Juki Tattoo Studio: No Pain? No Gain!

Juki Tattoo Studio: No Pain? No Gain!


I’ve been ailing for a new tattoo for a number of months already. I have repeatedly mentioned this to my close friends and I have occasionally announced my ridiculous desire on my social network accounts. One time, when I posted something about wanting to get inked again, one of my friends, who’s also a tattoo artist, commented on my post and invited me to her shop.

This is how I came to feature Juki Tattoo Studio here on When in Manila.

Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio | All photos by Bijan Gorospe

Juki the Artist

Juki Tattoo Studio is ran by its owner and artist, Julie Ann Grafia, who’s commonly called as Juki by her friends and clients. Before she put up her own studio in Pasay City, Juki first became a tattoo artist at Vice Coffee & Ink in Makati City. She also worked as a creative and graphic designer at Dark Cloud Studios and Wedding Group One during her early years as an artist.

Juki was recently included in “Sting,” a local exhibit which showcased the works of 14 female tattoo artists. She won “Best Female Tattoo” at the Pacita Tattoo Convention in 2010 and bagged the third place of “Best in Small Piece” at the Steel & Skin, Motorcycle and Tattoo Festival in Baguio City. She was also featured on Markado Magazine and Dutdutan X (both in 2010), The Manila Times, and on Vice Ink TV show.

Studio Location

Juki Tattoo Studio‘s location is very accessible whether you’re going there with your own car or via commute. The shop is situated at Villamor Air Base, which is very near NAIA Terminal 3. Here’s a landmark tip—if you have seen the dome-like structure on the way to the airport, the one that lights in different colors at night, then you’re very near the spot. You can actually get off at the Barangay Hall across that, and you can just walk towards the shop. Her spot has a parking lot, too, so you don’t need to worry if you’re bringing a car.

From the outside, Juki’s studio looks comely. It is located along a busy and lively neighborhood, with nearby shops and stores, so a lot of passers-by are walk on the street. Inside, you can find her awards & recognition and various tattoo designs on the wall, a bunch of tattoo-related books, and the equipment she uses in the shelves. She also put up an Instax photo wall, where you can see her previous clients who got a tattoo from her.

Getting Inked by Juki

Last night wasn’t my first time to get inked by Juki. Last year, she inked my second tattoo: a 35mm film strip around my upper arm. And because we already know each other, I suppose our artist-client relationship is much better the second time around. I was more comfortable and relaxed with her, too.

My first two tattoos are in black and grey, so I really want to have all my future tattoos to be in monochrome to have a singular theme. I think it also suits my morena complexion, too.

Juki Tattoo Studio

Stenciling | Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio

The inking begins… | Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio

More inking… | Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio

…and more inking. | Juki Tattoo Studio

I’m a rabid feline lover so the tattoo design that I picked for my third tattoo is a cat that is made out of, uhm, more cats! It was originally designed by a famous tattoo artist, Horitomo and was inspired by a traditional Japanese ukiyo-e (woodblock printing) master from the 1800’s, Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Yup, I certainly did my research for this one so it’s pretty special for me!

Since I’m not new to needles, I was more relaxed when Juki was tattooing me last night. Bijan, who recently had his very first article on When in Manila published, was there to accompany me and to take pictures of the place. We just watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead while I was getting inked. The pain was much more tolerable compared to my previous experiences. Also, it may be a masochistic thing to say that I really missed the needle stings—and I really enjoyed how the ink machine repeatedly dug into my skin as well. Haha!

Juki Tattoo Studio

Just a few more stings… | Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio

And it’s done! | Juki Tattoo Studio

Ta-da! I really love how it came out. It approximately 4 inches in width & height and Juki only spent almost a couple of hours doing the piece. Here, you can see that the line work of the tattoo design is very crisp and well-defined. You can also clearly see all the cute cats, snuggling and spooning to form one big, snarling cat!

Juki Tattoo Studio

My two tattoos, both inked by Juki. | Juki Tattoo Studio

Juki Tattoo Studio

Pleased with my new piece! | Juki Tattoo Studio

Seeing my new tattoo was totally worth the wait and pain. There’s still a tingling sensation on my arm as I compose this write-up but also, I feel like I’m one step closer to becoming a real catwoman! Haha. Seriously, though, I really couldn’t wait for it to heal already so I could share its final, purr-fect look with you.

Meanwhile, here are some Tattoo Tips for you. I’m no tattoo expert, but here are a few things to keep in mind before and after getting a tattoo, especially if it’ll be your first time to get one:

1. A fresh tattoo is an open wound so you should protect it from germs and infection. While healing, you can always wash your tattoo with clean water and mild soap. Also, never dip in the pool or sea if you just got tattooed.

2. Also very important, never scratch your new tattoo, especially when it’s already shedding the scab. If you scratch it, you may accidentally remove some areas, which may result to uneven ink colors. You may apply petroleum jelly or lotion to soothe itching.

3. Consider the fact that tattoos age, too. Text or word tattoos may only look good for the first few years, especially if the size is small.

4. Be original, strategic, and creative! Tattoos are a lifetime commitment so make sure you that it’ll be worth it.

Verdict? I’m really, really happy with my third tattoo! If you were to ask me, I would definitely go back to Juki Tattoo Studio and get more tattoos from Juki. So, When in Manila and you’re looking for a great place to have a tattoo, visit Juki Tattoo Studio, ink up, and be happy & proud with it! You may inquire rates and schedule appointments by contacting Juki at the details below. Her shop is open from 1pm to 12mn during Mondays to Saturdays and from 5pm to 9pm on Sundays. Juki does piercings, too.


Juki Tattoo Studio

Inked by Julie Grafia of Juki Tattoo Studio

10th 1st St. Corner Villamor Air Base
Brgy. 183 Pasay City, Philippines

Website : Facebook Page
+63 915 700 5759


Juki Tattoo Studio: No Pain? No Gain!

All photos in this article were taken by my co-writer/photographer, Bijan Gorospe.


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