Blooming Artistry: 13 Must-See Tattoo Artists from South Korea (2023).

When considering the world of tattoo art, particularly its rich history, our minds immediately gravitate towards traditional American and Japanese tattoo art. These styles are iconic and have set the standard for many years, with artists such as Sailor Jerry and their classic old-school nautical designs. However, it’s important to recognize that South Korean tattoo artists are some of the most innovative and imaginative in the industry currently. They are pushing boundaries, creating unique designs, and making names for themselves in the world of tattoo art.

Korea’s tattoo industry is experiencing a creative revolution, with artists pushing the boundaries of traditional tattooing and producing innovative works. Despite a tumultuous history and societal stigma surrounding tattoos in Korea, attitudes towards tattoos are changing rapidly. While the law technically prohibits non-medical professionals from performing tattoos, many talented artists have navigated the licensing process and contributed to the flourishing tattoo scene. Although tattoos were once associated with criminal activity, the practice actually dates back to ancient times when fishermen used them as protection against evil spirits. Today, tattoos are becoming increasingly accepted and commonplace among younger generations, and visitors to Korea can even find exceptional artists who are redefining the art form.

85tattooer is a distinctive tattoo artist hailing from South Korea, known for their exceptional style that sets them apart from the rest. Their works are easily identifiable with either a cheerful tiger, a contemporary representation of the legendary Korean culture and mythology, or a red devil with a golden tooth that always has a sly grin on its face. The devil may come in various shapes, such as resembling well-known characters from anime and comic books or impersonating different personas, poses, and outfits. Bursting with vivid colors and a cartoonish feel, 85tattooer’s creations are an excellent example of bold and original tattoo artistry that adds excitement to the South Korean tattoo industry.

Dokhwa, a talented tattoo artist based in Seoul, has made a name for herself by creating stunning and adorable tattoos of pets. While her portfolio also includes portraits and pop culture references, the majority of her work features dogs and cats that are both hypnotically realistic and irresistibly cute. Despite the high level of realism in her art, Dokhwa manages to infuse each piece with a unique personality through her consistent and recognizable use of color. Her tattoos are easy to spot and breathtakingly photorealistic, making her one of the most impressive tattoo artists in South Korea.

Meet Roha, a talented tattoo artist from Busan who specializes in creating unique and stunning portraiture, with a focus mostly on women. Her tattoos have a realistic quality to them, but what sets her work apart is the way she cleverly overlays the images of women with natural scenery such as ocean waves or sunsets, giving the final pieces an ethereal and calming feel that is entirely captivating. Another distinguishing feature of Roha’s work is her use of scrawling line work in her designs, making her style stand out from other tattoo artists in South Korea. Her innovative approach to human form through her art is a refreshing breath of fresh air, and it’s easy to see why so many people have been won over by her unique technique.

Neotrad tattoos have been a popular trend in the tattoo world for over a decade now. This style is a fusion of the classic traditional tattoo art and modern standards, resulting in imaginative and playful designs. Krystal, a talented tattoo artist in South Korea, creates the best neotrad tattoo art in the region. Her work is consistently beautiful, featuring a color palette dominated by shades of red, deep blacks, greys, and yellows. Krystal draws inspiration from traditional tattoo designs such as skulls, ships, anchors, compasses, and other nautical elements, injecting new energy into the style with her impressive skill and technique. If you appreciate tattoos that burst with vibrant colors, depth and texture, and are inspired by iconic tattoo themes throughout history, then Krystal is the artist for you.

Introducing Pitta, a Korean tattoo artist who exemplifies the fusion of originality and style in art. His work is a reflection of his heritage and local artistic traditions, uniquely displayed through his beautiful use of traditional Korean colours such as reds, greens, pinks, and golds (which are simply breathtaking). Pitta’s tattoos feature Korean-inspired art, bold animals, and even anime themes from Japan. His signature style involves block shapes without intricate background shading or heavy black line work, making his designs easily recognizable. If you’re looking for a traditional yet modern Korean tattoo, Pitta is the go-to artist in South Korea. For tourists and travelers seeking a unique Korean tattoo experience, look no further than Pitta.

Sion is a talented tattoo artist based in South Korea known for their exceptional use of color. Their repertoire includes natural elements such as birds and flowers, as well as fans and talismans that are simply stunning. Sion’s style involves gentle black line work along with shades of pink that make their artwork pop. These tattoos are perfect for those who desire a subtle yet breathtaking piece of body art. Unlike bold and imposing tattoos, Sion’s creations are soft, serene, and inspired by traditional crafts and natural beauty. If you’re looking for intricate and captivating tattoos that exude natural elegance, then Sion is the artist for you.

Sion and Shiryu are two different artists with contrasting styles. Sion’s approach is subtle and delicate, while Shiryu enjoys the loud, daring, and extreme. Shiryu specializes in large torso pieces that draw inspiration from demons, as well as Japanese motifs such as the phoenix and peony flower. His work is unparalleled, and he is undoubtedly one of South Korea’s most thrilling and abrasive tattoo artists. Expect Shiryu’s tattoos to be a bombastic explosion of color, with deep blacks, reds, and golds covering every inch of skin. These tattoos are rebellious and edgy, unlike anything else you’ll come across in South Korea.

Do you love the art of fine line tattoos? Look no further than Hongdam. Their collection boasts some of the most stunning examples of this style that you’ll ever come across. Known for their whimsical watercolor tattoos and delicate lines, Hongdam has quickly become a household name among South Korean tattoo enthusiasts. Whether you’re searching for a floral design or a piece of delicate script, Hongdam is the perfect artist for you. Their tiger designs are particularly impressive and will leave you feeling inspired.

Sol is an exceptional tattoo artist who specializes in watercolour tattoos that resemble delicate pieces of fine art. Despite working with small canvases, she manages to produce highly intricate designs that showcase her talent and skill. Sol’s expertise in fine line tattoos has earned her a reputation as one of the top tattoo artists not just in South Korea, but across the globe.

Nana is an expert in creating neo-traditional tattoo designs that are gaining immense popularity. She skillfully blends the traditional and old school tattoo styles to produce stunning tattoos that feature bold colors and thick black lines. If you’re looking for a distinctive and eye-catching tattoo in South Korea, Nana’s style might just be what you’re after, especially if you have a penchant for authentic American old school tattoos.

If you’re looking for a subtle yet striking tattoo, Tattooist Banul’s delicate designs may be just what you need. With her use of thin lines and intricate details, combined with vibrant watercolours, Banul’s style stands out from the rest. While watercolour tattoos have gained popularity in recent times, they can sometimes appear too muted. However, Banul expertly balances the use of bold colours and watercolour techniques to create stunning tattoos.

To establish yourself as a successful artist, developing a personal brand or recognizable style is crucial, especially in the tattoo industry. In South Korea, there’s a talented tattoo artist named Nobody who has mastered this craft. Their signature style involves incorporating a heart shape into almost every design, regardless of the subject matter. This technique is both unique and unforgettable, resulting in a highly recognizable portfolio. With bold lines and cute cartoon-inspired designs, Nobody’s work is both fun and impressive, making it easy to appreciate.

The Kyu tattoo studio in Busan, South Korea specializes in Japanese designs and sleeves, featuring beautiful images of daons, waves, and cranes as their signature styles. Getting a tattoo in Korea is highly recommended with the exceptional standards and some of the best tattoo artists in the country available for you to choose from. If traditional Japanese designs are not your preference, Korean tattoo artists can be found on Instagram, and visiting their stores or messaging them is the best way to convey your ideas. Most of these artists are based in Seoul but also travel to conventions and studios worldwide. A Facebook page is also available to help with booking or finding more artists. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get a tattoo from some of the very best artists in South Korea. Additionally, check out our recommendations for South Korean films, books, where to stay in Seoul, and culinary experiences.

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