I was at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for the Filipino American History Month celebration today helping teach the pre-Filipino writing system, Baybayin. I’ve been actively participating at these events for the past 2 years and have yet to see Filipino tattoo art fully represented.
With all other art forms such as painting, Baybayin, cooking, fashion, dancing, singing, rapping, poetry, FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) and etc are all well represented but where is the Filipino Tattoo community? I get asked about Filipino tattoos, especially tribal patterns 50x at every event. My experience is in San Francisco Bay Area but I assume that other regions across the USA/world are probably in the same situation. What about in the Philippines? Is there some sort of FREE education? There might be but I don’t see it on the internet and in this modern world, if it’s not on the internet – it doesn’t exist…..period. It may exist in your local area but in order to spread/keep the culture, it has to be online.
I fully understand that these cultural events are usually on the weekends and that’s your busiest times but maybe the investment in your own culture is worth it? What is the point of trying to preserve/spread the culture if you only teach people who can afford to pay? I’m all for capitalism but it’s a big contradiction.
From a business standpoint, it’s stupid to teach your craft or the meanings of “secret” tribal tattoo patterns but from a cultural one, it’s blah. I can tell you from personal experience by teaching Baybayin for FREE and giving out FREE materials to ANYONE who asks has been rewarding culturally, personally and financially. If someone steals my artwork and does their own thing, so what…..let them. I’ll just have to step it up. If I can’t, then so be it.
So my ask is of Filipino tattoo artists is…..please share your knowledge of Filipino tattoos. Don’t leave out the good 99% of your fellow Pinoys because your scared of the 1% that might take advantage of what you know. There’s a BIG hole in the Filipino tattoo community. If you don’t fill it, someone else will and it will be your loss. Need help or exposure, contact me and I will be gladly to assist.