ARTIST PROFILE - BLACK CATTT - TATTOO ARTIST
Updated: Sep 8, 2019
Black Cattt is a Tattoo Artist based in China. She has been a popular Hip Hop Dancer, toured as Rock Band Vocalist, a photo studio Make-up Artist and now works internationally inking Skin Art. Street Style Planet Earth caught up with her in Beijing.
Having moved from Shenyang in North East China only one year ago, Black Cattt is already making a name for herself in Beijing’s competitive tattoo scene. In 2011 she graduated from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts and with a strong will and adventurous spirit of freedom and has enjoyed widespread creative success before taking up the needle.
“I had many dreams about a career in Art. I love music, singing and dancing. I started a hip hop dance club and got a lot of fans whilst at University. I was also the lead singer in a rock band. We toured 21 Chinese cities in 28 days. That was a tough yet unforgettable experience.
“One day a friend wanted to get a tattoo and asked me to go with her. I found it a very free and creative way of working. It seemed relevant to my creative spirit and I wanted to know more.”
“The person that helped me to become a professional tattooist was my first teacher. He convinced me that I had the talent and potential to tattoo, and encouraged me to take it up seriously and within a year I was tattooing professionally and making money.” Things moved quickly for Black Cattt and she soon had her own studio.
“I soon realised that all my time was being taken up with administration and management tasks when I wanted to put all my energy into my tattooing. I was never really content with my performance always telling myself I can do better! But Beijing is a magical city and every now and then it can throw up surprises and opportunities.”
“My old schoolmate has her own studio in town and she invited me to work with her. She has more power and passion for tattooing than anyone I’ve witnessed. She is very independent, positive and loves sharing. She’s become so inspirational to me and I’ve learnt so much from her.”
Black Kattt has tattooed across Asia and in October will be taking up her second residency in London. Street Style Planet Earth asked her about being a female tattooist in China.
What was your 1st tattoo?
It was a gift from my teacher on my back. There is an eye, a peace logo, and galaxy in a triangle. I don’t hate it but it took up a good part of my body.
What was the 1st tattoo you gave someone?
A simple one. Just some numbers, I was very calm and the result seemed professional to me, haha.
What do you do for fun when you are not tattooing?
Sometimes I go to gigs to see bands. I like to sing at Karaoke with friends. That relaxes me and also gets me feeling so high! I don’t like go to clubs or bars. I always think wherever you go is not important, the key point is who you go with!
What kind of music do you like?
I love all kinds of music if the melody gets me going. Emo-core is my favourite right now.
How would you describe your personal dress style?
I can’t say it’s one particular thing. I like a mix of Rock, Street and Vintage.
How would you describe your tattooing style?
I found my personal style after a few years but it was hard. You must make money so I did all kinds of styles at first. Now I make it sure it’s just my style! It is Dark Neo-Traditional. Cool and dark stuff with smooth lines and beautiful colour. There’s a piece of my work above Al’s left elbow!
What do you think of the general street style in China?
Most young people in China don’t have style. They like to copy pop stars. They don’t know themselves and don’t know how to experiment to develop their own style. Copying is a big thing.
How do people react to your style?
Different countries have different cultures. I think Fashion Kids are not accepted by most people in China. They just think we look so weird. Conversely, I am very popular in Europe and the US. When I am walking on the street people always come and say “Wow nice tattoo or cool style!”
Has the attitude to tattooing in China changed much as China has grown economically?
It’s become more and more accepted in recent years. Girls are getting more tattooed than boys! Many girls want to be tattooists in China, now too. I just want to tell them it is not as easy as they think. You must love it truly and have enough patience. Getting a small tattoo is normal now.
But if you have many like me, people can be afraid of you and treat you like a bad girl who is always drunk and has sex with all the boys. It can be very hard to find your Mr Right! Tattoos are far from accepted by all corners of Chinese society though, so you should still think about it before you get one but please remember it is your own life! Just be yourself.
Black Cattt will be at the London Tattoo Convention with her team and work at No Regrets Tattoo Shop from 1-5 October. She still has a few spare slots available. Next stop will be the Hong Kong and Taiwan Tattoo conventions.
All photos by Al de Perez for Street Style Planet Earth
Shot on location in Beijing, China.
Words & Photos by Al de Perez
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