Moon Cheon is a tattoo artist working out of Kodzunak in Seoul, South Korea. Cheon, tattoos traditional Korean motifs in various styles.
Most of Cheon’s work is done freehand in a more loose style that closely resembles an ancient Chinese style of painting called “Xieyi” or “写意.” This is mostly used for landscape paintings, and Cheon follows this style by applying this technique to land and waterscape tattoos, often including free flowing rivers and flowers.
Cheon also does delicate black and grey tattoos of Korean and East Asian animals, mythical creatures, and Gods and Goddesses.
While much of his work is delicate and beautiful, he also doesn’t shy away from blood, gore, and violence, in the form of severed heads, and Japanese ghosts and demons (yōkai and yūrei).
If you live near Seoul or are passing through, Moon Cheon is a must-see artist.
Osang and Sojung are a South Korean couple who tattoo at Hysteric Garden, Seoul, and also do guest spots around the world, including America, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Taiwan.
Both artists specialize in black work that is heavy on detailed lines, and macabre subject matter. As Halloween is right around the corner, they are a perfect pair to get a couple of tattoos from!
You can bring in your own ideas or get an original piece from either of them.
The couple do lots of specifically occult pieces such as demons, devils, black goats, witches, etc. They are also happy to tattoo more traditional Korean designs such as tigers and ravens if that’s more your style.
If you want a one of a kind, detail oriented black work piece, look no further.
Keep an eye out on their Instagrams for their travelling guest spots, or pop in while you’re in South Korea. @osangbrutal @goatblackeyed you can find their emails for bookings on their individual Instagram accounts
Jinpil Yuu is tattooer and owner of the tattoo studio The Ravens Ink in Seoul, South Korea. Jinpil is famous for his flower tattoos, particularly his peony’s. Jinpil uses brilliantly deep and vibrant colours for his colour pieces.
For his flower tattoos, Jinpil uses heavy contrast between red/orange, and black/dark greens.
He is also known for his blackwork, and Korean style pieces. Particularly gakubori, such as clouds and water, as well as snakes.
Gara is a South Korean artist working out of Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul. His work is black and grey, dark in both composition and subject matter, often featuring skulls and skeletons, beasts, and weapons. Much of his work is surreal, creating tattoos that look 3D, and some very realistic looking pieces. He also draws influence from both Korean and Japanese art and style.
Gara has clients from all over the world and is a highly sought after artist thanks in part to his ever growing Instagram following.
(Beautiful set of hands with skulls, webs, flowers, and snakes.)
If you are in South Korea, Gara is a must see artist.
Foo, or Fu Dogs as they are known as in the West are Chinese lion guardians called Shi. These creatures are both guardians and good luck charms. When placed outside buildings they are meant to protect those inside from negative energy and to stop those with intent to harm from entering. These ancient symbols have been around since the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD).
As a tattoo this creature is also meant to be protective. Keeping the wearer safe from harm. This creature is also tattooed to be a representation of the wearer’s strength, courage, and heroism.
Foo dogs are firstly a Chinese tattoo, but are also associated with Japanese tattoo’s and can be incorporated into Japanese pieces. They are often also done as black and grey pieces, American traditional, and realism pieces.
Foo dogs are often placed on hands, with the head fitting perfectly, lining up with the knuckles.
Foo Dog’s make a brilliant and powerful tattoo for those seeking protection and good fortune.
Tiger’s make a fantastic design and can be done in many different styles including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American traditional, neo traditional, black and grey, photo realism, dotwork, geometric style, and watercolor.
Tiger tattoos can also carry many different meanings. When done in an Asian style a tiger represents strength, courage, long life, and are also meant to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and even disease. When done in a more Western style such as American traditional, black and grey, realism, etc.. the tiger is tattooed for its beauty, power, and intensity.
Tigers are one of the biggest predators in the world, and are a solitary creature, so are often seen as symbols of strength and resilience. Tiger tattoos are often done just as a head, but can also be done as a full body. Generally tiger heads are done in a more Western design, with a full body tiger being done in an Asian style, though both can be done in any style.
Apro Lee is a tattoo artist from South Korea. He tattoos in Seoul in a private studio called Black Mark It. He has been tattooing since 2005, and doing only blackwork since 2007.
Tattooing in South Korea is still illegal, making it difficult as you can imagine for someone to make a living as a tattoo artist. Only a person with a doctor’s license can be a tattoo artist. Police don’t bother artists unless someone actually reports them. People who usually do the reporting are often other tattoo artists looking to get rid of competition, or neighborhood gangs. If an artist is reported and apprehended, they usually have to pay a fine as well as have all their equipment taken from them, but they can also face months of prison time. Despite tattooing being a crime, it is estimated that there are at least 20,000 tattoo artists working in illegal studios throughout South Korea.
Apro Lee decided to become a tattoo artist while serving his mandatory military time. He saw a portrait of Kurt Cobain on the internet, and it amazed him that tattoos could be something other than tribal or dragons and other iconic Japanese pieces, for gangsters. Apro has loved drawing and art since he was a child, and found that tattoos were the right fit for him.
Since tattooing for all intents and purposes is still illegal in Korea, Apro learned how to tattoo online in 2005 from someone who was willing to teach Apro and a few others through the internet. After that Apro went to work in Westside Tattoo in Brisbane, Australia, learning from owner Matt Cunnington.
Apro started by doing realistic black and grey pieces, but now almost solely does bold blackwork. One of Apro’s signature designs is the Korean tiger, which features hard bold black lines, and intricate dotwork to create a stunning tiger in the Korean style. The contorted tiger represents government, and is usually featured with a magpie which represents a person laughing in its face.
Apro wanted to show people that Korea has their own art style, as Chinese and Japanese art largely dominates Western ideas of what Asian art is. Apro has been a guest tattooer in Europe, Australia, America, and all over Asia, spreading the Korean style of tattooing. Apro always tells people the meaning of the tattoos he is giving people, and wants to spread Korean culture as much as possible.
Apro also tattoos many nooses on his clients, and has one on himself as well. The noose on himself signifies the fact that in his country he is technically a criminal, but the part where the noose is cut means that he has survived, or that he will survive it. On clients this can stand for many things throughout a life that has been tough.