Dr Woo has never received an actual doctorate; his given name is Brian and he is one of the modern world’s most celebrated tattoo artists. His intricate, hyper-realistic single needle craft has earned him a long list of celebrity clientele; Justin Bieber, Zoë Kravitz, Emilia Clarke, Bella Hadid et al. and a legion of Instagram followers (1.7 million) at time of publish. But Woo never sought out the kind of notoriety that comes with celebrity or proximity to it. Motivated by his creative and entrepreneurial curiosities and future proofing a “decent life” for his young family; he has pioneered a trajectory that is propelled by his artistry and physical talent but exists beyond the individual. Tattoo remains his core craft, his reason to be, though he says, “It is the fuel that energizes all the projects I do outside of what I do.”
Doing outside of what Woo does can mean anything from collaborating with leading cultural brands like Converse, Lamborghini, Moncler and Japanese apparel brand Sacai in the realm of design capsules and creative consult. Designing and curating his own appointment only tattoo shop, Hideaway @ Suite X located at the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, or his most recent foray into physical product and brand building with the launch of namesake beauty brand, Project Woo Skincare; designed with both sensitive skin and tattoo aftercare in mind. After shooting GAP’s Individuals campaign in New York City, Woo rolled across town to his long-time friend photographer, Andrew Arthur’s East Village studio who lensed these photos for Puss Puss Magazine. Between takes, we spoke about the Woo universe, identity, motivation, inspiration, his fears and focus.
CB: Is that where Project Woo Skincare came from, tell me more about it?
DW: The Woo Skincare Essentials was born out of one of my creative, entrepreneurial curiosities, if you will. I always loved the idea of brand building and using my creative aspects to touch on those things and see if I can create something desirable and have its own point of view. Skincare seems like such an unexpected turn I think for me, but working so closely to skin for so long, I think it was a natural marriage.
I grew up with sensitive skin even before all the tattoos and once I started getting tattoos, I realised I wasn’t the kind of kid that could just go buy anything from the pharmacy and just put it on and it would heal, I did have to go through some trial and error with different product because my skin was so sensitive. My whole idea was just to create a product for people that have sensitive and all skin types and kids like me. People who have or don’t have tattoos but appreciate a clean product. Everything we do is earth conscious, we minimise our footprint, and use all clean ingredients. There are people like me and I feel there’s a community out there and it’s fun to create a product that speaks to that specifically. Also having that product be top of the line and made with great integrity.