Ching interviews Frank Hsu

What is your background and how you got started tattooing?
My name is Frank Hsu and I’ve had a passion for drawing since I was a kid. Growing up, I wanted to have a career in design industry, so I went for a design major in college. But then I realized school couldn’t give me what I was looking for, so I quitted to pursue tattooing.

Would you like to tell us the most important steps in your career?
Tattooing gave me an opportunity to fulfill myself creatively, and pursue my passion for art. I draw my inspiration from the Asian cultures, and being based in Asia, I find myself in a unique position to be able to convey the culture through my art and bring something different to the table in terms of tattooing.

Could you name three adjectives which describe your tattoos?
Sensual, mystical, eccentric, distinctive.

And three which describe you as a person?
Introverted, passionate, inspired… And always exploring.

Do you have a subject or something which you’re particularly passionate about?
I love to travel, and I try to incorporate different aspects of cultures I discover in my travels into the work I do. Currently I am really into the japanese mythical creatures and ghosts, trying to push my own limits into delivering art that’s borderline extreme and yet maintain it at a general degree of acceptance.

Who are your mentors? And who do you admire now – in art, and in life?
There were many mentors in my tattooing career but I would like to especially thank the one person that I really look up to, my co-worker – Alan Jiang. He has taught me almost everything i need to know in this career, from professional skills to self-managing skills and how to make progress. I’m also proud to call Alan my good friend. In terms of art inspiration I really admire Japanese manga artists 丸尾末広 Maruo Suehiro and 山本タカト Takato Yamamoto, their works of ancient Japanese culture really speaks to me.

Where are you working at the moment, and what dreams do you harbour for the future?
I am working at Analog Tattoo in Taipei at the moment. One of my dreams is to travel the world and leave a part of myself with the people from different cultures through my work. To me, it’s like leaving footprints all around the world and staying connected to these countries even when I’m physically not there.

What are your thoughts regarding tattooing, at this particular historic moment?
Tattooing is probably at the moment in history when it’s finally becoming more mainstream and accepted by the general public. The art is suddenly in high demand, so you can see lots of really talented artists who started learning later than you, but are already better than you. To me, those artists are inspiring, and it keeps you on your toes, always pushing to evolve and make something new. Of course, for some people it’s a really hard turning point, especially for the older generation, but it is a must nowadays to learn how to accept and process everything you see, how to keep and open mind in this industry, otherwise it’s easy to lose yourself in the sea of professional saturation. It’s good and bad, but I tend to enjoy this positive pressure as it puts me in a humble and laid back position to stay out of fierce competition and to maintain who I am and where I stand in this industry. It also helps me to take extra care with my clients and people who appreciate my work.

What advice would you give to young people who are interested in following this career path?
Stay hungry, stay thirsty, keep exploring and pushing the limits. There’s no good or bad art, only art that speaks to you. Understand yourself, test your ideas, learn to get out of your comfort zone, stay passionate, enjoy what you do, don’t take the easy way out, learn something everyday, be your own competitor, and simply enjoy.

Frank Hsu
Analog Tattoo Studio, Taipei (Taiwan)
Instagram: @frank_hsu_tattoo
Facebook: Frank Hsu Tattoo