It all began in 2008 when I was in Hong Kong hanging out during a Visa run. If one is an illegal long time immigrant in China, every 90 days one has to find their way out for a few days in hopes one can get restamped for reentry. Luckily I never ran into that problem being a LEGAL BUSINESS OWNER!
Like most countries, there are ways around the governing law to extend one’s stay in the 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. Knock it out like there won’t be any return visits. Now, Tiffany Mok @&#%, this hot piece of ass young HK/CANADIAN/AMERICA girl whom I met in Beijing in a TEFL English class found some flyer for a tattoo event of some club and Folks with ink get in free!
How can one say no?
We eventually made it to the club only to get hassled a bit at the door for I was wearing shorts, and shorts weren’t permitted along with spitting or something like that. But being the man that I am, carrying ink on my legs, was my ticket into this event for
Once I had a drink in the hand, I began my walkabout around the space and to my surprise to witness actual tattooing going on through all the rowdiness of the peoples on the club’s dance floor. I couldn’t pass up the chance to make a story for myself as I begin chanting,
“I’m going to get inked tonight!!”
On the 40th round my rant starting turning into a rallying call and about that time I was about to come, I noticed Leon Lam, who now operator at Alchemink Tattoo Studio. Well, not so much Leon I noticed but the man that Leon was working on. The look on his face will never be forgotten. Crashing together in pain. The blood, sweat, tears on inking at it’s finest. The cringing snarl of the upper lip, the wrinkle of the eyebrow.
It wasn’t until years later that this pain everyone feels under he hands of Leon is a ‘trademark‘. Something we can all talk about in relation to this legend
Even though I was ready, with HK cash out in hand, it only took a moment to find out that I wasn’t the only one in cue for Leo. A loooooong cue, not only from this event but for a duration of time before and after my time of discovery. It wasn’t long for someone to notify me that the folks that are NOW getting inked were already waiting for months. planning, traveling, seeking this moment to get inked like a rock star with the club scene popping off! Dj’s, flashing lights, half-naked boys & girls, and booze.
I was glad Leon wasn’t the only badass in the club that night!. All like a perfectly timed machine. A chair opened up at
of the 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. 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 by speed.
Plus! He let me get away with paying only half the total price up front that night! Tattoos in Hong Kong are fucken expensive and I wasn’t prepared to burn the cash that fast. I still had a week to go! HK, Mainland China, in general, is expensive if you want work from a true ARTIST.!
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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