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.
4 months later
On my next round into HK visa runs, I ventured into the studio to pay up Gabe and that is when I got the privilege of shake hands with Leon. We chatted about the fact I lived in Beijing and I was looking for a good place to get inked. He told me to visit his teacher La He @ Hetattoo. I thought WOW! To get ink from the master, the guy who schooled Leon the ability to ink. The medium to display his artistic ability!
-Hetattoo will be featured for La He and several of his students have their artwork on my body.
It just so happened that I was in Nepal on the Annapurna Circuit for 20 days. (Story to come) when the word came in that Kathmandu was going to host the first annual
with an added bonus for me that Leon Lam will appear. I didn’t hesitate! I got the line with Leon’s wife and made the reservation immediately. Got to love technology. The Tattoo Convention was a month or so away, which I satisfied with traveling to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, then back to Kathmandu just days before the event.
During my times traveling around after Kathmandu, my computer crashed and I lost all photos of this event along with all the travels leading up to it. My most favored were Leon and I standing next to each other with his work. A sad moment in my memories losing such a valuable photo. Only a few photos survive that went out on social media or off others people post such as this
2011 International Tattoo Conventions YOUTUBE video by –privetattoo,
53 secs in one can see my backside being inked by an artist. An artist of the ink.! Which will bring you true pain with a hint of pleasure.
Leon!!! You need to finish or it’s your wife’s turn!!