Check out Jhay Colis’ humble beginnings as a tattoo artist.

Overshadowed by Aurora Avenue’s darkness and the jeeps bounding Marikina Valley lies a former one stop shop that caters needs for graffiti artists, skaters, underground music fans, and students who study within its belt called Wharf Plaza. Best known for the motorcycles sold in front of this scene complex, a buzzing sound can be heard coming from Jhay Colis Tattoo Shop. 

READ: What You Need to Know Before Getting a Tattoo

For thirteen years Jhay Colis has made his name in the tattoo industry. Creating layers and colors and sinking into the skin from traditional american to trash polka designs. These days he is working with his co-tattooists,  former mentee Lowbat Carino (also as a skateboard champ), and Rafael Escasinas.

Photo from Jhay Colis

Lining his way into the tattoo scene, this multi-awarded artist told us that he first fell in love with the craft when he was still studying in Far Easter University. As a Morayta boy he said his bandmate made him interested in the craft. He added that as a fine arts student, he has sunken deeper into the new art medium. 

 Photo from Jhay Colis

This made Jhay continue, even mentioning that his friends were his first practice skin. After that, he was mentored by tattoo veterans Randy Buenaventura and Bong Chan. 

Shading his way to be a professional, he told Freebie MNL that he stayed for a year in his first tattoo employer called Skin & Style tattoo. He then became a house artist in Sir Daniel Tattoo Shop for another year. After that, he was able to secure employment with the staple 55 Tinta. And after years of hard work, he was able to save up and open his own tattoo shop. 

Apart from the studio that fuels his passion for the arts, Colis said that tattooing was able to aid his family’s financial problems. This is also where I gained a lot of friends. As for his work ethic, tattooing taught him how to be patient. 

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Photo from Jhay Colis

Stable hands is how former 55 Tinta colleague Alvin Gantioque described his ethic. He also added that Jhay creates fine linings and even shadings while securing that needles sink into the skin properly. This skill gives flawless healing to every piece that he makes. Gantioque also said that Jhay has marked solid ideas and experiments to his craft. 

Knowing the people Jhay has tattooed, one of them might be familiar. If you happen to follow Carla Abellana for her vlogs and IG posts you might have crossed paths with her heart tattoo, inked by yours truly.

Apart from celebrities like Carla Abellana and Guji Lorenzana, Jhay’s portfolio includes musicians and people from the same scene, which are mostly rock staples. The list includes Danita Paner, Dong Abay, Ariel Lumanlan (Chicosci), Paul Cañada (Franco), Enzo Ruidera (Queso),  Nicolo Nimor (Nick Automatic), and Jason “Puto” Astete (Kamikazee). 

Buo dapat ang loob (whole hearted) is Jhay’s advice for first timers. He also expounded that they need to be certain about the design, and that they need to make sure to take proper sleep, and fit their body. 

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Photo from Jhay Colis

In case you want to check out his works follow Jhay Colis Tattoo Shop on Facebook or Instagram. You can also visit them at 1010 Wharf Plaza, Aurora blvd. Project 4, Quezon City.

ALSO READ: Inspired Ink: People Talk About Their Most Memorable Tattoos and What Went into Getting Them

Featured Image by Macky Arquilla


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