions (especially in Kaohsiung and Taipei – Taiwan, Nanning and Langfang – China). Chi-Shi is good at both Taiwanese and Japanese traditional tattoo. All his tattoos are delicate and unique, and all of his creations are made by free hand. There are many young masters at 其之紋身 (C.Z.Tattoo). They all have their own styles such as Japanese traditional style, realistic tattoo, watercolor tattoo, etc. If you are interested in their tattoos, please follow them on their Facebook page.
What is your background and how you got started tattooing?
From my primary school years, I started to be along with the predecessors and to observe them tattooing. At that time, many predecessors couldn’t draw, so I helped them to draw a draft on the back of the guests before the tattooing get started. I was 13 in 1979, when I began to use a needle to make tattoos: they were made by only one needle manually (it was common to fix it on the chopsticks with cotton line). After retiring from military in 1988, I started working as a professional tattoo artist, and started use electric tattoo machine.
What do you think is the most important thing in your job?
Since tattoo is related to wound care, in my opinion, the environmental sanitation of tattoo working place is very important. Tattoo industry has been evolved so far, the relevant supplies and color materials are easy to get. To contrast with before, more and more people pay attention to the sanitation issue. I think it is great. I also pay much attention to preparation and friendly working environment. Before making tattoo, tattoo masters should keep in good mood, and the working environment should be comfortable and friendly as well. These are the things I emphasize most.
Could you name three adjectives which describe your tattoos?
Innovative, unique, intentional.
And three which describe you as a person?
Insistent, persistent, focused.
Do you have something which you’re particularly passionate about?
Besides tattoo art, occasionally, I’m interested in plants. I like to study plants on books, visit website forums, and enjoy collecting some plants.
I also like Japanese anime, especially the positive, motivative type comics, and my favorite is “One Piece” by Oda Eiichiro, everyone of my comic serials are finished. There are also in the continuous following of his update progress, I think his story with the character design is very interesting and very tension.
Who are your mentors? And who do you admire now – in art, and in life?
My master is a low-key, has also died 20 years ago, so now the younger generation of tattoo artists do not know him. I am very young to appreciate Horiyoshi’s predecessors – and when I was younger the informations were difficult to collect – but now I often look at them in books or videos and I learn from them. So I think we can say that I have small and big mentors.
Where are you working at the moment, and what dreams do you harbour for the future?
My studio in Taiwan’s New Taipei City, Banqiao District. Hope to have the opportunity to travel to Europe and to the United States to work.
What are your thoughts regarding tattooing, at this particular historic moment?
Keep learning is very important. However, many tattoo schools or crash classes set up recently are aim at make money as well as the learners. The mind and attitude of tattoo masters will affect their creations. In additions, tattoo is also skillful, painting and machine operation skills are both important, too. I as a tattoo predecessor now expect that the tattoo industry keep improving better and better, and tattoo learners can be determine to be not only a tattoo craftsman but also an artist.