Jimmy Wong — Thailand’s Tattoo Legend



Without question, Southeast Asia’s most famous tattoo artist who has been leaving behind a legacy of tattoo stylings (and inflicting a little pain along the way) for over 36 years. Even if you haven’t been fortunate enough to get inked by Jimmy, you have most likely have heard about him if you are a tattoo enthusiast—either from someone who has gotten inked by him, or someone who visited his cramped studio on Sukhumvit Soi 5 in Bangkok.


I am not surprised by the number of hits my blog gets every day from people doing a Google search for Jimmy Wong. Nor does the number of people who write to me personally after visiting my blog wanting more information about Jimmy and how to contact him surprise me. After all, if you’re going to be travelling in Thailand and you’re thinking about getting inked, it is definitely worth your while to make a special effort while you are there to get that tattoo from Jimmy.

It’s been a little over three years since I first came across his studio one Sunday morning and noticed him through the plate glass window of his dark studio hunched over his desk—illuminated by a small lamp—working on what appeared to be a tattoo design. Later that night I went back to his studio and met Jimmy for the first time. I was in the mood for a tattoo (which is all the time these days) and Jimmy said he would work up some “Asian design” for me. The next night I was back at his studio and as soon as I saw the design he had drawn, I was in the chair getting my first tattoo from Jimmy


Looking back now, that first tattoo from Jimmy changed my life forever. It was not only the beginning of our friendship, but it also brought me in contact with many people from around the world who also have the same passion for tattoos and who have heard of Jimmy. Aside from someone stopping in to get inked by Jimmy, many times it was a tattoo artist traveling in Thailand who had to stop in and pay Jimmy a courtesy call. Other times, it was just someone who had heard of Jimmy and his work, like the one guy from France who had to stop in and meet the man who had inked Johnny Thunders for the last time.

Then there was Jimmy Wong’s First World Tattoo Arts Festival and Exhibition in February 2006. Again, if I hadn’t stopped in at Jimmy’s shop that March night in 2004, I would have never flown to Bangkok for the weekend to attend the Tattoo Festival, would have never gotten my first Japanese-style tattoo and win a tattoo contest and would have never met Kenny Shangrila who is now my best friend.

And to take it one step further—and keeping with the “theme” of this blog—if I hadn’t met Kenny, I would have never gone to Japan last November and would have never met Horisei and Yuuki.

Yeah, “One Night in Bangkok” changed everything.


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12 Responses to “Jimmy Wong — Thailand’s Tattoo Legend”

  1. Anonymous May 19, 2007 at 3:40 am # Reply

    Jeff pls let me know when your tattoo is finish :)
    Gibby

  2. Jeffrey Miller May 19, 2007 at 3:50 am # Reply

    Thanks for your comments Gibby. You will be one of the first people to know when my ink by Jimmy is finished.

  3. Ben May 22, 2007 at 2:43 am # Reply

    Hey Jeffery,
    I got inked by jimmy Wong last august; I got a half sleeve done by him. When I was in the shop he told me he has a tattoo magazine he puts out every year. I was wondering if you knew anything about it or if you could ask jimmy when you see him where or how I can get a copy.

    Thanks man,
    Ben

  4. Jeffrey Miller May 22, 2007 at 2:55 am # Reply

    Thanks for comments Ben. Nice to meet someone else who has been inked by the master. I am going to see Jimmy this weekend and I will ask him about the magazine. I will get back to you soon here with what I find out.

  5. Jessica May 25, 2007 at 5:09 am # Reply

    I will be going to Thailand for the month of July.. is it difficult to get an appointment with Jimmy? I have heard of him and wanted to get some of my sleeve done by him while I was over there.

    -Jessica

  6. Jeffrey Miller May 27, 2007 at 12:58 pm # Reply

    Thanks for your comments Jessica.
    July would be a good time to pay a visit to Jimmy (I will also be there for most of the month). I suggest giving him a call (his number is on my blog) and let him know you are coming to Bangkok and that you are interested in getting some ink done by him. Then, when you get to Bangkok just stop in at his shop and talk about what you are interested in. Maybe he will even set up an appointment for you when you call (please tell him that you have talked to me…that helps sometimes). {Please let me know what you find out.

  7. Ben June 12, 2007 at 4:48 pm # Reply

    hey jeffery i havbe been checking ur blog for an update with my question about the magazine… i was wondering if you asked jimmy?

  8. Jeffrey Miller June 13, 2007 at 10:27 pm # Reply

    Hey Ben, how’s it going? Yeah, I talked to Jimmy about the magazine and he said that he had published one in the past, but he doesn’t now. It would be nice if he could publish one again soon. By the way, I heard that there’s going to be another tattoo convention in Bangkok next year in February or March. I will keep you posted. Thanks again for your comments and for visiting my blog.

  9. Jason June 20, 2008 at 5:05 am # Reply

    I envy you, Jeff!

  10. Dave Cartman May 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm # Reply

    Hi Jeffery,

    Do you have an email address for Jimmy? I work in Thailand & have a picture of what I would like. Could you help me out?

    • Jeffrey May 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm # Reply

      Dave,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Sorry, I don’t have his email address and it’s been three years since I last saw him. I am not even sure if his shop is still on Sukhumvit Soi 5–it was the last time I was there in 2007.

  11. Dai Cann October 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm # Reply

    Nice feature!
    Khun Jimmy Wong was still at Sukhumvit Soi 5 this January,under the Fortuna Hotel where he’s been since the 70’s.He is a very good-hearted and enthusisatic guy,and held in high regard by people who like good tattoos,and people who like good people.He also turns up for work quite some time after midnight when it’s less hot & chaotic.His daughter Joy has a studio very close to her father,and his son has a studio in MBK shopping centre,but travellers should be aware that there are now many other unconnected tattoo studios in Bangkok of widely varying standards & ethics.

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