Rich and Ross in Hong Kong interview

Richard Phipson. Ross Turpin. Both names known in the South African hardcore scene. They both played in Crossingpoint (Rich played drums, Ross played bass), and a few other bands; most recently Richard singing in Joburg band Compass, and Ross playing bass for Durban’s Towers. Both graphic designers, they have always been pretty active in art, Ross often organising and participating in exhibitions. Rich was the first to quit his job in advertising and get a job tattooing in Joburg (at the time a pretty recently acquired skill). Ross was obviously inspired and learnt to tattoo as well, tattooing many people in Durban, including me. After a show one night, Ross told me not to tell anyone, but he and Rich had bought a tattoo studio in Hong Kong, and were moving before the end of the year. Before anyone knew it, they were gone. Apparently they are doing well, and enjoying the culture shock and new lifestyles. They are two of the raddest dudes I know, and I am proud to call them my friends. I spoke to Ross about their move.

If you wanna see some of their work, look them up on or check out Ross’ Hong Kong blog and Rich’s.

So why the move to Hong Kong?

For fun! We were getting bored with our 9 to 5’s and needed to just change things up.

Weirdest tattoo you’ve done?

A fruit basket!

Raddest tattoo you’ve done?

Hard to say, but probably zombie praying hands.

Favourite tattoo artist?

Eish! I’m more inspired by fine artists like Heiko Muller and Conrad Botes, but I do love the tattoo art of Joel Madberg and the always amazing Nick Baxter.

What’s the tattoo industry in SA like compared to Hong Kong’s?

Well, it’s hard to say at this point. There is a lot more money in Hong Kong, so people aren’t as stingy about paying for tattoos, but the people in Hong Kong, just like Durban, are pretty conservative, so most of Star Crossed’s (our studio) customers are tourists.

What do you think about tattoo artist territoriality? Have you guys experienced any of it?

I have never experienced it and I hope I never do. It is completely stupid! It can only hurt the art industry in the long run, but I guess the guilty parties are probably too short-sighted and selfish to ever understand that.

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