Tattooing, an ancient form of body art, has transcended its historical roots to become a dynamic expression of individuality and creativity in the modern world. At the forefront of this art form is Chou, a talented tattoo artist whose work captivates with its intricate details, vibrant colors, and fusion of styles. Hailing from Korea and currently based in Canada, Chou's journey into the world of tattooing is as fascinating as the art she create.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into Chou's artistic journey, exploring the influences, inspirations, and aspirations that shape her distinctive style. From her humble beginnings to their international acclaim, Chou shares insights into her creative process, favorite projects, and the profound impact of her craft on both themselves and her clients.

Join us as we unravel the story behind the art, and discover the passion and dedication that drive Chou's remarkable career in tattooing.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

Let's start with our traditional questions: tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what were you doing before tattooing, and how did your career actually begin? Who was your teacher?

- Hello, guys. I'm Chou (Daye) from Korea and I'm working in Canada. Nice to meet you.

I've been learning since 2017, and I have had 3 teachers.

Were there any difficulties in the beginning?

- I always met good teachers, so I didn't have difficulty learning. However, it took me a long time to acquire tattooing skills because I'm not naturally talented in the art. It also took me a while to discover my strengths and weaknesses.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

For you, is tattooing an art, a job, or something else?

- Tattoos are my life. Through tattoos, I earn money and bring my artistic vision to life. I provide unforgettable memories to my clients. To me, tattoos are everything.

Your work is incredible. There are so many details, vibrant colors, and even a fusion of different tattoo styles. How did you come to develop this style? And what do you call it yourself?

- My first teacher was a master of Irezumi, my second teacher was a guru of micro-realism, and my third teacher excelled in the realm of realistic style.

I have a strong affinity for vibrant, colorful, and fancy tattoos. However, there are times when my art may become too busy. To mitigate this, I strive to utilize the knowledge learned from my teachers. It's through this process that my current style has evolved. I consider myself an illustration artist.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

How do your tattoos come to life? Is it usually your own ideas at the core, or do you often collaborate with your clients? Could you walk us through your creative process?

- I enjoy creating a flow that complements the body's natural lines. This inspiration can come from my own imagination or be influenced by the preferences of my clients. When a client or I come up with a theme we like, and once we determine where it will fit on the body, I search for subject images that match the body's lines and adjust the color scheme accordingly.

What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?

- For me, the most crucial aspect of tattooing is how well it complements the customer's body.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

Do you have favorite tattoos, projects, or perhaps some unique stories from your career?

- Working on opossum tattoos was the most enjoyable experience for me. It was the most intriguing subject in my life. How many tattoo artists can work in opossum tattoos in the world? It's the most memorable subject in my life.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

Moreover, collaborating with tattoo artist Tae left a lasting impression. I was captivated by his delicate tattoo skills and proposed a collaborative tattoo. While I've done collaborative tattoos with other artists before, this one was the most satisfying collaboration.

Do you follow any other tattoo artists? Could you name your top 3 favorites?

- I follow many tattoo artists, and I always find myself in awe of their work. Among them, my mentors are Ziho and Jackson. I also deeply admire Q, as his work always moves me. In the Irezumi style, I truly love the work of Horikaka. With so many artists I deeply admire, listing them all would surely take more than a day.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

Judging by your Instagram, you have an active schedule of traveling to studios around the world. Could you tell us where you've had the opportunity to work so far, and where you feel most comfortable?

- In Korea, tattooing is not legal, so I work at Chronic Ink in Canada, where I obtained a work permit. They provided me with an optimal environment and actively listened to my opinions. During my one year of work in Canada, I experienced significant growth.

Starting from March, I will be traveling to the UK and Germany, where conventions are held.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

The most enjoyable city for me was Taiwan. Axe runs a shop there (he's an amazing tattoo artist who utilizes body lines exceptionally well to show Asian-themed tattoos). His studio is very stylish.

Additionally, Taiwanese people seem to be the kindest and nicest in the world. I fell in love with Taiwan. So, I'll be going back there in June to participate in the convention. I love everything about Taiwan: the colors, weather, food, and people—except peanut butter. Haha!

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

What is the most memorable experience in Canada?

- Going to conventions is definitely the most memorable experience. With support from Chronic Ink, I was able to win awards at the conventions held in Toronto. In Vancouver, I was able to win awards in the micro-realism genre. I received support from @souled out ink, that the owners Cheyenne and Katey. They supported me wholeheartedly, and I am infinitely grateful to them. They always helped me with my life in Vancouver even after the convention. They are my Canada family.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

How do you assess your popularity? In your opinion, how can it be measured?

- I used to try to prove my popularity through the number of followers and likes on Instagram. However, over time, I realized that it didn't mean much. I felt controlled by Instagram's algorithm.

These days, when I meet my existing customers who consistently revisit me, I feel like I am proving my own worth.

What is the most important thing in your career as a tattoo artist?

- It seems that how much one has grown compared to their past self is the most important. Showing how much an artist has progressed in their work compared to one month ago, one year ago, or three years ago speaks volumes about the artist's career and capabilities.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye

What goals have you set for yourself? Please share your creative plans for the near future.

- My closest goal is to receive support from a professional team. As an artist with a unique style in vibrant colors, I aspire to receive support from tattoo ink brands. I believe we can make a great team together.

Additionally, I also want to organize events where I use my skill in tattooing to donate 100% of my income to low-income communities or breast cancer associations. I attempted this project in Canada before but had to abandon it due to scheduling conflicts. In 2024, I hope to give it another try.

In terms of life goals, I aim to remain an evolving artist. I view tattooing as akin to fashion; it's the most primal and fundamental form of art and fashion, adorning the human body. I want to consistently produce beautiful work that aligns with this philosophy for a long time to come.

Tattoo artist Chou / Daye