Chris Showstoppr is a man who likes to make his mark wherever he goes – literally.
His talent as a tattoo artist has taken him all around the world, where he’s won several high-profile awards at international conventions. But the Samoan New Zealand-born artist isn’t bothered about accolades or prizes. For him, it’s all about the art.
“I’m always aiming to create something that’s out of the box for my clients,” he says. “I love designing something that makes people say ‘wow’.”
Just one part of Chris’ skill involves updating old tattoos to give his clients new ink that better represents who they are now. Joining forces with Removery, the world’s leading laser tattoo removal company, means Chris is confident his clients will arrive with half of the work already done, and with their skin in great condition for a new tattoo.
“Knowing that I can recommend my clients to a professional studio like Removery gives me peace of mind,” says Chris.
Part of Chris’ success is that he understands his clients’ needs. “Lots of people want new ink over something old – it happens all the time,” he says. “It can be because styles have changed, or the tattoo doesn’t look great anymore. I always recommend people lighten or fade tattoos first at Removery, because it gives me so many more options when I’m doing a new piece of art over the top.”
He has several clients who’ve had great results after having an old tattoo partially removed. One particular success story is a client who wanted to lighten a tiger on his thigh. “He’d had it done in Thailand and didn’t like it anymore,” says Chris. “I suggested he have it faded at Removery before we covered it up. After three sessions, it had lightened enough for me to work on a new design without it showing through. Now he’s got a full leg sleeve with an oriental realism design.”
Even the tattoo master himself has changed his mind about some ink. “My favourite tattoo is a gender reveal that my wife did for me when we were expecting our son,” he says. “But I’m about to cover it up. I’m blacking out my arm and looking to find a Japanese artist to do white oriental flowers on it. Everyone changes their mind sometimes.”
Chris started his tattoo journey in his parents’ kitchen in 2009. “I was always good at art, and already had a couple of tattoos that I loved,” he says. “So, I bought a cheap tattoo kit online and I started to tattoo my mates. I set myself up on the kitchen table. One of the boys had already had a tattoo which needed filling in, so I coloured it in for him.”
But Chris had found something he was passionate about, and he kept practising whenever he could. “I covered up my mum’s scars with flowers,” he says. “I was always messaging people to see if they wanted to come over so I could ink them.”
When Chris lost his full-time job, it was the right time to get serious about his hobby. “Tattooing was my only fallback,” he says. “I had to make it work.” Gradually he bought more kit, and his dad let him move from the kitchen to the lounge room, so he had some more space. “I set it up like a little studio,” he says. “I’d charge people between $20 and $40 per tattoo as I was still learning. But it was a start.”
After Chris got some hands-on experience working in a New Zealand studio for a couple of years, he and his wife Teejay moved to Australia in 2012. “We moved to Sydney where I was working graveyard shifts in a studio, from 6pm to 2am,” Chris says. “There were lots of people coming in drunk – it wasn’t the sort of work I wanted.” The couple then moved to Melbourne, and Chris started working in a more stable studio. “By then, my goal was to have my own place,” he says. “That was always the dream.”
Little did he know just two years later his life would look very different. In 2014 he went to a tattoo convention and entered some of the competitions. He didn’t win anything, but was determined to return the following year and try his luck again. He did – and came home with five awards. “The tattoo that really put me on the map was an old man in front of a burning church,” he recalls. “He was lighting up a cigarette like he just burnt the church down. I got a lot of stick for it, but it was just art. It’s probably my favourite piece.”
After his name became known in the industry, Chris’ career skyrocketed quickly. He travelled the world attending conventions – and winning awards wherever he went.
Today, Chris has several international accolades to his name, a long list of clients, and his own studio in Melbourne. “It was pretty awesome knowing I had enough people who wanted to come and see me that I could open my own place,” he says.
But it’s not success that drives him; he’s more interested in continuously pushing the boundaries. “I do a lot of black and grey designs, called ‘silverwashing’, and a lot of hyperrealism too,” he says. “I always want to do something different, cooler than the last time.”
He works closely with clients to determine what they want, then goes away and does his own research. “I find images online that inspire me, and make it all work together,” he says.
“I usually design everything the night before the tattoo is done. That’s when I work best.”
Chris’ work is so exceptional because he designs for specific body parts, rather than drawing a flat design that is placed onto the body. “If the client wants something on their arm, I’ll design the tattoo specifically for that – if there’s a face it needs to turn towards the chest, otherwise it can warp when the shoulder moves.”
Although Chris’ children, Jaxx, three, and Maddox, one, don’t understand how famous their dad is in the world of tattoos, they’re already following in his footsteps. “Jaxx has been drawing on himself, showing me his designs,” smiles Chris. “He loves it.”
It’s no surprise that his children love ink as much as he does. “There’s something addictive about it,” he says. “Most of my clients are regulars and come back every few months. Everyone wants cool artwork, and there’s always something new out there to do.”
Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective tattoo removal option available today. Removery is the only tattoo removal company to provide a complete removal guarantee. Book your complimentary consultation with our laser tattoo removal experts today – they’ll explain the process, answer your questions, and provide a personalised quote for removal.
Removery offers a range of flexible payment options too, including Afterpay, Humm and Zip. Starting from $16 per week for a smaller tattoo – effectively the cost of a few cups of coffee a week for the duration of your treatment.
Call (03) 4149 9763 or visit neboremoverstg.wpengine.com.au to find your nearest Removery studio and book a complimentary tattoo removal consultation.
We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colours, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.