According to the interview The Deck Zine had with Richie, the idea of being a professional artist only struck him while he was enrolled in a military preparatory school. It happened because his sketchbooks were one of the main sources of entertainment Richie had for the duration of his stay in the army institution — he was in the middle of nowhere, there were no cellular devices allowed or any interaction with women, so paper was definitely the best bet. Thankfully though, his work caught the attention of one of his teammates, who then bought one for $40.
Making his first ‘sale’ wasn’t what prompted him to venture down this career path though, Richie found out later that said teammate had paid a tattoo artist $350 to get his skin permanently marked with Richie’s artwork, to which Richie responded to by saying, “… that $350 was supposed to be mine!” Then, he slowly became involved in the tattoo community and attended a party where he met his future mentor who shared his knowledge with Richie to get him started as an artist.
Soon after that, Ritchie began working, from his girlfriend’s home to his college dormitory, and after saving enough money, he opened his own studio called Think Before You Ink. It’s been 10 years since he decided to “use skin as his canvas,” as he says, and it’s definitely one of the best decisions he made for himself. Plus, how could anybody not want to get work from an artist who gave someone a Simba tattoo? We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives.
Richie will be in Kuala Lumpur next week and currently has a guest spot at Shipwreck Tattoos in Damansara Heights for a few days before the launch of his collection with PMC, and will be doing a live tattoo session during the event itself as well. So, if you’ve been wondering what the process is like and how some people find the pain of the needle more soothing than it is painful, PMC’s store in Bangsar is where you need to be next Saturday.
He’s open to working on custom designs during his short stint in KL but has also put up pre-designed pieces for adoption – each one requires a RM100 deposit. Here are some of the designs that are available:
Richie will be a Shipwreck Tattoos guest artist from Wednesday 28 June til Friday 30 June, and at Pestle and Mortar’s flagship store in Bangsar to launch the capsule collection on Saturday 1 July. The capsule collection includes two t-shirts, a dad cap, and a bomber jacket.