Brad started tattooing eight years ago. I spent several months with him and his family in 2013.
After getting to know Brad well I would often stay with him and his family. We would stay up late talking. On this night he told me about how he had once been a hairdresser in Seoul.
Another night he told me about how much he loved music. He taught himself to play the trumpet. His wife, Lucy, told me about how he used to park next to the highway in Seoul to play so as to not disturb anyone.
Always massaging his wrists. I know it is bad, although he never admits it.
On one of my last nights with Brad he brought this picture to show me. In the photo is his mother with him as a baby. She was a hairdresser, too. She left the family soon after.
Apprentice Reny was just starting her work when I arrived at Soul Train. She looks tough, but she’s deeper than that.
Reny Models her new tool to me.
A right of passage for tattoo artists, Reny tattooed herself as her first flesh tattoo. It reads “Paradiso”
Reny is upset. Brad comforts her and gives her some advice for the next day.
After a long day she won’t look up for this picture even though I asked her to.
Her tattoo reads, “What goes around comes around”.. I never asked her why.
One of Brad’s oldest customers, Sean owns the salon next to Soul Train.
Lari. While it is quite a small tattoo, we became close during my time with the family and I wanted to include her.
One of Brad’s first black and grey “sketch” style tattoos. He points to this tattoo as the moment when he knew what style was his.
Jin was was one of Brad’s largest works. It is still in progress.
Brad and Lucy’s daughter Wooju. I spent much of my time at the shop babysitting her.
On an off day, Brad finishes a tattoo he had been putting off for his wife, Lucy. She reads.
Brad and Lucy’s daughter Wooju. She’s not pleased at having to wait for some fireworks on Canada Day. She’s Canadian.
I’m not sure what to make of Wooju’s situation. A hard life at the crossroads of cultures. Korean, but not. Canadian, but not. Parent’s who don’t speak the language probably means she’s going to be relied on heavily as she gets older.