Step into the enchanting realm of Inno, a gifted tattoo artist based in the vibrant city of Seoul, Korea. In this exclusive interview, we’ll explore his vivid and mystical creations that set him apart in the world of tattoo artistry.
One of the things I love about Inno’s work is that it’s recognizable everywhere. The man has created a unique style characterized by a colorful microrealism. The tattoos are generally small and depict dragons, pokemons, mythical creatures and real animals with a majestic and unmistakable flow.
Inno specializes in using a vibrant color palette to bring small dragons and other mythical creatures to life on the skin. His attention to detail and unique approach to tattooing have earned him a dedicated following, with nearly 35k Instagram followers eagerly awaiting his latest creations.
Join us as we dive into the artistic process behind Inno’s captivating designs, filled with vibrant colors and imaginative creatures, offering a unique glimpse into the world of tattoo artistry in Seoul.
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got started as a tattoo artist?
Hello, I’m Inno, a tattooist in Seoul, Korea. I’m always drawing with the concept of water and waves on my mind. I was an ordinary office worker before I started getting tattoos. Then, I thought about what I could do well and what I could do in order to be happier. I enjoyed drawing the most, so I found a career where I could make money out of this passion. It’s when I discovered the path of becoming a tattoo artist.
What inspired you to pursue a career in tattooing, and how has your artistic journey evolved over the years?
Korea is the only country in the world where tattoos are illegal. So there are very few tattooists here who have the right hygiene, education or the right curriculum. So, after looking at several tattoo academies, I took a course at STUDIO BY SOL, one of the most famous studios in Seoul, Korea. It’s been a little over 3 years since I started working as a tattooist.
Your use of vibrant colors is a defining feature of your work. Can you tell us about the sources of inspiration that drive your unique color palette choices in your mystical creature tattoos?
I don’t know what color I’m going to use in the future because I still think I need to develop further, but first of all, I want to do something beautiful without giving people a feeling of rejection. That’s why I naturally choose colors that are vibrant and vivid.
Your portfolio prominently features mythical creatures and especially dragons. What draws you to these subjects?
Often when people think of dragons, they think of these enormous, daunting feelings. That’s why there’s a lot of big dragon tattoos, but I thought some people might want dragons but feel burdened about their size. So I thought it would be nice to draw these tiny, delicate dragons, about the size of hummingbirds, like flying over us.
Tattoos often have deep personal meanings for clients. How do you work with your clients to ensure that their vision and the mystical elements you incorporate align seamlessly in the final design?
I send the customers the sketches before I work on them. And I go through about three steps to make sure that my sketch fits the direction that the clients want. We never start working until our customers really like it. This is because tattoos remain in their bodies for the rest of their lives. But sometimes I want to improvise, so I ask the customers who come to me about three times for sure, and I start working on it.
Are there any tattoo artists or other sources of inspiration that have significantly influenced your work?
In the “STUDIO BY SOL”, where I learned, I was most influenced by Soltattoo. He works regardless of genre and subject. But every time I feel that any painting, through his hands, is recreated with his own style and feeling, the flow of lines that he uses, the composition of the painting really makes the tattoo look like a walking artwork. I feel like I have to work harder to reach his level.
How do you work with clients to bring their tattoo ideas to life? Can you share a memorable collaboration story?
This is not about a particular customer. It’s about half of my customers. There are many people who like dragons everywhere in the world. They want to have a dragon tattoo, but they don’t want it to be seen as scary. So most of the clients who come to me are scared that dragons or tigers can be too strong. They want me to incorporate the theme of wonderful paintings and for the tattoo to be expressed in my style, waves and water, in a gentle and beautiful way. I think this would be my strength.
You’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with brands to create merchandise featuring your artwork. Can you share some of your favorite collaborations and the creative process behind translating your tattoo designs into wearable or collectible items?
It was very similar to getting tattoos on customers. The brand “AQO STUDIO SPACE” that I collaborated with, uses a bear as its logo. In the summer, they asked me to draw a cool and refreshing bear. I drew a picture the same way that if I was doing a tattoo for a customer.
As an artist, how do you balance creating art for yourself and creating tattoos for clients? Is there a distinction between the two for you?
Because I do such unique designs, most of the clients who visit me already know my paintings well. They trust me to expand my imagination. So I think the art that I want to do is no different from tattoos for clients.
Could you share a personal favorite tattoo that you’ve created ? What makes it special to you?
This is the work I did for my close tattooist. She was one of the teachers who taught me tattoos. While thinking about how to express it prettier and more beautifully, she gave me detailed feedback, asking me to draw a picture of her pet. Through her work, I felt that my drawing had grown to a new level. I think it’s a story that people who draw can relate to, because when you draw, you get stuck on your painting and develop slowly. Some people call it a slump. It’s really hard to overcome that stage and develop. But thanks to her, this is the tattoo that helped me get a step further.
What are your future goals and aspirations as a tattoo artist? Are there any specific projects or milestones you hope to achieve in your career?
I want to go beyond Korea and enter the world. And if you are interested in tattoos, I want to become a person of reference, so that people would know and recognize my work just by hearing my name.
Have you had the opportunity to collaborate with other artists or participate in guest spots at different tattoo studios? Can you share any memorable experiences from these collaborations?
Even before I started collaborating with other artists, I was very positive and wanted to collaborate with someone. Because when I was an office worker, I felt the importance of branding a lot, and I felt that in order to attract people’s attention, I needed to have my own unique color and theme. So my biggest goal was to build a style that was unique to me. My criteria for choosing the other artist in the process of collaborating was how unique the artist was and how well our works could fit together.
This concludes our interview with Inno, a brilliant tattoo artist recognizable for his vibrant and mystical creations. We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into his unique and colorful world.
Don’t forget to stay connected with Inno by following his work on Instagram @tattoist.inno .
And if you’re interested in owning a piece of his art, check out his merchandise available here.
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