Building on the idea that tattoo artists who have a design background tend to look at their work differently is Jojie Atomick. It’s not his real surname; no, but for Jojie, it’s one of his “artist tags” in a sense.
Jojie has always been involved with art.
In secondary school, he shared that he was so bad at mathematics that his teacher gave up and stopped bothering him when he would just doodle during lessons. His inspiration first came from graphic novels and comic books, before he took an interest in skateboarding. Heading to skate parks and reading skate magazines inspired him to pick up street art (or graffiti as the public still calls it), a practice that has seen him commissioned to do murals, cafes and even Zouk parties back in the day.
His entry into tattooing only came four years ago after he left his job as an art gallery co-ordinator. “I graduated from La Salle and worked as an exhibition coordinator. It got very mundane because you’re no longer creating, you’re just part of the process,” he shared.
His girlfriend at the time was a tattoo artist and he spent a lot of time at her studio and was well-versed with the world of ink. One thing led to another and he started on a new medium that would lead him to where he is, tattooing at Imagine Playbook, a collective of artists led by Ael Lim, one of Singapore’s most well-known modern artists.
“I was very drawn to Ael’s way of art. I learnt fine art and the way Ael approaches his designs was something I understood and wanted to learn from,” he explained. Jojie’s inspiration these days comes from the people he works around. “I come into Imagine and every artist here is just pushing boundaries and doing cool things,” he says. Jojie still does mural work and street art, sharing that it’s another form of inspiration, albeit one that stays in that medium, explaining that his two styles don’t quite blend into each other.
We ask if there’s a difference between design- and arts-trained artists. He laughs. “I think it’s a progression for artists. Like at La Salle, you go through different mediums. Skin is like the ultimate medium and some of the people here (at Imagine) have been illustrators or artists for years. They just want to push themselves differently.”
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