Celebrities are just like us when it comes to getting tattoos. This is what we found when we caught up with celebrity-approved tattoo parlors: P&P Tattoo, Whiplash Tattoo, and 55 Tinta Tattoo Studio. Whether it’s to express oneself or to have visible reminders of what we value close, tattoo art is very subjective. Design requests differ from person to person, and there is no such thing as what you should or shouldn’t do, except perhaps to get the one you really want. In the words of Whiplash artist Soleil Pamatigan, “Whether you are a celebrity or not, it is personal. To each his own.” As a tattoo will be a permanent feature on your body, for most people, this becomes one of the most important, not to mention exhilarating, decisions of their lives.
With pandemic restrictions in place, gone is the spontaneity of randomly entering a shop and walking out with one (or three) new inks. 55 Tinta Maginhawa’s Manager Six Castillo, shared that they used to have clients like that, but nowadays, people enter their shops with more intent. While P&P and 55 Tinta still accept walk-ins during GCQ, they encourage booking in advance due to the limited capacity enforced by the IATF. Having that time in-between, prior to an appointment, gives folks more time to consider the tattoo they’re getting, so they can arrive at their designated hour with a more or less concrete design.
P&P Tattoo artist and co-owner Ron Poe stated that customers nowadays mostly request for simple and minimal designs. Six further expounded that it’s impossible to pinpoint the most requested minimalist tattoo as it can vary from artist to artist since they have different styles and approaches to design. Moreover, according to Whiplash’s Marketing Executive Mae Roa-Joson, artists actually prefer customized tattoos. The client’s personality takes center stage in this process with the artist bringing to form what the client had in mind. The initial idea or peg still comes from the client, with the artist simply suggesting enhancements and refinements based on what the client wants, added Six. This collaboration allows for a unique aesthetic piece that is all your own.
Six observed that celebrities tend to get pieces to commemorate or remember certain aspects of their lives. This echoes Whiplash artist Niño Tabao’s remark that the most requested could be “anything that makes them [the client] remember a scene, their loved ones, and a place.”
This opinion is reflected in the five most requested tattoos of 2021, which, believe it or not, are strikingly similar to popular tattoos of the past.
1. Heart Tattoos
Heart tattoos are an all-time favorite. This year, it’s the BTS LoVe Yourself version that is most in-demand for this shape. Whereas longtime proud Army Arci Muñoz got hers in Korea in 2019, there's also been a surge of this tattoo request locally. With its colorful, minimalist, intricate line hearts, it’s easy to see why. Army or not, this is an aesthetic piece that carries an even more beautiful message.
2. Religious Tattoos
From Christine Reyes and Solenn Heusaff’s rosary tattoos, to the Serenity Prayer on Ellen Adarna’s ribs, religion-inspired pieces remain a popular choice for skin art. Aside from bible verses, P&P Artist Michael Cunanan regards that the stylized God is Greater than the Highs and Lows has also been the most favored phrase in 2021. You can go full minimalist with a micro tattoo of just these symbols, or use it as a base for more decorative options, such as a floral bracelet or vintage typography.
3. Memorial Tattoos
Tattoos are a great way to keep our loved ones close. Nadine Lustre told Dr. Aivee Teo she got the lyrics of her late brother’s favorite song on her arm on his death anniversary. Whereas realistic memorial portraits remain to be the most requested from Whiplash’s Niño, just as popular are line art, silhouettes and symbolisms to honor those who have passed on—furry friends included. Examples are an orchid line art memorial tattoo in honor of a beloved grandma who was fond of this flower, and a cherub inked on a mother’s chest to honor the memory of her little angel.
4. Japanese Tattoos
Japan-inspired tattoos have always been a hit. In previous years, they were more focused on certain elements, such as origami. In 2021 though, people will get literally anything Japanese, from famous landmarks, to nostalgic anime, to contemporary art prints. Whiplash’s Christian Castillote said most customers lean toward oriental designs, while some also opt for smaller pieces, like Nadine Lustre’s kanji tat and Arci Muñoz’ timeless cherry blossom.
Mae of Whiplash Tattoo shared that they get a lot of requests for cover-ups as well. These are mostly done to re-do or completely replace the tattoos their clients’ regret. Majority of these are names and tattoos that didn’t meet the client’s expectations. Hence, it’s important to not just consider what tattoo design you will get, but where you will get it done. Don’t pinch pennies as you will ultimately end up spending more, since covering up that ink can take multiple sessions.
Editor's Note: P&P Tattoo, Whiplash Tattoo, and 55 Tinta Tattoo Studio are closed during ECQ.
For more information and to book your next tattoo, you may visit these parlors at:
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