For many, tattoos are about rebellion. Rebelling against society, against parents, against anything and everything. For tattoo artist Christian Nguyen from Inkvaders, a boutique tattoo parlor in Geneva, tattooing started as rebellion, then morphed into an art that has defined his life.
“My first tattoo, when I was 15, was a dragon, and it is already covered,” Nguyen says with a smile. “That tattoo was just a way to enter the show: it was a bit gangster, it was about showing my parents a little bit of rebellion. When I look back, I was taking back my body. I started drawing at school because I was bored. The guy who was tattooing me asked me if I was interested in starting to tattoo, and I thought, why not?”
Though his interest in tattooing started casually, Nguyen’s career has been the opposite: both serious and quite successful. He has won a number of awards and tattoo competitions, and has a stable of celebrity clients. He is so successful that his tattoo shop in the Carouge area of Geneva doesn’t even have normal working hours — his work is by appointment only.
It didn’t start like this, however. “I was living in a squat back then, and I opened a space in the squat to tattoo,” he details. “It was near the train station, but it was definitely underground for four years, then 16 years ago I opened this studio. I was about to leave to set up in Germany, and I visited this place and the agent was a client of mine and I got it.”