42 Questions with @HENN.DRAWN
Did you know that Singapore’s first Jagua tattoo artist, @henn.drawn on Instagram, is a student of the National University of Singapore (NUS)? Bet you didn’t!
We sat down with the homegrown, up-and-coming tattoo artist, See Min of @henn.drawn and asked her 42 questions.
1: What’s your name?
I’m See Min.
2: What’s your major?
I’m majoring in Sociology.
3: What year of study are you in right now?
Currently, I’m (in) Year 3.5. I’m taking my Year 3 Sem 2 right now but all my friends are Year 4. (This is) because I took LOA like two sems ago.
That’s why I’m a semester later than everyone else, but I’ve been in the school for like almost four years.
4: Can you tell us more about @henn.drawn?
Basically, it’s an avenue for people to express who they are by using body art lah without having the commitment. And erm it’s something like henna,
but it’s not quite.
I feel like it’s an extension of henna because it’s also body art, since I initially started off from there. But afterwards, I realised (that) actually they are not very similar because the intention is different, totally different.
5: How did you start @henn.drawn?
Actually, I started it accidentally leh. I just wanted to draw and stuff, and I like drawing on myself. And then a lot of people also asked me to draw for them.
I started testing using henna. Later on, people also started asking if I could do just a small one for them and then I realised people are starting to follow my account (for my designs).
6: When did you start @henn.drawn?
I started @henn.drawn in February last year.
7: Were there any struggles at the beginning?
I felt (that) there were no struggles because I was very lucky. A lot of people like what I do. And I don’t really have to like sell myself, or sell my art like crazy.
So maybe my only struggle is to actually treat it as a business and not something fun anymore. Yeah because I’ve got to do all the accounting and stuff.
8: Are you doing this all by yourself?
Yup. But I have artists to help me during events.
9: Could you tell us more about your first artwork?
My first artwork? Oh my god I can’t remember leh. I think it’s like something ugly. It should be.
10: Do you have a photo of it?
I don’t think so leh. I don’t know. Oh my god, I can’t remember.
11: How about your favourite artwork by far?
Favourite artwork? It’s like asking me to choose a favourite child eh. Erm.
(Okay maybe three or five)
Three ah. Okay the recent one, the recent one that I did on myself, I think. There’s the one with the skull and the rose, that one I really like.
Erm there is also one with like erm like a person’s head, like a human head, with flowers inside.
Basically people, like got human face on it one right, I really like it.
12: How about an artwork in which you regret or don’t feel satisfied with?
Have, so many. As I scroll to my old artworks, I just think that all of them are ugly.
13: Which artwork by far is the most challenging one?
Someone asked me to do (the late Mr.) Lee Kuan Yew’s face, that was very challenging because I haven’t drawn a human face for a long time already, plus she was very adamant on making it exactly the same.
14: Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get it from everywhere actually, but mostly from tattoos on pinterest lor.
(See Min aka @henn.drawn was answering our questions while doing an artwork on our writer.)
15: What is it like to see @henn.drawn slowly gaining recognition?
Erm what is it like. Wah good question.
I feel very, like, super happy because a little part of me feels like wah it’s like this, this thing just fall from the sky and I like don’t even need to worry about my financial that much anymore as supposed to last time.
I also feel happy because I get to know a lot of creatives in Singapore, especially the younger ones. Then I feel like there’s a lot of hope and potential in our art scene in the future.
16: Do you only have customers from Singapore at the moment or do you have a wide variety of customers in terms of people from around the world?
Yeah I do I do. I do have like tourists, I’m a tourist attraction. (Laughs)
Yeah legit you know. I realise one of the hotels right, erm I can’t remember which one lah, the one at Clarke Quay. They featured me as one of the “Things to Do This Weekend", like "Go and find @henn.drawn”, so I can say I’m a tourist attraction.
But the bad thing about having tourists is that they are very last minute mah, cause they are only here for a few days and they only hear about you on the day that they land in Singapore. So I usually don’t have that much of a, like leeway for my appointments. Then I really cannot accommodate to them unless they book me before they even come to Singapore.
17: Could you tell us what goes about in a day in your life?
A day in my life. Wah damn boring sia. I go to school, go home, eat lunch and then go appointments. And then sometimes I go to the gym.
18: How many appointments do you have in a day?
It depends. Now I have maybe erm three or four in a day. But I’ll only do it for like one to three days in a week.
But last time, during summer, I did it for about 5 days a week and there were roughly about eight hours worth of appointments a day?
19: Do you get recognised in school?
Actually have eh. I realise have. I mean I don’t know other people. They never really tell me lah but then there was once this girl who was talking about @henn.drawn, then I was like, "Yeah yeah yeah yeah it’s me." She was a new classmate and then she went "Oh no wonder the hair the same colour (as the picture)."
I mean people do? I’ve heard random strangers talk about it before.
20: How about on the streets?
Erm. Have. Oh my god have have have. Siao. Got a few people like
“eh you’re the girl from @henn.drawn.”
And then they were like *gasp*
“Are you @henn.drawn”,
then I’m like “Yeah yeah yeah wassup.”
21: What do your parents feel about @henn.drawn?
Erm actually my mother is very supportive because she hates tattooing, (or rather) the idea of (a) tattoo, because it’s permanent. She sees this as an alternative to permanent tattoos. So she actually thinks it’s very good. Some more like I don’t need to get pocket money from her already mah.
22: Do you ever think that it would be a hindrance to your studies or it possibly affecting your studies?
Actually no leh. I feel like my studies is actually the hindrance to my business.
23: How do you manage your time? Especially when you’ve got @henn.drawn and school.
Oh because i’m in soci (sociology), I just focus on learning and I really don’t focus on grades at all. In a sense, everything just works out.
Last time, I focused on getting a good CAP (score) and it was a lot harder because I was focusing on the wrong things. It was also harder to score. But now, when I just focus on learning, I find that it’s so much easier to score and do well in school because like I don’t really care anymore.
For readings, I’ll always make full use of my time when I commute. Yeah so when I’m on the train, on the bus, I will always be reading readings. I speed read like everything before class.
I always have my organiser ready. But I think iPhone is really useful for scheduling. It prompts you so I really have to make sure I get note down lah because I confirm will forget one, since I’m dealing with a lot of people everyday. I like note down every single thing that is going to happen.
24: Could you give us a few of your tips and tricks in managing time while juggling between school and @henn.drawn?
Before I say anything, I feel like people should know that I am also struggling with time management. I’m also still learning but I find erm that what is most important is, just make full use of your day lor. I rarely have time to relax.
I don’t have time to watch shows one. No time for that if you want to work and study at the same time.
And then like erm, know your priorities lah. Know what things you want to discard from your schedule so you won’t feel so tired from doing everything altogether.
25: If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Erm don’t give a s*** about what other people think. Really, just do what you want and stay true to yourself.
26: What’s your favourite food in NUS?
Oh my god I love Waa Cow. Waa Cow rocks.
27: How about a favourite drink?
Avocado drink from (the) Deck. The avocado juice.
28: Ayam Penyet at the Deck or UTOWN?
Eh I don’t know eh. Actually I never eat the UTOWN one before I think. The Deck one is really nice, I like.
29: Are you a night owl or early bird?
I’m both leh. That’s why I don’t sleep mah. (Laughs)
Yeah I mean, I only do school related work at night, because it’s the quietest but then I need to get up early to make full use of my time. Yeah so I sleep really little everyday.
30: What do you do when you procrastinate?
I hate myself for a while and then after that, go to sleep. Go to sleep and then replan my schedule. I have to replan my schedule a lot of times because I procrastinate a lot.
Yeah so erm I replan until I sian lor. But it will work out eventually. I will find a way when I’m like procrastinating, because I cannot work until last minute one.
31: What do you do to relax yourself from the immense stress from school?
I thought doing henna itself is a form of relaxation, to me at least. But to relax as in nua at home, like just on the bed, I rarely have that kind of time. So that is also why sometimes I sleep very late even though I don’t have work to do that night but I will just erm stay up late to, to use my phone.
32: Could you give a tip or two for students who like you has school but is doing something else on the side such as a part-time job?
Mmm. I would say studies is always very important. But then hor, being happy is the most important leh.
Studies is important but it’s so tiring to, (It's hard) to even go through uni without even working alone already. Plus work, it’s like super tiring.
I mean it’s a very good thing to be financially independent at a young age despite (having) academic commitments.But (in order to) to sustain (this lifestyle) right, you really have to truly enjoy what you’re doing and be very happy all the time. I think that will make your life fulfilling.
33: What are your thoughts on tattoos?
I feel like it’s a form of self expression and it is also, it’s art lor. It’s art in another form, using another medium, using a different kind of canvas. So, I don’t understand why it’s sanctioned.
But I realised that it’s a generation problem that, that all our parents generally think (that tattoos are) related to like gangsterism. It’s not their fault that they think like that lah, so we’ve got to understand them from their perspective. They really came from an era where it really represented something else. So, I understand the stigma but I’m actively trying to fight it.
34: Do you have one yourself?
No I don’t have. My mother don’t let!
35: If you could get a tattoo, what would it be?
It would be nothing meaningful. It will just be purely for aesthetic reasons. So I was thinking of getting like geometric shit or like a human, like a Zeus face on my arm.
36: What is one thing you can’t live without?
I think my phone lah. But that’s a very stupid answer right, let me think. I don’t know leh. My lip balm (laughs).
37: You’ve got five minutes to pack your bag for school, what would you bring?
My iPad, my scheduler, Apple pencil, water bottle, wallet, handphone and my keys and ez-link card.
38: 8am or 8pm class?
8am. I like the smell of the morning air and erm the morning breeze, the morning breeze is very shiok!
39: Good Grades, Social Life, Sleep - Choose two
Sleep & social life (laughs)
40: What are your plans for @henn.drawn?
I hope to teach one day and then like slowly people will recognise @henn.drawn as the OG (original) and erm recognise Jagua ink in Singapore. And people will like be confused between which one is real Jagua, which one is real tattoo that kind. And then (hopefully), the stigma of body art will be like slowly gone.
41: Do you have any idea what you want to do after you graduate?
I do! I want to be a tattoo artist!
Yeah. But I want to set up my website first and just establish @henn.drawn properly at least on the line first. Then I want to teach classes to earn a little bit of money because i know doing apprenticeship will not give me much money at all until like much later? So I want to build on that first lah.
I won’t have time during apprenticeship to do a lot of appointments for henna. So by slowly pacing it all, it will just prepare me lor.
42: Last Question, what are your plans after this?
Me? I need to study for my InDesign assignment test tomorrow.
That was 42 Questions with See Min of @henn.drawn. For more information on @henn.drawn, follow check out her socials down below.
Instagram: @henn.drawn Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henn.drawn.sg/
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