We are launching a series of interviews with like minded individuals that we admire, respect and simply enjoy being in the company of. “A day in the life of” hopes to give an insight into the minds and lifestyles of these individuals.
We spent a full day with tattoo artist Melvin Hoon aka Criminalmindd as he shares inspirations, daily rituals and future goals.
Bryan Teo: It was good to see you in Tokyo last year. How was the trip? Was it your first time to Tokyo?
Melvin Hoon: I have been to Tokyo before but it felt quite different this time round probably because it was a longer trip and I got to explore a lot more of Tokyo outside of 23 wards.
Darren Loke: Besides the usual areas such as Daikanyama and Shibuya, were there any areas or shops that were particularly interesting?
MH: It was good to visit Koenji for the first time. Many vintage stores that I have been following online are located in Koenji so being able to finally see them physically is always nice. Also when it comes to vintage objects, it’s always better to touch and feel before you decide to buy it.
BT: Yea there are quite a few treasures like SAFARI scattered around Koenji. What do you look for when it comes to clothing?
MH: I think when I was younger, it was more about a particular brand or designer but I guess as we get older, we tend to move away from this. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly into vintage or surplus but there seems to be more looseness to what you can and cannot do in that category. It’s similar to how I approach my designs nowadays as well.
DL: Do you usually get tattoos when you travel?
MH: On the previous trip I did visit a few studios but didn’t end up getting a tattoo. To be honest I rarely visit tattoo studios on my travels.
BT: Oh really. Why?
MH: I think in Japan it was mainly due to the language and being able to communicate. Unless I have an appointment already booked, it’s rather intimidating to just enter and start introducing myself. I guess it’s the same for most people when they enter a studio space.
BT: Are there any tattoo artists globally that you follow or respect?
MH: There are many tattoo artists that I follow but I can’t say that I would use the word respect. I feel that I may like their work but to respect somebody, I probably need to know the person and understand what drives him or her. If I were to get a large piece done on me, I probably would already have a relationship with the artist because the work holds so much more meaning.
DL: Did you get many stares during your trip in Japan?
MH: I didn't feel it at least, so I guess things are changing. I actually went to a public onsen and about 70 percent of the guests had tattoos so it didn't feel that awkward. The beauty of tattoos in Japan is that it's for oneself and not to be shown off. I prefer the idea of concealment.
DL: How long have you been tattooing?
MH: I’ve been tattooing for about 5 years now including my apprenticeship. But I don't believe that the number of years actually equate to how good an artist is. A person with more experience would probably understand the business better but not necessarily be successful. I know of artists who are 1 or 2 years in and already have a wait list.
BT: You have been pretty busy with your current reaper design. Tell us about that? How did that come about?
MH: Laughs... Yea it came about from just randomly sketching. I’m naturally drawn to darker work but I was finding a way to express it on a lighter note. The subject matter in my current work is still pretty dark but it's becoming somewhat acceptable. Most of my clientele used to be male but recently I get quite a good balance of male and female customers.
DL: Where do you draw your inspirations from?
MH: Music is one of my main inspirations. It could be the lyrics or the era from which the song or band was from.
BT: If your house was on fire, what are the 5 things you will take with you?
MH: Dog, ipad, bag, gloves, boots.
DL: I’m guessing we probably know which bag, gloves and boots they are.
MH: Laughs... and obviously my wallet.
DL: What are your next steps or future plans?
MH: I’m happy where I am right now and to be able to tattoo. Tattoos overseas in future could be a possibility and I am glad that this art form has no boundaries amongst different cultures. It's understood without any form of verbal communication so perhaps Hong Kong? Australia? New York? Who knows.
DL: What's on your playlist currently?
MH: The Cure, Nick Cave and Portishead.