Welcome to an exclusive interview with Ogi, a distinguished tattoo artist hailing from Seoul, South Korea. With an impressive portfolio characterized by intricate designs and innovative techniques, Ogi has garnered international acclaim for his unique approach to tattooing. In this interview, we delve into the fascinating backstory of Ogi's artistic journey, from his early fascination with art to his unconventional path into the world of tattooing.

Tattoo artist Ogi

Let's start with introductions and some traditional questions for us. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and where are you currently working? 

- Hello. My name is Ogi, and I am a tattoo artist in South Korea. I'm currently working in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

Do you have an artistic education? 

- Yes, I have been interested in art since I was young. For this reason, I wanted to receive art education since elementary school, and with the help of my parents, I was able to learn drawing, watercolor, and oriental painting skills through an academy. Then, naturally, I graduated from an art high school in Korea and entered university as a design major.

Tattoo artist Ogi

What led you to tattooing? Who were you, and who was your mentor? Tell us about how it all began. 

- Due to the obligation of Korean men to join the military as an adult, I joined the military when I was 20 years old. It was a time when tattoos were illegal, and people with tattoos were not common, but since the military was a place where a variety of people gathered, I was able to see many people with tattoos at that time. It was the first time I was able to see a tattoo up close that was unfamiliar to me. It was really interesting to me that the canvas was not paper but the human body, and I was instantly fascinated by the uniqueness of the art, which was different from the art I had seen before. At the same time, I thought, “Oh, I think I can do better if I do it.”

Tattoo artist Ogi

From then on, I dreamed of becoming a tattoo artist. Because tattoos are officially illegal in Korea, there are no professional tattoo education facilities. Therefore, in order to learn tattooing in Korea, I had to contact my favorite tattoo artist and request a class. I was fascinated by @bk_tattooer's original and beautiful works, and I didn't hesitate to ask him to take a class. He willingly accepted me as his student, and through him, I was able to start tattooing.

Tattoo artist Ogi

Is tattooing for you now an art, a job, or something else? 

- For me, tattoos are 70 percent art. I think art is created entirely out of the artist's thoughts, originality, and freedom. But since tattoos are about expressing art on a guest's body, not on a canvas, we have to reflect the needs of the guest to some extent in our design. I think this is the fate of tattooists. In this regard, it's hard to say that my tattoo is 100 percent art. Usually, customers ask tattooists to produce tattoos with their desired subject matter, size, specific parts, and approximately their desired example reference of tattoos. I only refer to the subjects and parts that they want because there is a limit to creating my art by following the needs that customers want. I try to design freely within the given options. I think this is the best way for me to create my art for my guests.

Tattoo artist Ogi

Your designs are very intricate, with detailed patterns, fine lines, and realistic objects fitting into a very miniature size. The combination of geometry, fine line, and micro-realism produces stunning results. Tell us how you came to develop this style and what distinctive features you personally highlight in your work.

- For my tattoos, the most important thing is basically a design that flows along the muscle line of the area desired by the customer. At the same time, geometric elements were used to create the beauty of blank space. I wanted to differentiate it from the existing traditional black and grey tattoos, dense coloring on the skin, and a style that I sometimes feel is too much for me. This way, each customer's unique skin color can be brought out and harmonizes well with the tattoo. In a word, it's a style with understated richness and sexiness in black and grey tattoo style.

Tattoo artist Ogi

In terms of design, I think there is no end point, so I am constantly trying to raise the visual level through various art media, exhibitions, and viewing antique buildings. Until the day when the black and gray genre can be loved by both men and women of all ages, I will keep trying to complete a style that can show restrained weight and sophisticated beauty.

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

- I have a lot of customers who are throwing the theme of Greek mythology. That's why it seems that I am naturally inspired by architecture and statues while designing. Especially when I go on a guest work to Europe, I tend to visit sculpture museums and art galleries to get a lot of inspiration.

Tattoo artist Ogi

Tattoo artist Ogi

Tell us about how your projects come to life. Is it a collaborative effort with the client? 

- Before tattooing, I'm given below things by customers. First, 2-3 topics they want to get tattooed on. Second, Photographs of actual body parts that they want to get tattooed on. Third, The size they want to get tattooed on. Fourth, How much time they can spend on the tattoo. There is a lot of data depending on the topic, but since each individual's muscle is different, it is most important to get a picture of the actual body part they want to get a tattoo in advance so that I can collect data that can best flow to their muscle line. Based on the information I received from the customer, I design the collected materials and geometry in my own style.

What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you? 

- I think it's design. It's because I think the first thing to do is to create an attractive design that can attract people's attention. As I answered the previous question, my goal is to create a design that is harmonized with black and gray and geometric elements based on a rich and restrained style along the muscle line of body parts.

Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, projects, or perhaps some unusual stories in your career? 

- I remember doing a project for the entire front and back of the body tattoo with @yoshi.workout last year. This was a big project and took a lot of time for both of us. The front body and the entire back were performed 5 times each in a row. This was a decision made with Yoshi's strong passion and spirit of challenge. Amazingly, he persevered through this, and I was impressed with him as well. This is because it is usually impossible to endure such a continuous project. This is especially memorable for me because it. Also, we had fun communicating with each other, and it took a total of 10 sessions. The results were very satisfactory.

Tattoo artist Ogi

Do you travel a lot for work? Where and with whom have you had the opportunity to collaborate? Can you share your most significant experiences? 

- Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to collaborate with someone yet. But it's really appreciated by me that I can work in a variety of places. This is because it is an important place to face great overseas tattooists who can only see their work through social media, exchange views on tattoos, and share many skills. And in Korea, there are some people who have an uncomfortable view of tattooists. When I work abroad, it was a new experience and unforgettable moments for me thanks to people who just looked at me as an artist. I am really thankful for the opportunity to do a guest tour abroad.

How do you assess your popularity? And how do you think it can be measured? 

- I think I can intuitively check my fame by the number of followers on Instagram.

Tattoo artist Ogi

What is the most important thing in your career? 

- I think the most important thing is not to lose the original intention. I don't want to be complacent because I got famous, but I always want to live with a constant effort to develop in a better way.

What goals do you set for yourself?

 - I aim to stay healthy. I think staying healthy physically or mentally is the basis for good work to come out.

Can you share your creative plans for the near future? 

- I think I can see myself growing more than I am now in many ways. The same goes for my growth as a tattooist, but I have a desire to do various artworks such as a clothing business using design, and I plan to start a business within five years.