Photography Eduardo Martins

Permanent art

For local Macau tattoo artist Grace Pun, the human skin is the ultimate canvas.

The location of Macau’s Muse Tattoo shop is first and foremost unique, much like its artist and owner herself. Located in a commercial building in Nape – the business district of Macau – it is best known for the black and navy ensembles of the business folk that grace its towering office blocks.

So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to find a tattoo shop nestled within its heart, complete with the flamboyance of owner Grace Pun – also known as Grace Punx.

“I added an ‘x’ to my last name to make it sound more unique I guess,” Grace says as she welcomes us in.

Wearing a black t-shirt and short denim shorts matched with neon green knee length socks and fur-soled slider shoes, Grace is every bit the artist – unique, funky and artistic. It’s a long way from the style of her business district neighbors, but having earned her degree in Fashion Photography from the University of the Arts – London College of Fashion, being different has long been her passion.

In her childhood, Grace tells us she would find herself drawing on her friends’ arms with colorful markers. Fast forward to her teenage years and it was skateboards and leather jackets attracting her artistic touch.

“Back then, when you had tattoos, it was something people looked down upon,” she recalls. “Now it is more a means of self-expression. If one is heavily tattooed, people will stare, so why not make it worthwhile?”

There is no doubt Grace stands out from the crowd. With tattoos up and down her body, piercings and a semi-Mohawk hairstyle, she offers only the slightest smirk throughout our conversation. Yet the reality is that Grace is a softly spoken person, far from the hard edge her outer look portrays. Her distinctive openness is one of the traits her loyal customers find so appealing.

“I had this Winnie The Pooh tattoo done because it reminds me of my family,” she says, pointing at her arm. “This was one of the first tattoos I ever had and now I’m running out of space to put tattoos on!”

Likewise, Grace doesn’t view her shop so much as a business but a means to create art.

“I tattoo a lot of different people,” she explains. “My oldest customer is a 69-year-old man. Now that he has retired from the corporate world, he has more freedom to do what makes him happy.”

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