If you have ever watched Miami Ink on the TLC channel or YouTube, then you will know what to expect from China Ink. On a par with the Miami Beach parlour, services (and studio design) at China Ink are certainly above board. Having already been proved a massive hit in Suzhou, along with Shanghai and Guangzhou, China Ink last year finally made its way to Nanjing.
First impressions revealed a high standard of cleanliness and professionalism; the parlour’s “hazardous room”, which we assumed was for used needles or piercing tools, added to our feeling of sanitised safety. All ink and equipment is imported from overseas and staff remained hygienic at all times. TVs above our heads (presumably to help with boredom if the tattoo were to take a long time) played Bollywood movies, while a group of young Chinese mingled in the communal living area, selecting tattoo designs for themselves while laughing and joking with each other.
“This is my first tattoo. I’m getting my daughters name. This place seems the best in Nanjing, so I trust it”, one of them told us as they waited. “I’ve got a few, this time I’m going to get a deer; it represents my wife and our marriage”, another said, while toking on his cigarette and watching his friend getting inked.
Putting the specialists to the test, we drew our own design, which they were required to blend with an existing one we had found on the Internet. Armed with this (and super excited), we gave it to our assigned artist, Neven.
Fitted out with the most up-to-date technology for designing, printing and preparing the tat, Neven began by merging the two designs together with Photoshop; he then printed it and set about tracing and sketching. Keeping a sharp eye on his work, we had confidence he was on the right track, while he added his own creative input. His patience and understanding was what we needed in order to feel satisfied.
Preparations took approximately an hour and a half; when we wished for certain parts of the design altered or moved around, he obliged, happily re-printing it for us about five times! After everyone was satisfied with the design, he traced it on and we were ready to go.
Having tried and tested a few Nanjing artists previously, we were rather impressed with the tattoo we got at China Ink, immediately noticing the fine definition. However, attention to detail was at times unheeded; as the tattoo began to dry we noticed mistakes with the work; intricate parts of the design missing or placed incorrectly. With the amount of time that was spent preparing the design, we were disappointed to see mistakes in it afterward. Nevertheless, as far as tattoo art goes in Nanjing, China Ink should not be missed.
Interestingly, China Ink is to be found in the main Lucky Square Mall, as part of a new development that sits off Yunjin Lu in Jianye district. Most comfortably accessible via a shared car, taxi or metro, the tattoo parlour is surrounded by upmarket restaurants and cafés.
CHINA INK TATTOO is located at B15, B1F, Lucky Square, 169 Yunjin Lu 建邺区云锦路169号乐基广场B1层. Tel: 87750906.