Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 24 Oct 2019 12am







    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-11:21:15A.M.






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Edong Elenzano International Tattoo Artist

HE is more popularly known as “Dragon Edong” and whenever the subject of tattooing and tattoo artists comes up in the CNMI, his name comes to mind immediately.

Back in 1976, Edong Elenzano, an artist from Quezon City, the Philippines, did a tattoo of a small dragon on himself just to get the feel of what it was like to have a tattoo.

That small dragon tattoo started it all, and he taught himself to do tattoos before he became a deshi or apprentice in Japan in 1980.

Years later, there was no stopping Dragon Edong from pursuing his passion as a tattoo artist.

“Tattoo is a sacred art of tribal people and in tattooing your canvass is living skin and it is permanent. That’s why in tattooing, artists should be well trained not only in the art of tattooing but in sanitary procedures as well,” Elenzano said.

His favorite tattoo subjects or artwork are Japanese and he likes to work in realistic black and gray.

Elenzano said he is always excited every time he gets to do a tattoo on a client, especially if the subject is interesting and the design is “kind of hard.”

“Tattooing is a passion for me; it’s not a job. Some people work because they need to make a living, and they don’t like what they are doing, but for me, every day is exciting. I love going to the shop and doing tattoos.”

He said the night before any scheduled tattooing, he plans what he wil do in terms of size, color, proportion, placement , depth and other details.

“I figure those in my mind the night before — those things that you see in real life should be applied to creating art. I do a lot of research in creating a good tattoo. I have to make sure that my client will be pleased with my work.”

Challenges, rewards

Elenzano said doing small but very intricate designs is one of his biggest challenges in tattooing.

“I like doing big scale tattoos, like a full sleeve or even half sleeve, a full back piece tattoo that has a story to it — things like that but if a client requests a small tattoo with a lot of design on it, I consider it a challenge,” Elenzano said.

Creating a work of art or a tattoo is a team effort between the tattoo artist and the tattoo collector, he added.

“That’s why it’s very important for people to talk to the artist and create something that will make a great tattoo.”

Along with the challenges are the rewards for this passion.

Elenzano said his most memorable experience with tattooing was when he participated in an international competition, and won first place. This was the 2nd World Tattoo Arts Festival and Exhibition in Thailand in 2008.

“It was a huge competition with a lot of reputable, well respected and well-known tattoo artists from all over the world.”

He couldn’t believe he won first place for “on the spot tattooing” — you work on your entry with a lot of people watching.

“During that time my canvass was the back of my wife Faye, and the subject was a portrait of my kids,” Elenzano said.

He said that to do a single portrait tattoo normally takes about three to five hours to finish, just for one face. He did the three portraits of his children in only three and a half hours.

He also topped the “Best Dragon” category at the same festival

Elenzano said the feeling of satisfaction after finishing a tattoo is priceless.

“I’m happy if the client is happy. It is very rewarding if the clients like it, especially if the design is meaningful for them.”

During his spare time, Elenzano likes to watch movies with his family. He loves action, comedy and real-life stories.

“When I go to the movies I want to enjoy and be happy when I leave the cinema — I stay away from dramas.”

He also loves to do carpentry jobs and fruit carving.

“There were some young people who asked me if I could teach them how to do tattoos, but I didn’t see sincerity and passion in any of them. I could not feel a genuine interest to learn. To be a good tattoo artist the very first thing you should know is how to draw.”

He taught his children the art of tattooing but only one is interested in it.

Elenzano said there are no shortcuts to professionalism.

“Safety and quality are what counts most in the real world of tattooing. Authentic tattoo artists are trained by professional service providers.”

He added, “In tattoo, cheaper is not better. Cheap is not good, and good is not cheap.”

For samples of his work, check out Edong Elenzano’s Facebook page, or his MegaVision El Drako Tattoo page also on Facebook.