Artist’s undertaking in turning tattoos into an asset

In Filipino culture, tattoos often have a negative connotation. While they symbolize self-expression, some people view them as impure and self-tarnishing.

When considering getting a tattoo, warnings such as “You probably won’t get employed” or “People will look at you differently” may be heard. Tattoos are often perceived as harmful bodily paraphernalia that promotes delinquency.

However, Razzi Lozano, a long-time tattoo artist from Talisay City, sees tattoos differently. He started appreciating tattoo art in high school, influenced by rappers and basketball players who sported cool tattoos.

“They had the swag I wanted to exude, so I started to look into tattoo art,” said the 34-year-old tattoo artist, who also works in the trading industry.

Self-taught, Razzi often turned to his peers for practice sessions. As he slowly mastered his craft, he offered reasonable prices to friends and acquaintances on a budget.

“It’s great that people are interested in adorning their bodies with art despite the pain. Giving discounts is my way of showing people that tattoos are an asset.”

He called his tattoo prices “minigohay lang,” or friendly discounts.

In his formative years as a tattoo artist, Razzi also developed his own tools and even used them on himself. “I used whatever material I could get my hands on, whether it was printer ink or sewing materials. I was into hand-poked art.”

His first tattoo machine was made solely by him and wrought from household materials. Now that he has other means of finance, he has invested in more complicated machinery.

“It’s amazing to look back at my humble beginnings. To think I started with so little but still persevered to become what I am today.”

People like Razzi Lozano, who in their small way try to break the stigma of tattoos, are the reason why tattoo art is now widely celebrated. They promote being unapologetically yourself in embracing art etched on skin, symbolizing what words sometimes fail to capture. Donning tattoos is like saying, “Hey, this is me. And I want the world to see.”