We had the good fortune of connecting with Chai Sun Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chai, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to permanently marking others, the anxiety of risk-taking can be strong! Nonetheless, I have made huge strides in my tattooing by making several minor adjustments, which all scared me to a degree. We’ve got to shake the mind up to build new pathways! Regardless of success or failure– lessons learned add up to consistent growth.

But the best skill I’ve gleaned from taking risks: the confidence to take more risks.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a tattoo artist who specializes in color realism. When embarking upon my tattoo journey, I thought, “what would I feel good about reiterating in the world”? Simply, “Nature” stood out as number one. So I get really excited when people ask for Earthy concepts.

Drawing on skin is really fun–hard, but fun. Besides that, what really motivates me is getting to know people and fine-tune the tattoo to their personalities, then spending time with them and seeing how people glow when the piece comes to fruition. Tattoos can really do remarkable things for self-confidence and identity, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Come to the nearest overgrown ditch. We can seek wild herbs and bugs.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One of the most critical people to my career has been Robert Lucky (@RobertLuckyArt) who gave me an opportunity that has made this all work. Before him, I had an incomplete apprenticeship because I have two kids, and couldn’t afford to be unpaid. We were seriously struggling.

I reached out to many shops hoping they would give me a chance to tattoo for real. So many turned me down, yet Robert Lucky, said yes. And the rest is basically history. He just observed my work for a while and then allowed me to proceed when he knew I had it under control.

He and I continue to work together and have a very functional and respectful scenario going on. I’m not sure if he even knows how much of an impact his grace has had on my kids having a decent life too. Thank you, Rob!

Instagram: @chai.sun.lee

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