Brushing Waves on Skin: The Inimitable Style of INNO
In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of tattoo artistry with INNO, a talented tattoo artist hailing from Seoul, Korea. With a unique style that draws inspiration from the flow of water and waves, INNO's work has gained international recognition. Discover the journey of this artist, their creative process, and what fuels their passion for tattooing. Get ready to be inspired and explore the artistry of Ino as they share their insights and experiences in the world of ink and creativity.
Let's get to know each other first. Where are you from, and how did your tattoo career start?
- I'm Ino, a tattooist working in Seoul, Korea. I have officially been working at Studio By Sol (now Bism Studio), a tattoo studio located in Seoul, Korea, since 2019.
Do you have an art education? What job did you leave to pursue a career as a tattoo artist?
- Yes, I liked painting from a young age and was also talented. I went to art college and studied art starting in 2014. Originally, I worked at a company as a fashion designer. However, I began to feel skeptical about creating art tailored to someone else's desires, which led me to seek a job where I could create my own art and gain recognition as a tattoo artist.
Tell us more about your tattooing style and how you developed it. Why do you prefer this style?
- I believe my previous answers provide the foundation for understanding my style. Let me elaborate on my style. I initially created artwork with a brushstroke technique that had a strong oriental influence. At that time, there was minimal demand for my art, and I contemplated whether I should continue tattooing. However, I had an idea: I thought about capturing the imagery of water and waves while gazing at the sea, and the response to this style was four to five times better than my typical work. I realized that this style was the best way to express myself.
In your portfolio, there's a mix of both color and black-and-white pieces. Can you share your personal preferences? Do you prefer working in color or black and white, and why?
- Personally, I prefer working in color, especially blue. Perhaps this preference stems from my frequent depiction of water and waves. While many people assume that black ink would be easier to work with, it's actually quite challenging. Black work demands a high level of skill and expertise.
We've noticed that Korean artists often incorporate blue as the primary color in their work. Is this related to traditions in Korean visual art? Please tell us more about this.
- Blue is indeed a traditional color in Korea, but it's not a direct influence on my work. I don't limit myself to a specific color; I choose colors based on my clients' preferences or those that align with my artistic style.
Your portfolio includes many images of dragons and snakes. How did these motifs become prevalent?
- Dragons and snakes are popular motifs, and I think many people are drawn to them. I believe the flowing lines and movement of dragons and snakes complement the wave-inspired style I pursue.
Tell us about your clients. Who are they, and are there many foreign clients among your following?
- The majority of my clients are foreigners. South Korea boasts many talented tattoo artists, but relatively few explore the challenging style I offer. Foreign clients are more receptive to my unique and creative approach, as traditional tattoo styles have been predominant in their countries for a long time.
Do clients typically come with their own ideas, or do you contribute more to the design process? Describe how your projects come to life.
- Most of my clients bring their own ideas. I enjoy reinterpreting these concepts in my style, as my style is quite distinctive. I often prefer clients with specific ideas because this leads to more creative and unique designs.
Do you have a favorite project or tattoo that you're particularly proud of?
- One of my favorite projects is a dragon designed with the appearance of waves. Each time I work on this design, it feels fresh and exciting. I'm most content when I see clients enjoying these tattoos.
Tell us about the studio where you currently work.
- The studio I'm currently part of was established with my friends. It doesn't have a specific name or sign, but it provides a comfortable and focused work environment due to our close-knit team.
What motivates you to create, and where do you find inspiration?
- I don't force myself to create when lacking inspiration. Instead, I create when inspiration strikes. I believe this approach allows me to infuse my emotions into my art.
Do you have any other passions outside of tattooing?
- I maintain high standards for my work and continually strive for improvement. Therefore, I'm primarily focused on tattooing and achieving better results in the future.
What is your primary goal in your tattoo career?
- My ultimate goal is to be recognized as an artist. I aim to have my name associated with a tattooist who specializes in water and wave-inspired art on a global stage.
Do you have any creative plans for the near future?
- In the near future, I aspire to establish a presence on the international stage. I want to learn more and collaborate with other prominent tattoo artists to enhance my skills and creative vision.