Saturday, January 23, 2010

Art, Artistry, Artisan-Johnny Two Thumbs

Ask most people who's the best tattoo artist in Singapore, someone would inevitably mention Johnny Two Thumbs who's real name was Indra Bahadur , a Nepalese who had learnt the art of tattoo in India. He came to Singapore in the 50's and passed away in the 80's leaving his tattoo business to his second son, Richard. Johnny Two Thumbs got his nickname because he had 2 right thumbs ! A tattoo artist with 2 right thumbs, how cool is that?

I am trying to fit a tattoo post in my miniature blog because I have told Kiva that if she showed me hers, I would show her mine. In contrast to her freshly inked tattoo , so bold and beautiful, mine looks puny, old and rather unimaginative .

I did this when I was in my 20s, a fresh graduate, just starting a career and feeling rather adult. I wanted to do something to mark the beginning of an "exciting journey" , a new phase in my life, and after a night of partying, me and 2 girlfriends went to the famous Johnny Two Thumbs.

I was crazy about sun-faces then and was wearing a pendant like the one in the picture. So I told Richard from J2T to use it for my tattoo. The 1st piece of "art" I bought where my body is my canvas. My 1st indelible miniature art. It cost me S$50.00 and a hell load of pain because of where I decided to place my tattoo. (By the way, many had grabbed from my foot what they thought they have dropped onto the floor only to find out that it was my body art! ) It was painful because it was close to the bone and that's the thinnest skin. I was glad when the 10 minutes was over and that I had decided against colours. Richard told me later that there were some artists who would refuse to do foot because of the pain!

My tattoo look so dated now. I realised for the 1st time when I took the pictures that it is also blurring. Despite all that, I love my tat. Absolutely no regrets! For me, my little sun face speaks of an era and a time when life was an exciting new adventure, And I was immortal, And that I could do anything. I don't know why I never wanted a 2nd one because tattoos are addictive. Maybe it's because I don't feel like my "adventure" has ended. I may no longer feel immortal but thanks to my new found interest in miniature making, I sure believe I can still do anything I put my mind to.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Books

My very 1st dolls' house book was purchased years before I was interested in miniatures. It was Faith Eaton's Classic Dolls' Houses (1994 Edition) which I bought for S$10.00 at a Kinokuniya sale. I remember because I don't ever remove price tags from my books. I am a sort of bibliophile and my special interest is reference books on art & craft, architecture, culture and interior designs.

I remember not being very impressed with the book because it consisted mainly of black and white pictures. I did think however, that the subject matter was interesting because it featured historical dolls' houses. Today, I realised that these houses included some of the ones that I have fallen in love with, like the Mon Plaisir, The Thorne Rooms and Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle. I also realised that I bought the book at a steal because now, a new hard cover 1994 Edition is being sold at US$113.22 through Amazon.

Since then it has been quite an uphill task trying to find books on miniatures and dolls' houses here. Slightly over a year ago, I actually blogged about my frustration when I was just starting on the hobby. Researching has always been one of the 1st thing I do when I pick up anything new. So buying books on the subject has always been my modus operandi.

You can see from my shelf that my collection was very modest. I had more reference books on India than dolls' houses. Even then not all these books are on miniatures and the last stack with the Chinese characters were bought from Taiwan.

That is, until my visit to Kinokuniya yesterday. I had wanted to buy only 2 books, Orhan Pamuk's "My Name is Red" because I lost it at the airport when I was going to KL and Patrick Suskind's "Perfume". Well, I came home with 14 books, all related to my hobby, 4 on the cultural aspects and the rest on miniatures. I probably bought more books on minis and dolls' houses yesterday than the whole of last year minus the ones from Taiwan (I went crazy there too because I thought I better grabbed them when I could find them).

These are the books on dolls' houses:

Books On India :

And all that were bought after I have gone to the National Library to borrow these books:

I can no longer complain that there are not enough reference books here. It was a bumper crop of books yesterday and I didn't even go to Borders!

Perhaps interest in dolls' houses and miniatures have grown in our little country. Just this week, there was an article in one of our Chinese papers on miniaturists in Singapore. You can read about it of you wish because snowfern had translated the article into English in her blog!

Finally, I say. That is good news, very good news indeed!