In the past, tattoos were mainly associated with criminal gangs, the military, and even satanism. But times have changed, and so has the prejudice people have against tattoos. While many use tattoos as a form of expression or remembrance, some people get inked purely because it looks good.
But despite the change in mindset, tattoos are still illegal in countries like South Korea. Apparently, only licensed medical professionals are allowed to perform it as they consider tattoos a medical procedure.
Legal issues aside, South Korea is home to many talented tattoo artists and their works have been making rounds on Instagram. Whether you’re a tattoo fanatic or just an admirer of body art, here’s a list of Korean tattoo artists whose stunning designs are bound to take your breath away:
1. Tattooist Flower (타투이스트 꽃)
True to her name, Tattooist Flower, whose studio is located near Gangnam station, specialises in delicate floral tattoo designs – be it roses, peonies, or dahlias. She has a keen eye for detail and each and every one of her works are often described as “magical” by her followers.
P/S: We also heard that she is as pretty as a K-Pop idol.
2. Playground Tattoo (플레이그라운드 타투)
Fans of K-Pop idol group Highlight (formerly known as BEAST) would probably know that rapper Yong Jun Hyung (용준형) recently got 3 small tattoos on his left hand. And guess what? He got inked at none other than Playground Tattoo. Known for “thin, small, and simple” designs, the tattoo artist is very popular among college students who want micro tattoos. According to Hong Kong blogger 旅子手帖‧希, Playground Tattoo charges around KRW120,000 to KRW150,000 for simple designs while custom designs cost about KRW200,000.
- Instagram handle: playground_tat2
- Kakao: pgtat2
3. Seoeon Tattoo (타투이스트서언)
In love with all things cute, quirky, and pastel-coloured? Then you should follow Seoeon Tattoo right now! While she’s famous for her whimsical yet feminine designs, Seoeon is also a master of complicated geometric artwork. As Tattoodo points out, Seoeon was among the first tattoo artists in the country who popularised the “distinct and subtle Korean-style tattoos”.
Note: It’s really hard to get an appointment with her, so be sure to book your slot months in advance.
4. Sol Tattoo
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If you wanna turn your beloved pet(s) into a beautiful work or art, you can refer to Sol Tattoo’s adorable animal patterns (just look at the adorable “cattoo” above ?). But aside from animals portraits, Sol also inks all sorts of other beautiful designs such as flowers, calligraphy, and human portraits.
5. Greem Tattoo (그림타투)
Unlike many tattoo artists in this list, Greem Tattoo specialises in large, edgy blackwork tattoos. Many of her works are geometric-inspired and have clean hard lines. It’s uncertain if she chose her work name with a reason in mind, but we noticed that the Korean writing for “Greem” (그림) means pictures or drawings.
6. Witty Button (위티버튼)
As her name suggests, Witty Button’s tattoo pieces are “cute as a button”. Situated in Hongdae, the underground tattoo artist has been making a name for herself with her dainty yet tasteful designs. Although many argue that the concept of her works are somewhat similar to other South Korean artists (i.e. Playground Tattoo), we think that her unique way with colours is what makes her different.
- Instagram handle: wittybutton_tattoo
- Kakao: wittybutton
7. Mr. K
From landscapes to animals, to human portraits, there’s nothing the talented Mr. K aka Sanghyuk Ko cannot ink. The New York-based South Korean-born tattoo artist works at the renowned Bang Bang tattoo parlour (owned by Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy) and is recognised for his detail-packed blackworks.
8. Tattooist Ida
Tattooer IDA aka Heejae Jung is probably the only tattoo artist that can make a plain-looking teacup look great on skin. Her quaint and colourful designs are perfect for people who want a tattoo but aren’t interested in getting a large piece.
- Instagram handle: tattooist_ida
- Kakao: heejaej
- Tattooist Banul (타투이스트 바늘)
- Tattooer Intat
- Tattooist Silo (타투스튜디오 아로새기다)
- Tattooist Doy
- OOZY (최우진)
- Tattooist Dal (타투이스트 달)
Do you know any South Korean tattoo artists that should be added to this list? Feel free to leave us a message in the comments below!