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SKIN DEEP: Yi Stropky of Black Medicine Tattoo

by Hogan Short

VANCOUVER – Every month, we meet up with a local tattoo artist to get to know the individual and inspiration behind the ink.

Yi Stropky of Black Medicine Tattoo

BeatRoute: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STYLE AND WHY YOU TATTOO THAT WAY?
YS: I think, through practicing in animation, film and photography, I developed a habit of seeing things through a “frame.” I showed some of my storyboard drawings at a flash event and people wanted to get them tattooed. I started to draw more of this kind of tattoo flash.

BR: HOW DO YOU VIEW THE CULTURE OF TATTOOING IN VANCOUVER?
YS: The tattoo culture has become more broad and inclusive. More artists from different disciplines have become involved in the tattoo scene, and the styles of tattoos have become more diverse.

BR: WHERE DO YOU SEE TATTOO CULTURE HEADING?
YS: I think that there will be more talented artists who will choose tattoo as the medium for their expressions and new artists will be more open to different/new styles of tattooing. I think there will be less of a social stigma against tattooing, too. I see a very positive future for tattoo art. I hope the history of tattooing and the contemporary tattooing culture can be introduced to talented young people who pursue the art in an academic environment. I think that the permanence of the medium is an interesting aspect of it. As for clients, tattoos are permanent; however, for the artists, tattoo art has less longevity than a lot of other art forms, such as oil painting. As we know, an oil painting can last for 500+ years, while most humans don’t live that long.

BR: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMOUS TATTOO TRADEMARK?
YS: It’s from one of my character designs. I try to draw emotions without showing the full face, as I believe that the less is shown, the more open for interpretations and imaginations. Also, I am generally a shy person. I am not always comfortable making eye contact, so a lot of time, I look at people from nose down. And drawing is my way to express emotions.

BR: IF YOU COULD GET TATTOOED BY ANYBODY IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE?
YS: If I had to pick one, I think it would be interesting to get tattooed by Yayoyi Kusama. She is one of my favourite artists. When I read about the body painting that she did when she was younger, I wondered if she would tattoo her dots on the audience if she had a tattoo machine.

Follow Yi Stropky on Instagram at @chinatown_stropky.

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