Right from the 1st grade, Trung Tadashi knew how to start sketching his initial sketches thanks to the guidance of… mama. Few people would have guessed that the small woman who embroidered and sewed for the family all year round was the first excellent teacher to give him wings to dream. Graduating from Tran Phu High School (Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City), he had a long time to work in Japan for cooperation. Since then, the types of tattoos in the culture of the land of the rising sun: Samurai, Geisha, koi fish, Hannya, cherry blossoms, white cranes… and in Asian culture in general, suddenly seeped into the blood and continued to indulge in his works.
Trung Tadashi’s real name is Tran Nhat Trung. Because he has Japanese foster parents, he chose for himself the stage name Trung Tadashi. In 2012, after graduating from Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts, he started building an artistic tattoo brand called Tadashi Tattoo and achieved the first successes in his career when he joined the Vietnam Tattoo Convention 2013, together with the Vietnam Tattoo Convention. tattoo artists of Vietnam, China, Thailand, USA, Germany…
What was the reason that created a “turning point” in his thoughts so that from being a sketch artist, he came to the art of tattooing and was passionate about composing in front of many prejudices of society at that time that had not yet been removed? open like now?
In the 2000s, when it came to tattoos, people were still very reserved. At that time, I accidentally watched a Hong Kong movie, about a girl who opened a small tattoo shop only 4 m2 work very well. Every customer who comes to her for advice on tattoo art makes me understand: Tattoos are not bad, if we know how to make them beautiful.
Learning more through history, I discovered that contrary to what many people think, tattoos are just a spontaneous hobby of young people or just a form of decoration of the gypsy world. In fact, tattooing originates from ancient times and has many good cultural meanings: fishermen tattoo to disguise themselves as water tribes convenient for fishing, soldiers tattoo the king’s sign to mark the army. of the dynasty. When our country was called Van Lang, fishing people were often harassed by Giao Long. King Hung believes that we are a mountain people, not an underwater dragon, if we know how to dress up as an underwater dragon to look like a descendant of the Dragon King, Giao Long will not cause problems anymore. The king ordered the people to get tattooed colors on their bodies and dress up like dragons to facilitate fishing. Continuing the custom of the ancient Vietnamese, the custom of tattooing continued to develop strongly in the Ly – Tran dynasties. Especially in the Tran dynasty, from kings to mandarins, everyone liked to have tattoos on their bodies. This custom has shown the contemporaries’ interest in the art of tattooing, considering it as part of the cultural beauty of the Vietnamese nation.
Since then, I am so passionate about tattoos, I borrowed money from my family to buy a machine to tinker with, self-study, invite you to my house to make free samples, and then decide to live and die with this traditional art form.
“Thousands of difficult beginnings”, surely the process of starting a business for him also encountered many difficulties when everything was still too new. Why do you like to show the subject of dragons in your works, while this mascot is not easy to tattoo art?
Back then, the internet didn’t have many interactive multimedia channels, so I just went to Yahoo!360 to introduce it. Luckily, the guys at the very famous ABC dance company were the first customers at that time, and then one person introduced the other, so… I’m “continuously growing” up to now.
My personality is very strange, other people want to have easy things to do, and I expect all “hard cases”. The most complex art tattoo is the dragon with too many details, which I like. Along with the phoenix, the dragon is one of the most important symbols of Asian culture, a symbol of royal power and represents good fortune. Asian dragon tattoo is also one of the most chosen tattoo categories based on special meanings. To make a beautiful dragon tattoo, the artist must really understand Asian culture, show the brave and noble spirit of the dragon in the works, as well as have a lot of experience in the work.
Dragon tattoo by artist Trung Tadashi
Speaking of dragons, since middle school, looking at the decals I’ve tried to draw, I’m quite familiar with them. However, for tattoo art, you must add a lot of other details: scales, horns, legs … combined so that it is reasonable and flexible. In order to meticulously show the dragon’s legs, I carefully studied the legs of crocodiles, chickens, birds… When the front legs of the dragon spread out, the hind legs just finished folding and folded in a resting state, beautifully arranged is not simple. simple. In particular, these works are performed by freehand technique – hand-painted directly on the skin – must embrace all the muscles on the body, must describe the vivid appearance of the dragon. Because I’m quite a perfectionist, everything must be very sophisticated, so in the past, it took me 5 hours to complete the tattoo work with A4 paper, now it takes me 7-8 hours to complete.
In addition to dragon tattoo forte and feng shui works of four spirits with Asian style such as phoenix, unicorn, turtle, how does the fish tattoo bear Trung Tadashi’s personal imprint?
In fact, the carp tattoo or the dragon carp tattoo has the meaning of bringing good luck. Because the carp itself is a symbol of luck, and the dragon is a symbol of nobility and authority. The carp turning into a dragon is depicted in artworks with the shape of a dragon’s head and fish body, which is loved by many people because of its special feng shui meaning: talent, effort and a little luck to create it. so miracles.
The fish looks so simple, but it’s very difficult to draw. When I started to draw any fish, I went to the big lake to go back and forth to watch them all day, see how the carp eat their bait, how the koi fish swim and breathe. The ripples of water when the schools of fish pass by are alive with my body, I like to “scan” all of it in my head, then take a camera to take pictures of the surrounding details, and when I draw, the work will have a soul.
Have you ever had a passionate project at Son Doong cave (Quang Binh) to promote the image of Vietnam through tattoo art to the world?
The scenery of our country is very beautiful and the people of Vietnam are extremely hospitable, so it is not from now that I have tattooed a lot on this subject and it is very popular with foreign tourists. Famous landscapes and landmarks: Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh), One Pillar Pagoda (Hanoi), Tomb of Kings (Hue), Phong Nha Cave (Quang Binh), Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral (HCMC) is always present in my works.
When the largest cave on the planet and also the most majestic cave in Vietnam, Son Doong, was discovered, I wished to go there once and stand in front of the magnificent space of nature to perform the most unique work, which perhaps no tattooist in the world is lucky enough to do if not Vietnamese. However, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as waiting in line for 1-2 years, I had to wait for the service provider to arrange the nearest suitable time.
Artist Trung Tadashi sketches Ben Thanh market and shakes hands and executes
It is said that he has “abundant” joy recently. So if you were given a wish that you wanted to fulfill right away, what would you do?
I have… 4 events that have marked my life in recent times is the organization of the first solo tattoo art exhibition at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association. Next is the joy of becoming a new member of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association. In March of this year, it set a new record of Vietnam and launched a new work The fascination from tattoo art (Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House published). I am extremely happy that my initial artistic creations have been recognized.
If I had one wish I had to make it right away? How urgent? If so, I will open a vocational school for disadvantaged children. During my time living in Japan, I find that your country has a very humane gesture that each company often sponsors one or several people with disabilities, ensuring they have a suitable job that they love to have a stable salary. Children with physical disabilities often have a fear of being hurt, and finding a job is also difficult, so I plan to save some money soon to fulfill this wish. Thereby, I can mentor and guide them to learn the profession that I am doing. In the past time, many disabled people who have been helped by me have overcome their fate and become successful.