19 replies to this topic
Posted 2008-02-05 09:17:36
I am often asked by people about getting a tattooo in Phuket. Firstly there are some excellent Tattooists mixed with some very average ones in Phuket from what I've seen with my own eyes.
My preference is for traditional Thai style tattooing as it is less painful and there is little damage to the skin. Many of the tattooists in Patong are paying big rents and charge pretty high prices for Thailand. There is one guy in Patong who has trained a lot of the others and supplies them with inks etc. He is an excellent tattooist and has been in Patong over 20 years.
I know a guy named Sorn who works at Surin Beach who is extremely talented and very reasonable in terms of price. He uses the traditional way with a small bamboo spear like tool with the needles fused on the end. Most tattooists won't do hand style tatts because of the time and concentration it takes.
It is a slower way of doing a tattoo but the results are extremely good. He also uses very good inks which is probably just as important as anything else.
The advantages are there is no down time after the tattoo is finished, no bleeding and no scarring. Vaseline seals the small pin marks and it heals virtually immediatley. You don't need antiseptic creams although you could use one if you wanted. You can do whatever you want virtually straight away.
Most people are concerned with infection or the downtime. I have seen Sorn do many tattoos and never seen or heard of any problems.
You can see his work online at www.nakhonsrithammarart.com where there are photos of his work. I'd be interested to hear any feed back from people who have had work done in Phuket.
Posted 2008-02-05 11:03:57
I can highly recommend Khob in Kata, his webaddress is Khob's website. He also does only the traditional bamboo tattoos, and is excellent.
Posted 2008-02-07 21:32:24
Thanks for the 2 links.
very instructive indeed.
i will have a look over it during my next vacations !!!
Posted 2008-02-08 09:11:36
These are pics of his best work ??
To me that looks miss shapen, malformed, non symmetrical.. Typical of hand done work. See the same thing (and scary hygiene risks) with Sak Yank Temple tatts.
Best guy I know around is Em / Am operating out of Soi easy.. Great work, good freehand stuff and cover ups.. Proper inks.. Autoclave.. Plus if you hang about, have a beer with him, not act like a tourist customer and fit his schedule of when the chair is empty, he does really great pricing. Tho to me pricing would be far far secondary compared to the mark you will wear forever.
Posted 2008-02-08 11:47:13
Well you cannot judge a tattoo too much from a photo as it depends on the angle it is shot from, how the person is standing or the position of the arms etc. As for hygiene, a machine tattoo has much more risk of infection and scarring due to the bleeding and scabbing.
Naturally in the hands of a good professional there should be no problems with either style. My friend got a small tattoo on his back about 2 years ago in Patong, not only is there noticable scarring it has faded very badly already so you must choose your artist carefully.
Recently a man from Australia went for 2 tattoos in Patong. He wanted "Geelong Football club Day premiers 2007" on the right arm and "Night Premiers" with the year on the left arm. He actually wrote it down on a piece of paper as he was drunk and ended up falling asleep.
When he woke up he had the words "Right Arm" tattooed on his arm with "Gay Premiers" on the left arm he had "Left Arm" tattooed above his message
This made the front page of every newspaper in Australia with warnings about Patong tattoo artists. I dunno where Soi easy is but if it is the Soi next to Gonzo I know the shop and that guy is very good also. At O-top market there is a guy called Chai, he is Patongs oldest tattooist and one of the best.
Hand stylists like Sorn cannot be compared with the traditional temple tattoos where no stencil is used and no ink of quality can be found. Many Thai guys I know have had both machine and hand tatts done. Many actually prefer the hand style because they say it never scars the skin. I am no expert in the subject but Chai saw the tattoos on the website in the flesh while we were there one night buying needles, he was extremely impressed. He said he could do it but would charge double the price as it takes so much concentration and time.
Many of the posed tattoo shots you see are done under lights with the tatt oiled up and they look great. The shots on the site were shot in bright daytime sunlight at the beach as they were being done. The guy with the Tiger tatt got it done in Patong by machine, he was unhappy with it and it looked piss poor really. The touch up couldn't fix it completely but it did make it look a bit better.
The same time this was going on a German guy came over. He had a full back tattoo that cost him thousands in euros. He claimed it was done by some award winning artist in Germany. He said by the time he was finished he would have spent 10,000 euro which to me was ridiculous. He was actually a bit gopsmacked when he saw the work Sorn was doing for the price.
He begrudgingly accepted it was great work which was surprising considering the way he was boasting about his German tattooist.
Posted 2008-02-08 13:26:30
I dont dissagree with any of your points about hygene, skin scaring etc..
But I still think that tat is poor..
Look at the circular sections with triangles.. 3 of them have 3 triangles (all irregular) and the top right has only 2 ?!?!
The lower left section of the cross is definatly lower / distorted.
The 3 top bars, where the inner celtic type motif looks out of shape (most notably the top ones symmetry).
Just think thats not a good example of skin art. My 2c only.
Posted 2008-02-08 15:10:14
Well Celtic knots are meant to be all different. They are not meant to be symetrical.
With Celtic art used for tatttoos, a lot of it is taken from old books or manuscripts like the Book of Kells so yes the flash may not be perfect. Knotwork is an art form of its own, some like it, some may not like it. Its all a matter of taste, I personally like Celtic art (My Irish genes) but others might hate it.
If you go to www.eviltattoo.com you can see just about every tattoo design in existence. If you look closely you can often see very small detail problems which go unnoticed by 99% of people.
When I first became interested in Celtic art I too was confused by what I thought were mistakes until I realised it is meant to be like that.
I agree the triangles could be better but that is exactly how the flash was. The reason forums like this can be useful is people at least have access to information and can go look for themselves. I was the greatest skeptic of hand tattooing as I too had seen the stuff done in temples. When I saw Sorns work I was blown away by how good it was, given he had only 4 colours to work with.
As he gets more work and more of a rep he will have more money to get more inks. He tells me he might buy a machine to offer machine tatts to those who want them. He cannot speak English so must work with others who can.
Phuket can be a great place if you know where to go, where to avoid and who to do business with. I feel obligated to promote the decent and honest trader trying to make a small earn.
Surin beach has some absolutely appalling and untrustworthy people running businesses there. Now its being slowely taken over by resort owners from Patong and other places wanting a cleaner beach for their customers. Now many local people are missing out and are not happy. Surin, Bang Tao and Cherng Talay were so quiet and peaceful even 10 years ago. Now it is condo city unfortunatley.
Can't wait for Thaksins return, then I'll have something to laugh about again............
Posted 2008-02-08 20:47:49
Interesting topic this one, thought I'd join in.
Sorn's work looks good to me.. the guys definately talented and if he keeps improving he will be very good/established artist in a few years I'd have thought. In my opinion you can't really compare a machine done tattoo to a hand done, bamboo tattoo. The amount of skill and patience that goes into doing tattoos the bamboo way is immense. Couple of years ago I had a bamboo tattoo done up in Pai, north Thailand. Korn the guy that did it for me was pretty decent I thought at the time and I came away with a tattoo that I was very happy with.
It's an individual thing after all.. what looks good to one person looks <deleted> to another. The fact that it's painstakingly done by hand means that there will be imperfections, but then something can look too perfect, too machined and that also looks crappy I think. I agree with logbags that Celtic style designs are meant to be inperfect.. of course, the roots of these type of designs came from a time when there wasn't any electric tatoo machines!
Any more tattos I have done will certainly be bamboo style as for me there is also a much more spiritual element to the whole experience that sitting in Joes tatoo parlour getting machined to a stencile. I'm currently living in Cherngtalay, near to Surin and will try and check this guy out pretty soon. I have a few tatoos that were done many years ago now and I'd like to find somebody decent to re-do/take them into a new fresh design.
Posted 2008-02-09 22:57:16
Well thank you for the positive feedback. If you need your tatts re-coloured or touched up for sure see Sorn as he comes up with some great ideas. I saw him retouch a Belgium guys 30 year old faded tatt and it came up really well.
I am currently in Australia but I spoke to Sorn on the phone yesterday and he said he has had steady business over Christmas and January. He can even go to your place and you can watch TV or have a few beers while he works on you. I sent him over some nice starbright ink colours as it is a lot cheaper here in Oz.
If you see him give him the website address as he is yet to see it. I sent him a lot of Tattoo flash I had on my computer so he now has a good range of ink and a lot of great designs. He has literally started from nothing and Prapai and Chern were recently cheated out of a lot of money so every baht they make is much needed.
A lot of things we read here on these pages are about the bad things done to farangs. For every Farang robbed or cheated there is probably about 20 Thai's suffering the same fate or worse. Overall Thailand has delicious and cheap food, great beaches and offers great value for what you spend. That suit shop at Surin is another place I would recommend, the guy who manages it is Indian but he has lived in South Thailand for years and is married to a local girl.
He is a great guy who loves a chat. He is very straight talking and offers a surprisingly bullshit free deal. I asked him how the suit business worked as there was so many of them and I could not understand how they all made a living. He told me quite frankly what the real margins were and what I should pay for a fair deal.
One thing I wanted to know was exactly where all the touts came from as even the Thais have no idea. He said they tell people they are from Nepal or Bangladesh but they are actually all Burmese. He said they know the Thais are not keen on the Burmese so they claim to come from everywhere but there. I am not a suit wearer but I would get one there if I was, simply because he is so straight up about it all.
Friends of mine who go to Thailand always tell me the biggest problem they face is knowing where to go where they won't get ripped of or get dodgy goods or gear. It helps to hear feedback from people who have had good or bad experiences.
Posted 2008-02-10 10:16:15
I use Ann (Andy) at Siam tattoo in Soi Easy, patong, i think he is one of the best artists on the island, i recently got a full sleeve done, i get at least 2 comments a day on how good it looks, which i have never experiemced with any of my other wrok from other artists..im very happy with it.
Jimmy Wong the world renown tattoo artist also comes to see Andy every few months to get work done, so thats gotta say something!!
Posted 2008-02-10 12:28:25
This guy sounds real good, where is soi easy? Is it that shop tucked in the left hand corner next to the gold shop in the soi beside Gonzo? If it is I have seen his work and it's very impressive.
A lot of shops have flash and pictures from magazines outside their shops. This guy has a folio of great work of his own with one of the best tigers I have ever seen. A lot of the tatt shops were going real bad when I spoke to them late November and early December. It is really a case of too many in a small market.
The rents kill them unless they can get steady work, Chai supplies inks and needles to everyone so he has a good business. A number of people I spoke with were actually former artists or graduates from art school who have taken up tattoong as they can make a better living doing it.
A lot are from Nakhon Sri like Sorn and a lot of people who sell stuff like silver are from Nakhon. The talented and decent trader should get publicity and promotion on these forums.
Post some pictures of your tattoo if you can so I can have a look.
Posted 2008-02-10 13:08:56
Yes he is the small shop tucked in the left hand side next to the gold shop, but its in soi easy not gonzo...next to the Aussie Bar..ill try post some pics soon, all he did was do a rough outline of the fish and the rest of the sleeve was all freehand, straight off the gun, i got jap style koi fish and lillies etc.....very impressive, ive had 4 friends go in and get big work done just after seeing the work he did on me...he is although very busy and can be ahrd to get a booking.
Posted 2008-02-10 13:59:46
Ann is one of my good friends, he really like his job and will look into the tattoo you want, he do nice freehands as well also coverup
Posted 2008-02-10 14:30:26
Known him for years too.. Hes done large pieces on lots of my mates (funnily enough large koi carp on one of them) plates sleves etc.. Never seen any fault on anything.
For machine work I wouldnt look anywhere else.
Posted 2008-02-10 15:31:37
Well I thought is was this guy. I spend a lot of time wandering around just chatting to people when I am in Patong. You see good art or ink work and you just know what has the x factor and what doesn't. You hang around long enough and you know who runs a professional business and who are the quick buck merchants.
The koi fish is a beautiful piece of art. The photos on the Sorn site don't do his fish justice as the shots were taken in very bright sunlight so you cannot see the richness in the colours. This guy in soi easy does really bright and vibrant work from what I've seen. I see a lot of locals in his shop so he must have a name.
Chai showed me a tiger he done on his computer and it blew my mind how nice it was. That Andy guy also has a leopard picture in his album that is brilliant. I agree a well done tatt can look awesome so its best to find the best available man for the job.
I've seen Sorn do pieces for Thai guys where he just does a basic stencil and works free hand from there. That to me is the sign of a true artist, he backs his judgement and trusts his skills.
I will certainly recommend this Andy guy to others. I remember me and Sorn went to his shop for a look one night as I wanted to show Sorn that leopard with the green eyes he has in his photo album.
Thais consider dreaming about the koi fish to be extremely lucky, especially if you see diamonds or gold in its mouth. My first wife dreamt about the koi fish and gold and won 55,000 baht in the 3 digit lottery a few days later as the number 377 appeared in the dream with the fish. A good amount of money in 1985.
Most mythology has the fish as a symbol of luck and intelligence, it appears in most cultures. Try to get up a pic or two if you can.
I want to paste a few but dunno how to do it
I have some amazing flash if anybody ever needs any. Everything from all over the world.
Posted 2008-02-10 16:23:11
The guy on Soi easy is Ann (tho I have heard him called em also) and it seems he has adopted Andy tho I have never called him that..
He did a sleave on a buddy that was dark and shades with tiny tiny bright red flowers in it.. The red really 'pops' on the dark background and is even more niticeable simply by how little there is.. Its very distinctive.. The kind of thing that would be hard to imagine being as good as it is on the skin.
Posted 2008-02-10 17:40:21
The following photos I found on the web are Am or Andys work. Pretty awesome work for sure. I would imagine this work would cost 10's of thousands of baht.
Posted 2008-02-11 04:33:54
I can only agree that Ann (Andy) at Siam tattoo is one of the best in Phuket, he did a Koi across the ribs of a friend of mine, great work. I had bamboo tattooed across my shoulder by Bond who then worked at Phuket Extreem Tattoo and Piercing at Ocean Sopping in Phuket town (owned by ZU, a very good tattooist and piercer, but a bit crazy) Bond now moved to Indian Tattoo at the south en of Patong Beach, he works there and also every year a few month in Sweden. His tats have one tons of prices ar shows in Europe, check him out.
Posted 2008-02-12 17:39:07
I have been to that shop at Ocean. How many tattooists or artists are there who aren't a bit mad. It comes with the brilliant talent, you need a very abstract mind.
I just spoke to Prapai and she said Sorn is getting more and more business so I am very happy for him to be making an earn. He is doing a full back that is going to take him 2 days starting tommorow.
So if anybody wants to take a look at his work they can trot on down to Surin beach for a look.