From the Cordillera to New York – Vancouver tattoo artist wins big in New York


Filipino Canadian artist Mayo Landicho became the pride of Vancouver’s most celebrated tattoo artists as he added another award to his name.

In June this year, he won 1st & 2nd Place awards for the “Best Tribal” tattoos at the Urban Tattoo Convention in New York.  He likewise won top prize at the Westcoast Tattoo Show in 2012 and Westrock Tattoo Convention in 2013.

His inspiration as a tattoo artist: “Arts, it’s something that is permanent, and represents who you are… the artistic and cultural aspect about it… I just love doing art on someone else’s skin,” Landicho said.

Award winning tattoo artist Mayo Landicho.

Award winning tattoo artist Mayo Landicho.

Modern day tattoo artist Mayo Landicho’s talents go beyond his expectations as he went on a dangerous journey and explored the village of Kalinga to meet the last Kalinga tattoo artist in the world.

Humbled and honored to receive his own personal tattoo from the 94-year-old traditional tattoo-tapping ‘batok elder’, he diligently learned the traditional technique and practiced his newfound skill on the elderly Whang-Od. Happy with the outcome, Whang-Od gave her blessings to Landicho to use the age-old tradition of hand tapping in the modern world.

“The best part of this journey is meeting a lot of people and amazing artists that inspire me more… learning more about different cultures and their deeper cultural connection with the body art… being recognized for what I do and representing my own ethnic or cultural roots in body art which is something unique and truly ours… and keeping our tradition and identity through the art of tattooing”, Landicho added.   

In addition to being a tattoo artist, Mayo is also an amazing musician.

If having to choose between being a musician and a tattoo artist, he said, “it’s really hard to choose between a tattoo artist and a musician…but playing music is more spiritual for me. It’s something’ that makes me feel really good… and I can do anywhere… more freedom, more expression. Tattooing on the other hand would be more of a collaboration with the customer because it’s their body and it will be on their skin forever. Once in a while some customer gives me total freedom to do my own style. I just freehand everything.”

Being one of the most sought after tattoo artists, Landicho dares to share his knowledge and new technique from the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon inspired by Kalinga’s Whang-Od. You’ll be surprised how this artist wows his top name clients with his original designs at his Birthmark Tattoos refer to as “Vancouver’s Best Kept Secret”.

His advice to those who are scared of getting tattoos, “Just conquer your fear, choose your artist wisely, and go to a professional and respected artist. Do it right the first time. Tattooing now a days is a well-accepted and respected form of art. Get something that is meaningful to you — something about your family, ethnicity, culture, spirituality. So you won’t regret it someday. Open up your mind and just do it. You’ll be surprised how great you’ll feel after. It’s really hard to criticize what you don’t understand.”


About the Writer

Luisa Marshall

Luisa Marshall is a singer, performer, tribute artist, TV host, editor, scriptwriter, producer and anti-bullying advocate based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her internationally acclaimed and award winning Tina Turner Tribute show has enabled her to share her passion and love of the arts through music and often uses her talents to donate her time and efforts to various charitable causes all over the world. Her popular TV show, Simply the Best, is a local independent production on the Shaw Multicultural Channel and aims to inspire, educate and entertain Filipino and mainstream viewers alike.

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