The modern popularity arc of tattoos is pretty much the same everywhere, with a few substitutions. They became big with a certain sub-culture, in the west with sailors and in East Asia with members of organized crime, and as a result were considered taboo in polite society. Then, little by little they started to creep into mainstream culture through the world of sports and entertainment.
Ningbo is no different, as over the last several years tattoos have become seriously in vogue.
“They’ve definitely become more acceptable,” says Mavis Qiu, one of J&M Tattoo’s partners. “You’re even seeing some of the older locals becoming more accepting of them, treating tattoos more as art and less of something associated with gangs and criminals. We’ve had parents bring their daughter in to get a tattoo and give lots of input on what to do and where to put it.”
Qiu, along with business partners and fellow awesome lady Jiajia, opened their shop this past winter in Ningbo’s funky, restored urban space Hefeng Creative Square after years of tattooing around the city.
“The Chinese name of our studio is Jian Tattoo,” explains Qiu. “The character “Jian” meant “exquisite paper for writing poetry” in ancient times. This reflects how we see our clients; every inch of skin is a precious thing and want to cover it with only the most beautiful, unique tattoos.”
Custom ink, says “Tattoo Mav”, is the lifeblood of J&M Tattoos.
“We don’t want to rush anything here, and we don’t want people to make a lifelong decision on impulse,” she says. “We want to work with our clients until we have a design that is exactly what they want in terms of the look and the meaning. If you’re putting something on your body forever, you don’t want to end up regretting it later. We also want to emphasize that when you get a tattoo from one of us, you’ll be the only person who will ever have that tattoo. We don’t reuse designs.”
According to these purveyors of ink and art, the relationship of tattoo artists and their clients is a sacred, and trusting one. While some tattooers are complacent to throw down some ink for a quick buck, the artists at J&M share a common goal of caring for their clients and their artwork.
“It’s not just about how the tattoo is applied,” says Qiu. “We’re also really concerned with how it heals up and how it’s taken care of. We touch up all of our work for free. We’d like to think that we don’t just have customers, we have friends who share a love for tattoos.”
J&M Tattoo is located in Hefeng Creative Square, which for all its awesomeness can be a little difficult to find. So we’ve provided you with a little map here. The shop only works on folks with appointments, so go ahead and make yours by calling 0574-89085960 or adding them on WeChat here: