Where were you born and where are you from?
I was born in South Korea and now I live in Japan with my family.
How did you get introduced to the tattoo culture?
I wanted to be an Architect like, Antonio Gaudi, and I studied that for a long time in South Korea. I then went to Tokyo in 1998, which was just my 2nd step for studying to be an Architect.
One day I saw real Japanese tattoos by YAKUZA, It was absolutely the most AMAZING ART that I had ever seen.
I thought about this for 2 years and gave up my dream (to be an architect) for my new dream (tattoo artist).
I was determined to go the way of a TATTOO ARTIST. I just wanted to be a tattoo artist.
When did you get started?
Summer of 2001, in Tokyo, Japan.
Do you remember the first tattoo that you did?
It was a koi fish on my left arm, I did this on the day I bought my first tattoo machines in Tokyo. I brought them and I tried to set them to work. I did the Koi fish on my left arm soon after! I started to teach myself the art of tattooing in Tokyo. I practiced my first tattoos on my whole body (right arm, chest, belly etc.)!
And on my client, It was a big back Japanese dragon piece.
It happened about 7 month later from the day that I started to tattoo.
Which tattoo style do you like the most?
I am really enjoying Realistic tattoos now, it’s just one of my favorite styles. Most of my costumers like the way I do color realism, but I'm still working on creating my own style, every tattoo is different and the people that I work on usually have a story to tell. So I enjoy tattooing while learning from my customers, and a little about of their life’s in the process. Where they come from, what they like, and no matter what style of tattoo I’m doing, I enjoy it to the fullest!
What influences your artwork?
Everything! Art from all over the world and music. My client’s ideas, my friend’s ideas, to people who I met during my travelling and even people who I saw on the street. Yes, everything influences my work.
What would you say is the best part about tattooing?
People and people. Art and art. People and art. I meet different people every day and I make different art on them every day. This is the best part. Because I love people and art, and I can meet them both every day!! What an amazing Job!
What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
Please try to find your artist and if they are far away from your place, just fly out to meet them and get your first tattoo! You will have the best experience ever. And you will know the way to enjoy your life with your next artist and next tattoo. Please don't try to find artists only in your area. You need to spend money to make your life happy. Tattoos will be on your body forever, not on the wall in your house like someone’s painting.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Well, yes I do, but these words are not about my work. They are about my life.
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” Dalai Lama said this.
I have these words tattooed on my head (my friend Shawn from U.S. did it a few years ago).
What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
People who live in this planet and people who have lived in this planet, they are always inspiring me. Also family and their support.
What is one thing that life has taught you?
The need to always be humble. Because there are so many people who can do better than me in this world, about everything. No one can be the best!
Where do you see the tattoo culture 10 years from now?
It will get better than now of course. But it will still be on some taboo images, but I believe this is also a part of tattoos, and we need to understand this. Because this is an art to make on human skin, so we need to respect people’s opinions, even If they say the wrong things sometimes.
Anything else you would like to add?
First I'd like to say Thank You so much to Mister Tattoos for giving me a part in your website.
And that I'd just like to continue to be a creative and respected artist in my field.
Enjoy your tattoo and your life!!! Thank you so much!!