Gade Shum of Tattoo Freedom HK: Spring 2008

It all began in 2008 when I was in Hong Kong hanging out during a Visa run. Like most countries, there are ways around the governing law to extend ones stay in said country, same goes for China if one so chooses to do so.  Anyhow, during this week-long visit to a city that at the time I only saw in the movies, I told myself that I wouldn’t hold back. I choose to burn that money and burn that money good I did.  (I’ve been living in the south too long already) . Now, one night this girl who I met in Beijing found some flyer for a Tattoo event at some club, Folks with ink get in free! Works for me!

We made it to the club that night and got hassled a bit at the door for I was wearing shorts which weren’t permitted along with spitting, but I was inked on the legs and that was my ticket in!. Once I had a drink in the hand I did a walkabout to see that to my surprise there was actually tattooing going on through all the rowdiness of the club’s dance floor. I couldn’t pass up the chance to make a story of this as I thought to myself, “I’m going to get inked tonight!!” About that time I noticed Leon Lam, who now operator at Alchemink Tattoo Studio. It didn’t take long for me to witness that this was my man for the evening by watching the pain on the dude’s face. That dude’s look will be with me forever. The blood, sweat, tears. The cringing snarl of the upper lip. I found out years later that this pain everyone feels is a trademark of Leon that all of us with his ink speak of when we meet.

Even though I was ready, cash out in had, it only took a moment to find out that I wasn’t the only one. There was a long cue, not only from this event but for a duration. I found out that the folks that are getting inked at that moment were already waiting for months. planning, traveling, waiting for this moment to get inked like a rock star with the club scene popping off! Dj, flashing lights, half naked boys & girls.

I was glad Leon wasn’t the only badass in the club that night!. All like a perfectly time machine. A chair opened up at Gade Shum of now Freedom Tattoo HK area and I managed to slide right in and make a request

.Like most tattooist, they never travel solo, always in groups. Usually coming from a particular parlor, a studio, or work zone which can be interpreted as a group, a click, a gang. At these locations usually, host many rooms or booths where each has a designated area right next to each other.  (different from parlor to parlor)  They become family, like representing on the street, so  THIS GUY.  Gabe Shum A man with great with precision and confidence accompanied with speed.  Plus he let me get away with paying only half the total price up front!  Tattoos in Hong Kong are fucken expensive and I wasn;t prepared to burn the cash that fast! China, in general, is expensive if you want work from a true ARTIST like the ones Gabe.!

I gave Gabe a simple task.  I wanted Bamboo around my 不完全 which gave us a good laugh!(upcoming story). Great job bro.!  Still a beautiful piece of work to this day.

There is so much on this Gabe!  Catch all kinds of interviews on youtube.

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Check out the shop for a collector’s piece or your next weekend adventure.!

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