Charles Junitra has an ink-teresting story

Charles is only 21 and already an established tattoo artist in Singapore

Today we caught up with Charles Junitra, resident tattoo artist of local top studio Skin Label Tattoo Studio.

At 21, Charles is considered one of Singapore’s youngest tattoo artists. We find out the story behind the passion, the taboo that tattooed people face in Singapore and some very interesting stories about his clients.

Charles is only 21 and already an established tattoo artist in Singapore
Charles stresses that skin art shouldn’t be a form of gangsterism and we wholeheartedly agree

So Charles, what got you interested in tattoos?

When I was 14, I would join my friends when they go for their respective tattoo sessions. I discovered I had a passion for it and started exploring the different categories of tattoos – what attracted me the most was oriental art. I started sketching designs by hand.

I managed to import in a home-tattoo machine when I was 16. I begun to start working on tattoos professionally, eventually offering to tattoo my friends when they asked. The first thing I ever tattooed on anyone was a demon face.

We love Skin Label’s trademark Chinese seal at the side, can you spot it?

Ah I wish I could’ve seen it! Was it smooth sailing for you from there?

Not really. I was facing severe disapproval from my dad regarding this passion and so while I stopped working on tattoos, I started getting them instead! Eventually I managed to secure an apprenticeship with top tattoo artist Sam Weiming and after six months of apprenticeship, my career finally started.

Their studio, tucked inside Sunshine Plaza, sees a regular flow of customers everyday
We love the colorful studio – major love for the top 3 portraits at the center-left of this photo

Sounds exciting! Now we are curious – what is the strangest tattoo you have ever done for anyone?

Well, I had a friend who got me to tattoo his and his girlfriend’s name along with the infinity sign symbol on his wrist.

Our writer's lousy attempt at recreating the tattoo
Our writer’s lousy attempt at recreating the tattoo

It was a pretty small tattoo so we did it and I thought that’s that. But two weeks later, he called me asking for a second appointment, saying that him and his girlfriend broke up so he wants to cover it up. Within two weeks!

That is longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage at least! How old is your oldest client?

My oldest client is 61 years old! I got to know him when I was a home-based tattoo artist. He begun putting some on his left arm and chest first and now we are working on his right arm and chest. I can tell it actually is really painful for him, but he just grits his teeth and bears through it because he really loves his art.

Charles' mentor, Sam,
Sam Weiming’s tattoo on Charles was the first of his Marvel series

Man I wish I could have met him. Our final question: would you ever let your son get a tattoo and if you do, would you want to do it yourself?

Yes I would let him. I know how tough parental disapproval is from previous experience with my dad and I don’t want to repeat that on my son. And yes I would want to put it for him because if he wants to get a tattoo, I will guarantee he gets only the best.

By Nicole Lee