It Changed My Life: A love for tattoo art that is more than skin deep

Kelvin Leow, 30, knew he wanted to become a tattoo artist after getting his first tattoo at 17. Today, he is the founder of The Standard Tattoo, which employs five others including his wife, a former art teacher.
Joseph Schooling commemorated his Olympic victory in 2016 by getting Mr Leow to tattoo the Olympic rings on his right arm. Mr Kelvin Leow struck out on his own three years ago to start The Standard Tattoo. His wife, Ms Jerene Tham, left the teaching
Mr Kelvin Leow struck out on his own three years ago to start The Standard Tattoo. His wife, Ms Jerene Tham, left the teaching profession to join him. The idea of entering the tattoo trade came to Mr Leow as he was getting his back inked with the word "hope". Now, realism is the style of body art Mr Leow is best known for. This style emphasises life-like images rendered, in Mr Leow's case, mainly in black and grey.ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN
Joseph Schooling commemorated his Olympic victory in 2016 by getting Mr Leow to tattoo the Olympic rings on his right arm. Mr Kelvin Leow struck out on his own three years ago to start The Standard Tattoo. His wife, Ms Jerene Tham, left the teaching
Joseph Schooling commemorated his Olympic victory in 2016 by getting Mr Leow to tattoo the Olympic rings on his right arm.PHOTO: COURTESY OF KELVIN LEOW

Artist who was drawn to trade from his teens is now one of the most sought-after here

When Mr Kelvin Leow was 17, his mother found out that her only son had inked his birth date across his stomach.

She hit the roof, her fury fuelled by the fact that it was not his only one. A few months earlier, he had the word "hope" tattooed across his back.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 25, 2018, with the headline 'A love for tattoo art that is more than skin deep'. Print Edition | Subscribe