This was the piece that won 2nd place for Tattoo of the Day at the Beijing Tattoo Convention. It was a rabbit piece done by Tony for me to commemorate my mother. What was interesting about this competition is that they invite all the judges to critique each piece on the spot. They then select 3 finalists to debate who deserves first place. We were eventually placed in the top two and the top two tattoos sparked a debate. A few of the judges loved our piece and called it the “most creative piece of the whole convention”, and some others were in favor of the other one, which was indeed done really well and the execution was flawless; the only possible knock was its lack of originality. Now, we were eventually outvoted and given second place. We were more than thrilled to win. To be honest, we didn’t even know if we were going to tattoo because we didn’t even have a booth. Thankfully, a lot of the artists there recognized our work and insisted we tattoo something for the weekend. So, a special thank you to Qiang Tattoo from Beijing for graciously giving us a spot to do this very special piece. The spontaneity and the kindness made this piece extra special for me; it’s something I will remember forever. Now, I can’t help but think of this debate as more than just about art and tattoos. This debate runs deeper; it has a lot to do with the Chinese morality and the way they conduct business. It’s no secret that the Chinese are notorious for knocking off name brands. It’s the quickest way to make something, as opposed to innovate, research, and develop something new, which can be much more risky and painful. As a Chinese Canadian, it pains me to admit this but the fact that they are debating is encouraging. I feel that change is coming. It will take time because it’s going against decades of evidence that copying is simpler and quicker to riches. But, as one of the outraged judges grabbed one of the mics and shouted into the crowd, “The future of tattoo in China is going to depend on creativity. That is the royal way.” I couldn’t help but feel proud and encouraged by what this artist said; and how maybe the tattoo industry might even be one of the first to advocate change ahead of other more “respected” fields. Who would have thought? This should give people pause the next time they decide to knock our industry. Innovation and change can come from anywhere. We hope our presence there was a positive influence, however small it may be. Back here in Toronto & Vancouver, we are going to continue our work to change the negative perception of tattoos with Project X-cepted, we hope all you tattooed folks can join our cause.