Wayang Kulit Tatu is a tattoo shop started by Taco Joe and Julian Oh. Although the shop itself has been around for years, both of the founders have been collectively tattooing for more than a decade each. Currently, Wayang Kulit Tatu is a shop consisting of six tattooers - each with their own distinct strong and bold style. Today, we had the chance to talk with Julian Oh, one of the founders of the shop.
How did the idea of ‘Wayang Kulit Tatu’ first come about?
For the past six to seven years, Taco Joe and I have been travelling and tattooing in Europe. We have also done many conventions and guest spots togethers. While running our own private studios in our earlier years of travelling, we both felt strongly about working and starting a shop one day as we both shared the same visions and ideas. Since the idea for our shop came about whilst travelling abroad, we always felt that the name of the shop should be able to carry the identity of where we came from.
What was the biggest shift you’ve seen in the brand since it started?
We have always wanted to be a shop that puts out solid work, have amazing talent and provide the best environment for both tattooers and clients. That philosophy places us in a good head space into being a brand that is able to improve the industry. With all of that, we managed to educate and build great trust among our clientele so that they feel comfortable working with us. That must be a sign that we are doing something right.
What was an unexpected lesson you’ve learned from running your brand.
At the end of the day, we are running a business. As much as it is important for us to push out quality work and keep the creative aspects of our work fresh, we also had to learn how to manage the guys that work with us everyday. Sometimes, it can be challenging to captain a tight ship and we come across bad weather and rough seas but we have to always aspire to steer the course.
We have always wanted to be a shop that puts out solid work, have amazing talent and provide the best environment for both tattooers and clients.
How do you source the materials required to create your tattoos?
Basic stuff like inks, ink caps, general paraphernalia and daily consumables are pretty similar across the board. However, each tattooer uses their own choice of machines and needles that they prefer for their craft. Nowadays, we find most of what we need online just like the rest of the world.
In your opinion, what's the best project/product you’ve ever worked on?
One time, I had a client who had seen my work and liked what I did. So, he came for a consultation on a full sleeve depicting the battle of Normandy. Personally, I love thematic ideas like that which gives me a lot of room to bounce suggestions and work together with the client. It was always a two-way conversation where we try to marry the clients expectations and my aesthetic vision. That was a cool project for me as we both understood where each of us was coming from and the client really trusted the direction I was going for.
What do you hope to achieve with your brand?
We will always want to continue to keep our heads and push the good work we have done so far. As trends and style change according to the times, we are always on the lookout for fresh and interesting tattoo ideas for our clients. With all we have done, we wish to maintain the trust we have built in our clients and satisfy the demand of new clients who visit our shop.