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The Magic of Fine Line Tattooing: An Interview with Artist Jing Yue

Expressing Identity through Tattoos: Fine Line Tattoo Designer Extremely Detailed and Impactful.

Jing has received traditional art education from both the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Zurich University of the Arts. Her expertise lies in the art of tattooing, where she intends to create magic on people’s skin. Jing specializes in fine-line and elegant yet subtle colorwork. Fine line tattooing involves creating thin, delicate, and intricate designs on the skin, resembling fine artwork, abstract elements, or paintings using black and grey and color tattoo ink. This style of tattooing requires exceptional skill and precision as there is little room for error. Jing’s work is beautiful in its complexity, and she takes the time to design unique and personalized tattoos for each client. She is not only a gifted artist but also a wonderful person who views tattooing as a way to connect the self with the body and promote healing for the spirit.

This interview first appeared in Planet China Vol 15, March 2023
Official Site | Instagram

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Jing and I’m a tattoo artist located in the Arts District of Los Angeles. I have two adorable cats, and a few things I love are: traditional Chinese painting, Chinese calligraphy, and travelling!

Do you remember the first time you saw a tattoo that piqued your interest? What drew you to tattooing and how did you get started?

There is an artist I came across on social media whose name is Rit (@rit.kit.tattoo on Instagram if you want to take a look). I saw a video of her using real flowers and leaves for the tattoo stencils and placements on the body, and I was so inspired. I started out tattooing as a hobby because I thought it would have been cool to introduce myself with that fun fact. Can you imagine? Being in school and when you have to introduce yourself to others, normally people say things like painting, drawing, or reading, but I thought it would be interesting to say “I tattoo people for fun.” I didn’t end up going to graduate school, but I did pursue a traditional apprenticeship and then quickly finished my apprenticeship in a few months. I’m so grateful I always had clients from the beginning and with the help of Instagram, the social media app really helped me expand my career and clientele as my designs and work piqued many people’s interest constantly.

Jing Yue tattoo artist

How long have you been in the tattoo industry? Can you tell us about your beginning? As a woman in this industry, did you face any challenges?

I’ve been in the tattoo industry for 4 years now. I started doing thin, fine line tattoos first and I fell in love with it. It’s a bit hard as a woman in the tattoo industry, and out of the four years, I’ve faced two big challenges. The first one was when I was a guest artist working at a traditional tattoo shop. While I was working there, I felt like they didn’t accept fine line tattoo work so that discouraged me a bit, but now wherever I guest work I don’t have that feeling anymore. The second challenge I faced in this industry was working late hours. In general it’s scary to be outside at night alone, especially as a woman, and the same applies to when I have to work late. Most of the time, I have my studio manager with me when I’m doing late night sessions so I feel safe, but it’s the times where I’m by myself that I get a little scared and unsafe. My studio is tucked away in a private building so no one can access the location freely, but sometimes you just never know what can happen. With all of the crime and incidents happening lately in Los Angeles, you can never truly shake off that scared feeling and always need to be on guard if anything happens. However, if I put the challenges aside, one of my favourite things about being a woman in the industry is my sensitivity and having a gentle heart. I feel like having these two qualities enhance my work ethic in a way that I can feel and sense what my clients are looking for in their ideas and provide them with a design that speaks to them – and only for them.

Jing Yue tattoo artist

Do you remember the first person you tattooed? What did you draw and create?

It’s kind of a funny interaction really. I was at a gym class I used to go to and while I was waiting in line to check into the building, there was a girl waiting in front of me to do the same thing. I went up to her and told her I was an apprentice at a tattoo shop and asked if she wanted a free tattoo, and she agreed! I drew a fine line tattoo of Madonna for her.

What about the first tattoo on your own skin? What do tattoos represent to you? What do you love most about your job?

My first tattoo is a moon because my name means peaceful moon in Chinese! In addition to the meaning, I also heard a saying, “Be the moon and inspire people, even when you’re far from full.” After hearing this, I realised this resonates with me deeply and I aspire to be this type of person. This type of person is someone who heals others. Most of the time, people get a tattoo not just for a design on their skin, but for their soul – with the intent of a deep meaning. When clients reach out to book a session, they’re getting a tattoo to heal themselves and at the same time, I’m also healing and uplifting my soul and energy as they felt connected to reach out to me for a tattoo.

Jing Yue tattoo artist

How much do you think tattoos are a private thing, and how much are they a public thing, to show to others?

I think it’s half and half. I have clients who do it in private locations, such as the ribcage or on their backs, others have placements on more noticeable parts like their forearms. Both are good in their own way and I encourage everyone to get a tattoo where they feel most comfortable with!

Jing Yue tattoo artist

Is there a difference in tattoo culture in Asia and the West, in your opinion? How is the tattoo scene in Los Angeles?

Yes, most definitely. In Asia, most people hide their tattoos from their families or from the public eye as some think tattoos relate to gangs. It’s an old saying and correlation that I think everyone is aware of, but it still stands today in some countries. The tattoo scene in the west, especially in Los Angeles, is a bit different. In my opinion, I think tattoos in the West are considered high fashion. A lot of people get tattoos not only for their story, but to also show their personality. There’s so many different types of styles and specialisations tattoo artists do here, and a lot of people find an artist that fits their vibe. I like to think the type of style and design someone gets shows who they are in an art form.

Jing Yue tattoo artist

Do you believe social media has altered the tattoo industry or introduced new trends? Do social influences contribute to the spread of tattoos, making them more popular?

Yes, of course! Tattoo artists nowadays can’t just tattoo their work and be done, but sometimes they need to be a content creator if that makes sense. They need to make short videos or clips to showcase their work, but to also entice others to gain more followers and clientele, which to me is both good and bad. Good in the aspect of growing your audience, clients, and work portfolio, but also bad because you can be so consumed in making the perfect video or clip that you lose yourself in trying to please others. I most definitely think social influences contribute to the spread of tattoos to make them more popular. I think people love to follow new and trendy things, especially when someone famous is the one who starts it, so I always tell my clients to get a tattoo that they would actually like to get. Not to get a tattoo to fit in with the current trend(s) or receive approval and be liked by others.

Jing Yue tattoo artist

Can you share with us any meaningful story behind your work?

I recently tattooed two women that were adopted from China. As a Chinese woman born in a small town, I understand how hard it is to be a girl in China due to Chinese history and laws and preferences that are still followed today. I was incredibly grateful to meet these two women. It was so inspiring to hear their stories and how they’re still honoured to get their Chinese culture and history tattooed onto them permanently. I was so happy to help them heal their hearts and create a design that meant so much to them, and I’m still absolutely honoured they trusted me to make their lifetime pieces for them.

Photo courtesy of Jing Yue

Last Updated on 2023/03/28

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