While I’ve tried my hand (and am fairly decent) at crafting mediums like pottery, jesmonite, clay, and resin, I would never in a million years dream of etching something permanent onto someone else’s skin — it’s just too much responsibility for lil ol’ me. Lucky for State of Shiok, we’ll no longer be left wondering how we’d actually fare as potential tattoo artists. The first of its kind in Singapore, and in fact second in the world only to a bar in America, here’s where you’ll get to get a glimpse of the art of tattooing (sans the years of training that apprentices undergo, of course).
Cosy, vibey space
The idea of setting up a pseudo tattooing workshop was loosely inspired by co-founder Desmond’s tattoo artist girlfriend, and his desire to provide a never-before-seen service in crafts scene.
The emphasis on making visitors feel as at home as possible is evident from the way the space is cosily decorated — large throw pillows, plush couches, and a gorgeous mural spanning the full length of a feature wall. It’s here where you’ll be able to let your hair down, get creative, and get comfortable.
Fully-equipped work stations
The space seats two groups of four participants, and each station comes fully-equipped with all you could possibly need for the next three hours. This includes high-grade ink that’s suitable for use on human skin — but of course, don’t go tattooing yourselves now, not in this non-sterile environment, nor economy.
You’ll be provided with two wells of ink, one filled with black ink for your outlines, and the other with diluted grey ink for lighter shading purposes. Either one of the two co-founders — Desmond or Jerome — will walk you through setting up your needles. But before jumping into the tattooing bit, though, you’ll get to pick out stencils of various designs to fit into your “human skin” piece, and there’s no limit to how many designs you can pick out so long as they all fit snugly.
Tattooing fake “human skin”
Much like a potter’s wheel, the tattoo pen is controlled by a pedal located by your foot, so to everyone who was banking on the fact that tattooing didn’t require hand-leg coordination, you’re so very wrong. However, you’re almost certain to get the hang of it swiftly and easily enough.
Of course, the “human skin” really is silicone, but it’s cool to think that it mimics the way that actual human skin takes up ink. Also, you’ll get to run free without the fear of consequences such as ruining someone’s life forever, so that’s always an assuring thought.
Desmond demonstrates a few lines at a 45-degree angle to the silicone — going in too straight and too deep disrupts the motion of the needle, while going it too shallow will leave you with thready, faint lines. While the act of tattooing itself isn’t difficult, it’s controlling the pressure and motion that requires you to walk a fine balance.
Once you’re confident enough after practicing on a doodle pad, you can then move onto the real canvas that’s already printed with the stencil outlines of your choosing. This is the part of the workshop that’ll really let you exercise and perfect the skill you’ve just picked up. As you tattoo away, don’t forget the occasional wipe down of your piece because the canvas can get inky, and you’ll want clear visuals on where your needles are going before continuing.
You’ll get to go at your own relaxing pace over the course of the remaining two or so hours, and catch up with the company you’re attending the workshop with, too. At the end of the experience, you’ll get to frame up your finished work at an additional charge of S$10 per frame, and bag home your artwork to remember this day by.
Making my peace with needles
If I weren’t so utterly afraid of needles, you best believe that I’d be covered head to toe in tatts. But in getting personal with the very same needles used in tattooing and handling them for myself, it’s a process that allows me to make my own peace with needles and to experience the art form from the other side — the side of the pseudo artist, instead.
So if you’re up for some exposure therapy or just a cool date idea, State of Shiok is probably a good place to start.
Book your workshop slot here.
State of Shiok pseudo tattooing workshop
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📍 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, #03-69, Singapore 168976
🕒 11.30am–9.30pm (Daily, in 3 time slots per day at 11.30am, 3pm & 6.30pm)
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