Joleen is a tattoo lover from Singapore, and her blackout tattooed chest pic has been all around the world. I interviewed her for my blog because I wanted to know more, and also because I don’t believe in ‘tattoo trends’.
Here is what she told me…

What first drew your attention to tattoo art?
Back in 2009, where tattoos in Singapore weren’t that rare, I always envied people with tattoos. One day, my elder sister decided to get a big piece tattooed, a peacock on her back that linked with peonies on her stomach. I accompanied her throughout her few tattoo sessions.. Slowly I started looking out for more tattoos over the Internet. Eventually, after a few months, I got my first tattoo on my upper back. A black and grey butterfly. Slowly I started adding more to my back piece and it’s now an incomplete full back. I have always been inspired by those heavily tattooed bodysuit Japanese art.

How is the tattoo community seen in Singapore?
Tattoo society in Singapore is not that advanced, and tattoed people are not well accepted. I was in the beauty industry, I’ve tried applying for a few cosmetic companies and they all rejected me because of my heavily tattooed body.

Which artists did you get tattooed by?
I’ve a few favourite artists here in Singapore. My blackout chest piece, black arm and mandala legs were done by Chester Lee from Oracle Tattoo. My other sleeve, the colourful one, was almost completely done by Weifong Daniel from Red Sun Tattoo. The tattoo on my stomach is a dragon (as many of you were guessing) and it was done by Monster Inks 2 years ago, but it’s still not finished (left with about 2/3 sessions). My back piece was added on by my ex boyfriend, Joe Sam.
I am happy with how my tattoos look now, even if suddenly I realize I do not have much skin left on my upper body! I do miss my skin sometimes but I love the way I am now.

Ilaria Pauletti interviews Joleen, blackout tattoo lover

How did you come out with the idea of getting your chest covered up in black?
I’ve always been looking into black work tattoos because I find them unique and my favorite colour has always been black. After getting my black arm done, I came across this photo of a completely blacked out half chest. The first thing that came to my mind was ‘Yes I could get something like this!’ Then I covered my old tattoos, and not because I didn’t like them anymore, but because I just wanted to go for something totally different. I was sure about it when I began and I know 20 years down the road I will still love my tattoos!

What is pushing you to go on with your black tattoo journey? I read that ‘blackout tattoos’ are the latest trend, but what is your opinion? Is it good to say tattoos are a trend, when they actually stay on us forever?
Recently many people have been posting blackout tattoos as a “trend”, I wouldn’t say it’s a trend. I’m sure they did it only because they liked it and it looks good. I did my black arm when blackout tattoos were not that popular as they are now…

I think people shouldn’t do it for the sake of being trendy or cool, unless you really wanted it and you will like it for life!

Who are your inspirations? Do you have any role model?
My role model is my father because he is a very strong man and no matter if something bad happens: he would never give up. He handled every issue life faced to him. He will never show his problems to anyone. I love him and I got inspired by him, a lot.

Is blackout tattoo the new trend?

What does your family think about your tattoo choices?
My dad wasn’t that open minded in the beginning, he didn’t like tattoos even before I got them. I’m happy that he has accepted me for who I am. Sometimes he even cracks jokes like “you don’t have to wear anything out, since you’re already wearing a shirt on your skin!” My mum was okay with that, she was the one who brought my elder sister to the tattoo shop first.

It’s always me after all. It’s nothing different, sometimes I even forget I have tattoos.

What do you think about nowadays tattoo society?
I think that tattoo society now is quite normal, and I slowly see more people getting tattooed in Singapore, it’s all getting quite ‘common’. I hope that one day blackout tattoos will be recognized for their own beauty all over the world.

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16 aprile 2016


After a botched sleeve where 3 parts were coloured wrong I was inspired by Joleen and others like here who have gone down the road of a blackout sleeve. I’ve got my first full day session today. I’ll be interested to see how far we can get in 7 hours

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