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Visiting a Tattoo Master

Despite being interested in art and doing a bit of drawing myself I don't have any tattoos on my body. It just never appealed to me, visual art seems to be more suitable on paper, canvas, walls, etc., anything but skin. Over the years I've seen too many tattoos looking like faded stickers or people who got wild and had their whole body decorated with all kinds of pictures, whether actually fitting together or not...

But when I got the opportunity to visit a traditional tattoo master (Arjan) at his home studio, I couldn't resist of course.

Arjan Neng showing his tools of the trade; disposable needles and on the wall (right corner) traditional shafts, all used for making spiritual Sak Yant tattoos.

An impressive collection of religious statues and masks took up a large part of the room.

That morning there were 3 clients, all female, something I hadn't expected...

After paying respect the session started with the help of his assistant.

The hand-drawn sketch was already finished.

The inking part is a seriously painful experience, but the lady didn't make a sound.

The result - complete with some gold leaf underneath - looked impressive.

Before each session, there's a short ceremony in which Arjan asks the client the reasons for the desired tattoo.

The next client requested something different.

Here the design was 'stamped' on the skin, and the tattoo work done with colorless ink!

The final results are not visible but still provide the 'owner' spiritual protection...

The concept of an invisible tattoo was completely new to me but is especially in demand among local women.

Only towards the end of the morning I looked upward and noticed all the patterns and Thai numbers on the ceiling.

Here we are in the 21st century but the role of tattoos for spiritual protection/assistance through tattoos is still vibrant, and very impressive indeed! But I haven't changed my mind regarding a personal tattoo...

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