Tattooing is an art and there are tattoo artists everywhere. Recently, we came across the SOP Tattoo artist from Korea and we did a short interview.
1. What inspired you to become a tattoo artist and when did you start it as a career?
When I was in high school, I happened to know a tattoo artist named NOVO. He’s a person who does tattooing in his own style, like a scribble.
Previously, I thought that tattoos only existed in genres such as Irezmi, Old School, New School, and Chicano, so I was shocked after seeing his work.
The thing I could do best and have worked hard on since I was a high school student was scribbling and writing my own handwriting. That’s why I’ve been influenced by NOVO since I saw his work, and I have been interested in tattoos.
It’s been six years since I started my job as a tattoo artist. I started tattooing when I was 23 years old after I completed my mandatory military service as an adult male in South Korea.
2. How many tattoos do you have on your body and what’s your favorite one?
I have about 30 tattoos on my body. My favorite ones are roses, bees, and butterflies.
These were the most painful tattoos, but it is very meaningful to me because these are the tattoos that I planned since high school.
When I became an adult and all the tattoos I planned were engraved on my body, I was very happy as if I had achieved a bucket list.
3. Which is your favorite client tattoo, what was the story behind it and how much time it took?
I especially like the image of the moon, stars, and planets. I also like to use the moles on the human body to create images, not completely covering them.
One of my clients wanted to hide the big mole on his shoulder from birth. Through consultation, I recommended a design that mixes the moon and the planet using his mole.
It took about 30 minutes because it was very small, and the client said it was amazing that it was fast but didn’t hurt.
It ended well with the scribble or cute accessory-like work I wanted, and the client was also very satisfied with the result. The client felt more special about the work that did not completely cover his mole.
4. What do you do in your free time when not tattooing people?
I watch a lot of movies and dramas these days. Of course, I watch them for the purpose of being inspired. But inspiration doesn’t come to mind when I start to have a purpose, so I mostly watch movies and dramas to rest completely. But when I suddenly get inspiration, I sketch right away. So I always have an iPad, a small notebook, and a pen next to me.
5. Why do you think people get a tattoo, even though it’s a painful process?
I think people get tattoos to remember someone for life, for their own resolution, or just for beauty. Of course, there is pain while getting a tattoo. But I think people keep getting tattoos because the pain is ridiculously small to change their commitment to getting tattoos on their bodies. The joy of getting a new self in front of a mirror or from the eyes of others, I think that’s the charm of tattoos.
And actually, my work doesn’t hurt that much LOL.
6. Who is your favorite tattoo artist?
My favorite tattoo artist is NOVO, as I mentioned earlier. He created his own scribble and showed it to people as a tattoo, not a picture drawn on paper. Personally, I think he’s the one who created a new genre within the big framework of tattooing. His work has a childlike innocence. He still inspires me a lot, because instead of trying to paint well, he puts purity in the painting.
7. What different styles of tattoos do you make?
I use a single line to do very thin, small, and detailed work. I think tattoos are accessories. Accessories that will stay with me forever.
My work is very thin and small, almost invisible, but it can remain at point enough. Also, I try to make tattoos easy to approach and not scary.
It took a lot of study and time to fully implement the thin line of work, also there were many trials and errors. I think my work looks more special and is loved by people because there are not many tattoo artists who use thin lines.
8. Where do you see the future of Tattoos?
I think more people will get tattoos in the future. In the past, tattoos were often seen in bad appearances such as crime and fear.
But now tattoos are fashion, a way to express ourselves, the only and everlasting accessory that we can have. It will develop more and more in the future.
9. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
First of all, I want to leave my work on the bodies of as many people as possible, and also share my knowledge of the thin lines I’ve studied.
If I have a chance, I am planning to teach people who want to become tattoo artists. There will be more and more tattoo artists as the perception of tattoos is getting better.
I will continue to work hard to show my own specialty among many tattoo artists.
10. Please share your social handles and how to reach out to get a tattoo.
My Instagram handle is @sop_tattoo. My Instagram is always open. If you visit my Instagram, you can enjoy my work and get new inspiration.