HK Tattooist Alex Fu Paints Chinese Calligraphy on Bodies
Hong Kong/ Vibe/ Artists

Alex Fu Is the HK Tattoo Artist Known for Chinese Calligraphy Tattoos

Alex FT

Tattoos – as evidenced by many – are both a work of art and (sometimes even) a form of therapy. Using the body as a canvas for his work is Hong Kong-based tattoo artist Alex Fu. His incredible calligraphy tattoos are rendered on the arms, legs, and chests of many. They span half-sleeves and full-body suits, though more conservative enthusiasts can also opt for more modest name stamps.

“I have a professional tattoo artist friend named Sean Ting. Later, I became his apprentice and trained at ST TATTOO HK for several years,” shared Alex of his journey. “In the meantime, I learned Chinese calligraphy from an outside class, and that’s when I started to grow my interest in Chinese calligraphy.”

Alex Fu tattoo
Photo by Instagram/alexftattoo

His works evoke the timeless beauty of shūfǎ or traditional Chinese calligraphy. He’s often seen working with seal and cursive styles, immortalising meaningful words and phrases – such as family names – unto his clients.

“I believe calligraphy and tattooing have many [things in common],” Alex pointed out. “Both require a significant amount of time to understand, learn, and practice. Most importantly, they require genuine love and devotion if one wants to advance in the art.”

Of course, Alex isn’t one to pigeonhole his style. His words have a flow: diaphanous strokes cascading down delicate skin in shades of black and red. “I love combining words with tattoo designs, allowing the fonts to merge in the shape of the body,” he explained.

Alex Fu tattoo
Photo by Instagram/alexftattoo

It’s this kind of personalisation that appeals to many of Alex’s clients; it’s also the reason why his Instagram account is so gratifying to see. His tattoos envelop the body so beautifully, undulating through manly contours and feminine curves.

“I am inspired by the form and momentum of calligraphy and thought it would be great to combine fonts with the body's structure. That’s the reason I started to build up my specialty in this area,” he said.

Surprisingly, a significant portion of his clientele is Westerners – travellers who venture into Hong Kong and look to take something back with them. “There are not many tattoo artists specializing in Eastern calligraphy outside of Asia,” Alex said. “[Westerners] might feel more comfortable working with tattoo artists whose native language is Chinese so that the meaning and words chosen will be more accurate.”

Obviously, Alex will never make the mistake that Ariana Grande did when she tattooed the word Japanese word for “barbecue grill” on her hand thinking it meant “seven rings” (a nod to her then-latest single).

Alex Fu's tattoo
Photo by Instagram/alexftattoo

In Hong Kong, Alex’s art is gaining more momentum as mainstream acceptance of tattoos has overturned previous taboos. Admittedly, older Hong Kongers may not be as open to this type of art, but Alex is assured that more people are open to it now.

“It’s because of the trend; tattoo exhibitions and platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest also allow people to expose themselves to tattooing as the art that it is and can be.”

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