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Tattoos, Emotions & Colors: Interview with Cici Cool

The Tattoo Artist Who Tells Stories And Emotions On The Skin With Her Colorful Compositions

Cici Cool is a talented tattoo artist from Nanjing. She was a game illustrator before getting into tattoos. She creates, with precision, personalized designs turning the client’s skin into incredible pieces of art. She plays with her realistic subjects by incorporating different elements from multiple styles such as new school, geometric, and watercolor, creating a fun and surreal collage of color where you can even see cartoons mixed with hyper-realistic images. Using several shades of each color, Cici Cool achieves the graphic effect that characterizes the new school, creating artwork tattoo that seam popped out from the page of a manga or street graffiti. Her perspectives that incorporate multiple elements can result in an effect similar to multi-dimensional achieving a certain distortion in the shapes without losing the concept. A characteristic of Cici Cool tattoos are highly detailed, bright and candy pop colors.

Cici Cool’s profile on Instagram

Related articles: 90+ Chinese Tattoo Symbols With Images And Meanings

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What made you want to become a professional tattooist? What do tattoos mean to you?

Hello everyone, my name is Cici Cool. I was originally a game concept artist, but working in that field meant collaborating with a team, where I found it difficult to fully express my own ideas and designs. However, as a tattoo artist, tattoos are more than just images on the body; they represent profound dialogue between people and art, serving as permanent imprints of personal stories and emotions, which brings me immense satisfaction.

Cici Cool’s tattoos blend the New School style, known for its bright, electrifying colors and extensive use of gradients, with essential shading techniques to create a wide range of tones

Can you recall the first time when you encountered a tattoo that caught your attention?

The first tattoo that left a deep impression on me was from an old Hong Kong film called ‘Comrades: Almost a Love Story’. There was a triad boss in the movie who had an ugly Mickey Mouse tattoo on his back—a seemingly fierce person with an adorable side to him.

What about the first tattoo on your skin? Are you a tattoo collector?

My first tattoo on my skin was a design of an all-seeing eye on my back. This tattoo marked the beginning of my transition from being a game concept artist to becoming a tattoo artist. Not only am I a collector of tattoos, but also a recorder of my art and journey.

How long have you been in the tattoo industry? Can you tell us about your beginning? And as a woman in this field, were there any obstacles you encountered?

I have been working in the tattoo industry for almost a decade now. Ten years ago, female tattoo artists were quite rare in China, and in this field, I faced numerous prejudices and challenges. Many believed that female tattooists relied on their gender rather than genuine skill, but through my passion for art and relentless efforts, I gradually gained recognition and respect.

Have your techniques changed since you started tattooing? Can you tell us about the kind of tattoos that you enjoy most to work on?

Since I started tattooing, my techniques have indeed evolved significantly, particularly in terms of detail work and color application. The type of tattoo work I most enjoy involves designing pieces that tell stories or express individual identities and sentiments, such as custom patterns or symbols with special meanings.

Do you remember the first person you tattooed? What did you tattoo?

I remember vividly the very first tattoo I gave someone—it was to a close friend, and I tattooed a small star on her. That experience was pivotal, marking the start of my career as a tattooist and teaching me the great responsibility that comes with leaving a permanent mark on someone else’s body.

Considering the diverse meanings tattoos have held across cultures and history—from symbols of group identity to expressions of personal freedom, with some of which are even diametrically opposed—how have you observed the evolution of people’s tastes in tattoos throughout your career?

I’ve observed in my career how people’s tastes in tattoos have evolved. Tattoos have shifted from traditional totems and symbols to personalized, custom designs, reflecting society’s growing appreciation for individuality and freedom.

Can you share some stories with us that touched you emotionally about someone who asked you for a tattoo?

There’s one story about a client who came to me for a tattoo that emotionally touched me deeply. A woman’s father passed away suddenly from a heart attack while on a business trip to Tibet. Both she and her mother were struggling with grief daily. The daughter chose to get a tattoo of a photograph taken on her wedding day when she hugged her father, placing it next to her heart. Her mother got a tattoo combining her father’s portrait with waves, as he loved fishing. During the process, the mother shared a poignant sentiment, saying, “He once promised to take me on a world tour after retirement; now let me carry him around the world.” Hearing these words, I was moved to tears. This experience underscored the emotional power behind tattoos and the importance of them as enduring memorials of love and memory.

Photos courtesy of Cici Cool

Last Updated on 2024/03/26

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