Inking In Dongguan

lotus ink, founded by yoyo zhong, is a brand which embodies style, self-care and tattoo culture. Yoyo’s studios are the foundations for ultimate transformation in the way visitors look, feel and understand tattoo art.

Lotus Ink tattoo studio situated in Shenzhen recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Elated with her accomplishment, Yoyo Zhong also branched out to Dongguan around three months ago with a second studio, located at 33 Town opposite Dynacity. Lotus Ink is gradually seeing more clientele in Dongguan and currently presents no obvious difference to the clientele in Shenzhen, however, it’s still early days yet. Yoyo’s customers come to her either purely for cosmetic purposes, to modify or cover up a tattoo done elsewhere, for a meaningful imprint on their body or to cover up scars.

Yoyo explained during our conversation how it took eight years to get to where she is now, in terms of success, her following and just in general with understanding what it really means to be a good tattoo artist. After lots of dedication, the tattooist earned herself awards in international competitions, including one for “best color.” It was evident why when I saw some of her best work in photo form. She commented, “Any person wanting to start out as a tattooist needs to be aware that it takes more dedication and time than simply starting out at home on your own and becoming instantly successful. You have to be able to draw. If you have no design experience or skill, practice every day. Spend time focusing on one particular area, such as lines or text. You also need a good teacher to work with you, so you can learn and understand all of the essential things of working on people’s bodies and the importance of aftercare.”

“Any person wanting to start out as a tattooist needs to be aware that it takes more dedication and time than simply starting out at home”

“I first went abroad to England when I was 12, and so I have a sense of international-mindedness. It’s difficult but I think it’s important for others to open up to this too,” Yoyo explained. One of the key elements that sets Lotus Ink apart from many other brands and studios is the rich emphasis on tattoo culture. Due to preconceived stigmas with regards to tattooing in Chinese culture (and others), a wide range of people have certain opinions on something which, frankly, is artwork on skin, and Lotus Ink aims to educate on the truth behind tattooing.

Yoyo’s bar sits in the same building as her Shenzhen studio and just like her studio, the bar is stylish and edgy, a true mirror image of her personality. While incorporating the quintessential components of tattoo culture, her studio is complemented by the bar where relevant videos can be watched, and cocktails are made uniquely with ingredients and concepts that symbolize various parts of tattoo and art history.

Unexpectedly, Yoyo commented on her experience in freediving, which involves underwater diving without any breathing apparatus. “I used to be in the sea very often and I just feel at home there. I have been teaching my husband freediving for some time now, he can last underwater for about 30 seconds!” She laughed. As it turns out, Yoyo can hold her breath while freediving for over four minutes. As a result of her passion, she introduced a new “water scooter” coined under her brand “LeFeet,” as a means for people to enjoy the ocean in a more carefree way. This, along with her studios and bars, demonstrates how the tattoo artist effortlessly encapsulates everything she loves and wants to share with others.

Yoyo shared with me several truly heartwarming and fascinating stories about some of her customers. She has had the pleasure of connecting with some inspiring people. Amusingly, one family was receiving tattoos from her without even knowing that they were all visiting the same studio. Another customer had experienced the terrible sudden loss of his fiancée and could not accept the circumstances. He was a regular customer, getting tattoos in her memory and visiting the bar, until one day he stopped visiting. Yoyo believes that it was at this point he began to accept and move on. She hopes to document her encounters and the dynamic events which take place in her studios to unravel her many stories to the world. Keep a lookout and until then, if you fancy getting inked up, get in touch!