While studying at the National University of Singapore, Mr Elson Yeo had an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlour.
Even though he graduated with a Bachelor's degree with merit in Political Science, he never forgot his stint as a tattoo artist.
He now owns thINK Tattoo Studio and works on clients like lawyers and businessmen.
Mr Yeo, 38, will be among more than 140 international and local tattoo artists showcasing their talent at a major tattoo convention that opens today.
The first local tattoo convention since 2010, the Singapore Ink Show, will be on at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre Hall 404 till Sunday.
The show will include seminars on tattoo artistry, tattoo art contests and booths manned by tattoo artists to display their work.
Mr Yeo said it was the animated film Crying Freeman from his childhood that sparked his interest in tattoos.
He said: "When I was studying, there wasn't a single day that went by without me being intrigued by a certain aspect of tattoos.
"Just when you think you know everything about it, something new pops up."
Tattoo artists from 22 countries and about 30 local names will be at the event.
Mr Aelvin Lim, 36, better known as Ael, owns Imagine Tattoo Studio.
"The tattoo industry has always seemed quite mysterious to me and so curiosity set me down that path," he said.
"I was always taking art classes and drawing on my friends' arms and legs for fun when I was in school. Maybe that was a sign."
Mr Lim said people get tattoos to reflect what they feel inside, then wear it decoratively as a form of art.
Up-and-coming tattoo artist Lee Wai Leng, 44, more commonly known as FleeCircus, started off practising on fruits like bananas and pomelos before working on people.
Ms Lee, who works at Traditions Tattooing, said: "I was doing illustrations for the longest time. But I've always been interested in tattoos and when I was offered an apprenticeship three years ago, I took the chance."
Convention organiser Oh Wee Pin Sean, 37, said: "The event will allow tattoo lovers to see many international tattoo artists and their work, which is hard to come by in Singapore. Laymen can learn more about tattoo culture from all over the world."
A charity auction will also be held and 3,000 tattoo stickers will be on sale. All proceeds will go to the Singapore Red Cross.
Tickets for the convention start from $30.
For more details, visit www.sginkshow.com
This article was first published on April 21, 2017.
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