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Meet Fan Wu of Gristle Tattoo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fan Wu.

Fan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I originally come from Shanghai, China. I came to the USA in 2014 for college. I was at Temple University for three years in Philadelphia, my major was printmaking. After graduating, I move to NYC alone. I’ve been in NYC for almost three years. After graduating, I move to NYC alone. I’ve been in NYC for almost three years. After I stay in the USA, I figured that lots of people have tattoos, and they are happy to show them. I never had a tattoo before, and I’m very curious about getting a tattoo, so I got my first tattoo in Philly. Since I really love hand drawing when I was a kid, and my major in college was also printmaking, which requires a lot of hand-made processes, I’m very interested in how to make a tattoo, since it’s just like drawing on the skin, then I decided to learn to tattoo. I learned tattooing in Shanghai, China. Since I have a summer break during college time, I went back to China and started to learn to tattoo for three months. After I came back to college in Philly, I keep practicing on the fake skin, my friend and on myself. As time goes by, I strongly feel that I love tattooing, and I want to let it be my permanent career in my rest life. So after graduation, I decided to move to New York City, since I thought NYC would have more opportunities, so I want to push myself and give a try. Luckily, I found my right path in NYC.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think tattooing is not a smooth road for every single person who just get started with, also to me. At the very first beginning, I only can do walk-ins, which was barely practiced my tattoo skills. I don’t have any appointments, as well as the walk-ins since the first shop I worked at was a very small shop, there were few people would come in for a small piece, maybe 2 or 3 people in a day, which was even many to the artists. For the wintertime, there usually have no customers for a couple of days, it was very slow. But I know I cannot stop drawing or practicing, I drew flash every day, I would create 3 or 4 original pieces for my flash portfolio so that I can show people what’s my style. I also started to practice on my own skin instead of the fake skin since although I drew a lot, the feeling of tattooing on people’s skin is still very different from tattooing on fake skin. I did a total of 5 tattoos on my legs, which I think I actually learn a lot from tattooing on my skin. I know how hard and deep I should go into the skin, and I can feel the pain so that I can know how my customers will feel during the process.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gristle Tattoo – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I do most blackwork and custom work. It’s always interesting for me to learn what people want to get and help them to design what they want since the projects are all unique. I really like natural elements, especially the galaxy, animals, and florals, I also really like the Japanese anime, which always reminds me of my childhood. I’m also really into the delicate designs, so I do very fine-line work, I’ll also add some geometric designs into the custom design. I think the project I like to do most is the animal portraits, people usually choose to get a tattoo to remind their favorite pet, it’s always an honor for me to do meaningful pieces for people. I also really into doing cover-up pieces, I think it’s interesting to redo people’s old tattoos, I can see and use some brand new shapes combine with customers’ ideas to cover the tattoo that they don’t like.

Gristle Tattoo is an awesome studio in NYC! I feel free while I’m working at Gristle Tattoo. The shop is well organized, we attend lots of conventions, interesting events, and interview opportunities. It’s a vegan shop, and everything we use is all vegan, the creams, ointments, razors, soaps, inks, and the stencil paper. It’s safer for people’s skin and health. Gristle tattoo is vegan owned and actively supports and fundraises for various animals related causes. Gristle is also a gallery, we accept different artwork from different artists in all different fields, so people can also see various artworks, not only tattoo works, but also paintings and shows in the studio. The tattoo artists in Gristle all have their own style, so people can choose the artist or the style they like and then make an appointment.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I do a lot of guest spots in different cities in America, and I also try to attend the tattoo conventions as many as possible. So I’m hoping I can do more guest spots all over the world. I like to explore different places and see different tattoo styles and meet different artists so that I can learn a lot from them. I also want more and more people get to know about me and my tattoo work and style, I hope I can help more and more people to do a unique piece for them.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 26 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn, New York, 11211
  • Website:
  • Phone: (347) 889-6422
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @gristletattoo
  • Twitter: @Gristletattoo

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