For someone with a name that sounds like he’s a character straight out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Brian Woo (aka Doctor Woo) is a total badass who makes you pine for a tattoo in the worst way.
Dr. Woo has become a sensation in the tattoo and visual art world in the past few years. He’s based in Hollywood, California, working at the Shamrock Social Club. Woo was born in North Hollywood to Chinese immigrant parents and discovered his proclivity toward visual arts doodling in the margins of his notebooks at school. Now, I was a huge doodler and still am, but my doodles would certainly never be translated onto someone’s body.
Woo is trained in what is called the single-needle style which produces such fine, thin black lines that they appear gray. He was offered an apprenticeship at the age of 24 with Mark Mahoney, who’s considered the “founding father” of black and gray art using a single needle, and a living legend who’s tattooed the likes of Lana Del Rey, Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga, and the list goes on and on.
Just look at Woo’s inimitable designs; I don’t think I’ve seen cleaner lines. His tattoos are flawless and precise, going for the strategy of “less is more”, producing fine lines and limited color. Instead, he builds on texture and the outcome looks like a pencil drawing taken right off one of the pages of a sketchbook.
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What I love most about Woo’s tattoos is the simplicity of them all. I think that a lot of times, tattoos aren’t considered amongst the traditional sense of art, when the making of them have 100x more of a consequence then putting paint on canvas or taking a photograph. Tattoo artists are given the task of making a permanent piece of art on someone’s body that’ll be with them for eternity. If that doesn’t make you sweat a little thinking if that was your responsibility, then you have nerves of steel. Woo turns people’s ideas into pieces of art that they proudly display for the world to see.
His Instagram feed is filled with his art, and his family is featured rather often. Woo has 2 beautiful sons; the cutest, droopiest puppy you ever did see; and his gorgeous wife Jayme. And together, they make the hippest family I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Like, I’m 17 older than his eldest son, Lyon, and the kid’s already cooler than I’ll ever be. Just his name screams cool. Lyon.
Are you hooked now? Have you decided that your next tattoo has to be done by Dr. Woo, or for all you first-timers out there, that your first has to be a Dr. Woo??? Well get in line. Dr. Woo has a year long wait list so if you want one, book your appointment and your ticket out to California now and you’ll have plenty of time to come up with the perfect piece for you.
Follow Dr. Woo on Instagram to see a constant feed of his tattoos and his adorable family, plus check out his website for more inspiration. All hail Dr. Woo, maybe I’ll see some of you in the Shamrock Social Club’s waiting room…in a year or so.