Our August issue saw Yassi Pressman covered in dragons, koi, hearts wrapped in thorns and set ablaze, rendered with intricate linework and vibrant colors. The man we have to thank for that is Joe Saliendra, the brain behind Epic Tattoo Studio.
“I’ve been doing tattoos full time for almost 30 years now,” says Joe. With an academic background in mechanical engineering, Joe’s first instance of professionally foraying into the art world can be traced back to his stint in PhilCartoons, when he worked in animation. It’s been skin and needles for decades since. “Epic is only five years old, though it used to be ‘Tattoo at Joe’s’ in BF Homes for more than 10 years.”
The act of getting Yassi sleeved up was one of the trickier aspects of the process. The photos—courtesy of master lensman Mark Nicdao—were first printed out, while the tattoos were drawn over the photos on tracing paper. It was then just a matter of placing the illustrations digitally. While a little different from the way he does things, Joe admits that the process was a nice change of pace. “It’s easier for me, putting all the intricate details. In this case, no movements, no pain involved.”
The world of fine art at large, though striving for accessibility in its own ways, has always been accused of elitism, keeping itself to its ivory tower. Tattoos on the other hand, a legitimate art form in its own right, occupies a strange place in culture—being both accessible and stigmatized. Meaning, anybody can get a tattoo, but not everybody’s gonna get you for having a tattoo.
Despite this, Joe believes that sking art is being recognized, and will continue to gain recognition. “Para sa akin, tattoos are the ultimate form of artistic expression. It is the thin layer of art that lies between physical reality and the soul. And yes, I believe people are finally accepting the tattoo as an art form.” It’s hard to argue. That we could get away with decking out a showbiz starlet head to toe in tats says something.
Rogue’s August 2016 Issue. Available in your nearest bookstore. Epic Tattoo Studio is located at 81-82 Kanoma Park, Presidents Avenue, BF Homes, Sucat, Paranaque, and can be contacted at 0916-578-6493.