So I came here from Australia 6 months ago to start my Tattoo Studio Sovannaphum Tattoo Studio in Siem Reap, it is a tourist meca because of the Ankhor Wat temples and has hundreds of thousands of people visit every year. So I came here very excited to set up my studio and begin Tattooing the Tattoo fashion that I was so used to in Australia. However what I have discovered is that the local market here is very conservative and that although the younger generations of Cambodian’s like Tattoo art many are not willing to wear tattoo fashion on their bodies yet. Especially large tattoo’s like full sleeves, Leg Sleeves and full Back Tattoo’s.
In western countries the Tattoo culture grew huge and exploded about 10 years ago, yet here in Cambodia modern tattoo culture has not yet become mainstream. So what I have realised is that my job with Sovannaphum Tattoo Studio is actually to promote tattoo art in a way that will make it valued by a larger section of the population in Cambodia.
Price is a major factor reducing the popularity of Tattoo as Cambodia is not a wealthy country the average wage for Cambodian people is low, so this means many people cannot afford to get large tattoo’s. If Khmer people pay low money for tattoo’s they often get poor quality tattoo art. When other Cambodia people see the poor quality tattoo’s they do not want to get tattooed themselves, so this reduces the spread of tattoo art. So in turn cheap poor quality tattoo art creates a tattoo culture that is not valued by Cambodian people, so this limits the growth of Tattoo culture here in Cambodia.
The only way I can see to break into this market and change the face of Cambodian Tattoo Culture is to produce affordable but high quality tattoo art at Sovannaphum Tattoo Studio. Plus I also have to produce a different style of advertising for my studio in Siem Reap. The idea is to create a Tattoo Trend that becomes valued by locals. Australia is one of the most heavily Tattooed populations of people in the world, which has created a Tattoo culture and Trend that is valued by society because of the high quality of Tattoo Art. Generations of people in Australia now have skin that is covered in amazing art from amazingly talented artists.
This same trend can take off here in Cambodia but it requires Khmer people to be adventurous, to spend a little bit more money on quality tattoo art and to come to value big quality Tattoo’s. Thailand has done this, Vietnam has done this and soon Cambodia will follow the Tattoo Trend that the rest of the world has embraced.