Sha’an Waves by Wiji

Emerging into the Philippines’ urban art world became a rarer and rarer task for me as PEARLS grew. But, if it wasn’t for PEARLS, I wouldn’t have met the illustrative wunderkind Luigi “Wiji” Lacsamana.

Photo by Clavel Magazine

Project PEARLS volunteer Anne and I often talked about the versatility of tattooists’ ability to ingrain a wide array of paintings on beings. The first time we conversed in admiration of these artisans, she insisted that I meet her friend Wiji.

Wiji, originally an illustrator, is known for her watercolor-like tattoos.
After Anne showed me some of her work, I knew I had to get color from her one day.

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Luigi’s home tattoo parlor

That day came last month during my previous trip back to the homeland.


The most common question people ask when they see either of my tattoos is “Did it hurt?”
Well. Of course it did. But due to good talks with Wiji, attention easily steered elsewhere.


Among the many topics we touched on, art and Pilipinos consistently found its way back into conversation. More and more Pilipino artists are emerging these days and consequently, the “conventional” standards and expectations set upon us are beginning to break.

And, regarding Pilipino expectations, we also spoke about how Pilipina artists break even more of these standards. And what Wiji prides herself as a Pilipina artist is that many of our country’s upcoming tattooists are womyn.


The piece Wiji adorned onto my skin is a rendition of a painting by Sha’an d’Anthes.

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My friend Stephanie and I always link each other to artists we love so much that we feel the need to share.
Sha’an, an artist from Australia is among the many and certainly in the top favorites. What I admire about this furrylittlepeach is her persistence in utilizing and improving her craft, her imagination, and the fact that she is only 21 and already proving that all the above can get you far.

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Like Sha’an, I grew up next to the ocean and the beach was my security blanket.
Its waves sang me to sleep, its sunsets soothed long days, and its sand soaked in the impacts of my frustration as I ran across it.

This painting, to me, embodies the solace the ocean can bring.


I absolutely love the original but I needed a few personalizations for the tattoo.
The color palette lightened to reflect the sea’s green and blue hues. And instead of sharks, hibiscuses float peacefully in her exaggerated strands.IMG_2437

Check out more work by Wiji here and Sha’an’s right here!

photo credits to Christopher Nguyen
– ChiChai@Empire

One Comment Add yours

  1. James says:

    Ah, Wiji is really amazing! I really like that tattoo she did on you, and I must say that it suits you. She did one on me also, a phoenix catching it’s first flames on my left wrist. A phoenix rising.

    Anyway, great blog. I’ll definitely be back to backread. Cheers!

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