Homegrown tattoo artist Marcus Taisacan began making a mark in the lives of others when he was just 15 years old.
“I started drawing in elementary because of my love for art and my dad was a big part of that because of his influence. He was not a tattoo artist but loved to draw faces, portrait kind of art… I didn’t have the real machine then, so what I did was I took my mother’s music player and broke it so I can take the motor inside and made my own machine,” he said.
Now the owner of Marked4Life tattoo in Garapan, Taisacan said he was self-taught. “No one actually taught me how to do tattoos. All I had were imagination, ideas, and a passion for creating fine art.
“It was really challenging when I started in the 1990’s because, back then, the internet wasn’t accessible, unlike now,” he added.
There is no degree required to become a tattoo artist but innate artistic ability is a start. “I started by messing around with my cousins and close friends…I was drawing on paper and I used a carbon paper or stencil if it’s tribal art to transfer it to the skin,” Taicasan said.
“Now, when people come to me for their first tattoo, it is meaningful both ways. For them it is personal as they have their loved ones’ names tattooed. Sometimes it is a memorial to remind them of a special person that has passed on and sometimes they just want to be different from the rest. As for me, it is meaningful because of the trust and confidence that my customers have in me.”
Taicasan believes in freely expressing one’s self and encourages clients to state what art they want done. “I don’t have flash art and most of the time people come in and tell me what they actually want. I take images but I change it up a little bit, enhance it so it will be an original but, of course, with the client’s consent because some just want the image the way it is,” he said.
“Like in other aspects of life, tattoo takes time. I tell my clients when they come in that don’t expect that it will be finished right away. Art takes time, especially the big and detailed ones. Some take many sessions and I explain to them that it’s a process,” he said.
In pursuing art and choosing human skin as his canvas, Taicasan finds joy in tattooing every day. “The thought of leaving a mark on people makes me more passionate about tattooing. I never thought that this time would actually come—that I’m doing it, running my own shop and putting art on people. I started when I was 15 years old and 23 years later, I am still doing it,” he said.
“When I see clients around town with their tattoo, it makes me happy to see them express themselves and flaunt the art that they have in their bodies. …To date I’ve put my mark on more than a thousand clients and I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon,” he added.