Tattoos Ideas

Interview with tattoo artist Fan Wu – Things&Ink


New York based anime tattoo artist Fan Wu tells us about her journey into becoming a tattoo artist and how her love for anime inspires everything she does…

What inspired you to become a tattoo artist and how did you become one? I really love drawing, have done since I was a kid. I’m introverted so I spent most of my time drawing. My major was printmaking in college, which is similar to tattooing as it’s a handmade process. Now I’m drawing on the skin instead of on the paper.

I was so curious about the tattoo process, that at first I started to learn it by myself. The more I got to know about the tattoo world the deeper I fell in love with it. I could, and still can, see lots of different styles and techniques from all over the world. So, I transformed into a tattoo artist instead of a printmaker, after I finished a tattoo apprenticeship.

How long have you been tattooing? Have you always worked in New York? I’ve been tattooing for almost four years now. I started to learn to tattoo when I was in college in Philadelphia. I used to tattoo on myself and my friends to practice, after graduation, I moved to New York and started my real tattooing life.

What inspires your work? What is it about anime that made you want to make it your signature style? I think what inspires my work the most is anime, florals, geometry, and galaxy patterns. I remember during my childhood the main thing I was doing was drawing and watching anime. The anime world is full of magic, craziness, and imagination. I’m always impressed by the characters and the stories. It’s so real, but it’s also not real.

Every time I watch anime I’m encouraged and touched by the spirits of the characters. I can tell how the author wants to express himself to the human world, and that’s the most important and impressive part to me. It’s just so amazing! So, I want to create more anime designs and custom pieces related to anime. Like the authors of the anime I love, I want to show people, who also love anime, the view I can see. I want to express my feelings through anime pieces.

How would you describe your work? Have you always tattooed like this? What drew you to this type of tattooing? My work is all fine line style. When I was an apprentice, I started to learn fine line style. It suited me as I really enjoy doing details and I love to spend time practising thin line. I worked as a printmaker for a while after graduating. Printmaking requires lots of detailed hand drawing and similar techniques, so I transferred these to tattooing. 

Can you tell us about the process behind your tattooing? I like to play my favourite music playlist before I draw., as songs inspire me too. Whenever I get a strong inspiration, I will start the sketch immediately. If I decide to finish a drawing, no matter how late it is, I will finish it.

What do you love to tattoo and what would you like to do more of? I love to do anime work the most. I also like to do custom pieces, like animal portraits, florals, and things that are meaningful to my clients. But I will say anime work is my favourite. I think I will try more coloured work in the future.

Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Are you a tattoo collector? Yes I am a tattoo collector! I’ve done loads of guest spots in different cities and I’ve met lots of amazing tattoo artists. I’ve been so impressed by all the different styles and the artists’ flash work, that I love to collect flash pieces from different artists that I like. I also like to draw the design myself and find the right tattoo artist to do it on my body.

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