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Rising Stars: Meet Highbie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Highbie.

Hi Highbie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m a tattoo artist who owns BadHands LA tattoo shop in Korea Town. I’m from Japan and I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. Eventually, I discovered my passion for tattooing. Beforehand, I was working in the entertainment industry, and while I was working there, I became inspired by artists in the industry. I was seeing so many people with tattoos, and I wasn’t used to seeing that in Japan. It was so fascinating that I became inspired.

I did an apprenticeship for a year at a tattoo shop while also working at a sushi restaurant. After I finished the apprenticeship, I started only working in a tattoo shop. It took a while to build up my clientele, but eventually, I had enough clientele to open my first shop called TRA ink, which stands for True Real Artist. After two years, I got an offer from Bad Hands to open a shop with them in Los Angeles called Bad Hands LA.

Ever since I became a tattoo artist, it has given me the opportunity to express my art, and it gives me the chance to care about quality. Tattoos are permanent, and here at BadHands LA, we want to give people the best quality tattoos.

初めまして、ハイビーです。私はタトゥーアーティストでコリアタウンにあるバッドハンズLAを経営してます。私は2005年LAに日本から来て、エンターテインメントの仕事をしていました、その中で数々のアーティストと関わる間によく見かけるタトゥーに刺激を受けていました。

最初は知り合いのタトゥーショップで一年修行をして、後に色々なお店でゲストワークをしながらお客さんを作る事に長い時間がかかりましたが自分のお店が開けれるようになり、TRA inkをオープン。

オープンして2年後には、Bad Handsからのオファーでロサンゼルスに店を一緒に開ける事になりました。それからは、自分の芸術を上質的に表現できるお店を経営させていただいてます。

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It was a struggle actually. I started off working in a rough area, and I had to deal with ruffian type people. One of the major things I had to deal with was someone coming into the shop with a weapon on them during a consultation. I would have to ask them to leave their weapon elsewhere. This was challenging for me because it never happened in Japan. The experience made me stronger because they actually supported my work too, and a lot of them became lifelong friends. I really appreciate that part of my life because they helped me grow.

As for the challenges right now, I would say the biggest challenge is myself. I always want to learn new styles of tattooing and I want to learn different art types. So, I’m constantly challenging myself to become better and better.

自分にとってタトゥーアーティストになる事は大変でした。まず働き始めたエリアはすごく変わった人が多かったです。中には銃を持ち込んでくるお客さんに対して武器はどこかに置いてきてもらうとか、、ただみんな良い人ばかりで自分の芸術をサポートしてくれました、今も良い友達として付き合っていたりで自分を強くしてくれたと感謝してます。

今の自分の挑戦は、タトゥーの新しいスタイルや自分と違うスタイル等も勉強しながら良くなっていきたいです。

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As a tattoo artist, I am known for high-quality, clean artwork. Also, I specialize in the style of traditional, realistic, and colorful tattoos. I specialize in piercings as well. I am most proud of how far I have gotten as a tattoo artist because it has been a long journey. I believe what sets me apart from others are my clean customized tattoos.

タトゥーアーティストとして、上質の綺麗な仕事をします。スタイルで言うと、伝統的なスタイル、写実的やカラフルなタトゥーが得意で、ピアスもやっています。ここまで来れたのも時間がかかりましたが誇りを持ってます、自分は綺麗なタトゥーをするのに自信があります。

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
First of all, for those who are first starting out, it is best to do research about tattoos, from traditional to new style. I suggest you learn about drawing and practice a lot because practice increases your skills. If you are really serious about it, then pull up to BadHands LA.

まず初めに、伝統的なタトゥーから新しいスタイルの事を調べて絵を描く練習をした方が良いです。なぜなら練習があなたの技術を高めます。もしあなたが真剣に習いたい場合は気軽にお店に来て下さい。

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Image Credits:

Photos by IG: @yksfoto IG: @stoneshoot1979 Workers IG: @highbie IG: @inkbarbie94 IG: @iam_mmm

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