We’re in Melbourne, Australia, to meet up with Nick Tran, a tattooist born in Vietnam and resident in Melbourne where he opened his N2N tattoo shop.
His style is connected with Japanese tattoo culture and Ukiyo-e which he expresses in bodysuits featuring the great clasics of the tradition: heroes, koi carp, snakes and mask…
Hello Nick where are you from and where do you live?
I’m originally from Vietnam but now I am resident in Australia.
Do you work at N2N in Melbourne? Can you tell us something about this tattoo shop?
Yes, I’m the owner of N2N Tattoo and I work there. I started the business back in 2015 in the back of my studio working by myself. Then I gradually built it up from a small shop in 2018 to the much bigger shop it is now.
Your style is Japanese. How did you develop it? Where did you start from?
I have no masters or teachers at all, but instead taught myself and was inspired by several legendary artists. I started to like tattooing in high school. I tried to tattoo my friends with traditional style sewing needle back then. Since then I have felt really connected with tattooing, so it has brought me here today as a tattoo artist.
I know there’s a lot of things to know about culture, mythology and Japanese history to be a good tattoo artist in this style. How did you build your knowledge?
I have always been interested in Japanese culture and mythology since an early age, especially when it comes to arts and crafts. So I’d watch a lot of documentaries on Ukiyo-e, as well as videos and images regarding Japanese culture and art. So from an early age I’d already started drawing every day and so I developed the skills that I have today that help me now with my tattooing career.
Are there any themes or subjects in particular that you like to do?
I like traditional Japanese heroes, dragons, koi fish, snakes, masks…
You do a lot of bodysuits. Can you tell us something about how you design such a piece and how you develop it?
To do a bodysuit tattoo, I have to take the time to learn and understand the body’s curves and muscles in order to fit the design to the body. I design each body suit exclusively for each individual so that it fits and connects perfectly according to each client’s preferences. I also try to make the design stand out as much as possible and flow in order to achieve the perfect impact within the overall frame.
If you were to highlight something absolutely yours in these works, from a technical point of view, for example, what would it be?
I think the first thing that matters is the contrast of the tattoo. The background and colour contrast will help your main image stand out the most. I usually use the background to help highlight the main image I want to bring out.
You have just produced an eBook for Tattoo Life. Would you like to tell us about it?
It is truly a great opportunity for me to produce an ebook together with Tattoo Life and I really appreciate the trust they placed in me. It contains approximately 54 sketch designs that I have produced for my clients and I hope it will serve as an enjoyable reference work.
JAPANESE TATTOO SKETCHBOOK BY NICK TRAN
An extremely useful study tool for anyone looking for the lines for classic subjects of the Japanese tradition: samurai, koi carpt, tiger, phoenix, all presented in compositions filled with detail, scenes from legends and stories connected with the heroes of Asian folktales….