A story of a tattoo artist
in the mountains
Baan Khagee Tattoo
Chiang Mai, Thailand
As tattoo business is flourishing in Thailand, lots of new generation has turned their artistic skills to become tattoo artists. While we’ve seen many spots in a city filled up with new tattoo studios, there was one tattoo artist had packed his passion and moved up to the mountains.
Begin (with a wrong path)
“I graduated with a second-class honors degree in business. So you know…my parents thought that I had a bright future.” Nate began his story with laugh.
Nate began his story with saying that doing art for living was beyond his imagination at the time, so he chose to study business instead. He thought being a top-player in a big company was his goal but turned out it was totally not when he actually worked in a company in Bangkok. “It was not me at all working in company environment, plus living in Bangkok really stressed me out”.
Nate re-assessed his passion and goal again, and figured that maybe “ART”, the thing that he always loved, could be a new path and hopefully the right path.
A missing part
“I have been in Chiang Mai for several years and felt like home here”. Nate decided moving back to Chiang Mai where he used to study and live, and started a tattoo student life. From being a student became a tattoo artist and earning money from doing what he loves, Nate said it was quite a dream. But after a while, he felt like something was missing. “I actually had a dream when I was a kid which was being in nature. Yeah, being a tattoo artist in nature might not be an ideal idea but that couldn’t stop me”. He laughed again.
Tattoo in the mountains
Nate started a new journey in the mountains, and opened a tattoo studio named Baan Khagee Tattoo in Mae Wang, around 1.5 hour away from Chiang Mai city. “I came to Mae Wang the first time because my customer recommended me, and really got fascinated by all the scene and lifestyle up here. I also got a chance to volunteer in Mae Wang for a while, and spent that time thinking of completing my childhood dream which was being in nature. Finally I made my mind that, Mae Wang would be my new home”.
When speaking of tattoos in the mountains, we might think of something bold & black, something that’s quite traditional but it turns out totally opposite. Nate’s tattoos are mainly blackwork animal & nature tattoos that are light and delicate with really fine details. And what makes his tattoos look mysteriously beautiful and really distinctive is the “flow”.
“Going back when I was a little boy, I remember always drawing something out of my imagination. And nahh, it wasn’t pretty but I was always happy when I drew.
I also remember that I liked to add some “movement” into my drawing and imagined it moved. Then I would sit quietly looking at my drawing and played it in my head. That was a scene that people often saw but not often understand.I guess that was how it started.
That little boy has never gone away though, but these days, he has turned his world into something that people more understand”.
It’s like a friend’s house
Not only Nate’s tattoos surprised us but also his tattoo studio was quite different from what we thought. His tattoo studio is also his house that he lives in, and the overall vibe is really relaxing and peaceful. Plus, he loves to welcome his customers as his friends. “I think it’s in my blood. My family loves to make people smile”. Nate smiled while he showed us some reviews his customers left to him.
"It felt more like I went to a friend's place."
"Make you feel more like visiting good old friend."
"When I got there I felt like at home."
"More of a friend's home."
"Feel like visited my close friend's house."
"A real people person."
Lots of tattoo artists put some stories behind their tattoos, but Nate has his story behind his name. Maybe his story will be in your journey when you visit Chiang Mai, Thailand one day.