Spotlight on Zhuo Dan Ting
Zhuo Dan Ting, aka Ms. Ting, was coined “China’s First Lady of Tattoo” by CNN after opening one of Shanghai’s top tattoo shops. Now the colorful artist—who’s known for photo-realism pieces—has opened a second Shanghai Tattoo on Historic Folsom’s Sutter Street. Growing up with an art teacher dad, Ting has been doodling since childhood and currently creates beautiful works on both canvas and skin. “My future goal is to keep learning and growing as an artist,” says Ting. “I want to be someone people trust when getting a quality tattoo...knowing when I’m done they’ll have [something they can] proudly wear for the rest of their lives.”
HLN: How does your Chinese heritage influence your art?
ZDT: When I was 16, I enrolled in art college in Harbin, China, where I studied the craft in a more professional setting. While there, I was introduced to tattooing—after getting my first one on my arm—and was fascinated by the fact that art could be put on skin permanently versus paper. From that point, I knew I wanted to be a tattoo artist and made it my mission to learn how to do so. At that time, there weren’t many tattoo shops in Harbin, so it wasn't easy to learn how. I ended up traveling around China, learning and studying, and opened my first tattoo shop in 2003.
HLN: As a female in a male-dominated industry, have there been challenges?
ZDT: I’ve never really noticed any challenges of being a female tattoo artist and just do my thing, not paying much attention to the stigmas around me. The biggest challenge is simply mastering my craft and being the best. I feel I’m still growing as an artist, trying different styles and never settling for being okay at just one.
HLN: Aside from tattooing, what other works do you like to create?
ZDT: I never stop drawing; I can sit and doodle all day long. I love going down to the water or in nature with my notepad and pencils, chilling out, listening to birds, watching the water flow, and feeling the breeze. I also love sculpting with clay, painting, and playing guitar. Here and there, I suffer from burnout, which is why I need to be outdoors often…clearing my head and enjoying Mother Earth.
HLN: What attracted you to Folsom?
ZDT: I’d lived in a big city for a long time and needed something [completely different]. When searching for places to open a second location, I was prompted to check out a property in Folsom and immediately fell in love with the charm of [Sutter Street], along with the surrounding nature, nightlife, and community. It’s the perfect place! Since opening, I’ve made some awesome new friends—from pigs and dogs to loyal customers I consider family.