Robots, Comics, and Tattoos: Inside the Mind of PISATCHE
Welcome to an exclusive interview with PISATCHE, a Korean tattoo artist whose unique style blends elements of comics, robotics, and cybernetics into mesmerizing works of art. In this in-depth conversation, PISATCHE shares insights into the journey of becoming a tattoo artist, the challenges faced in mastering this intricate craft, and the evolution of a distinctive artistic style influenced by childhood passions and futuristic comics.
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you decide to become a tattoo artist? What were you doing before tattooing?
- Hello, I am PISATCHE, a Korean tattoo artist! I think our childhood interests were all the same! I loved doodling since I was young, and that hobby has continued to this day, leading me to tattoos. Before getting into tattoos, I was a student who enjoyed drawing.
How did your career start? Who was your teacher? Were there any difficulties in mastering this profession?
- While working in the military in 2017, I saw a tattoo on my team member's body, and since then, I've fallen for the charm of tattoos, which are indelible pictures on the human body. I also thought I could try it! But I didn't know it would be this hard!! Haha!! The reason I thought so is that painting and tattoos are entirely different areas. If painting is simply expressing my thoughts freely on a piece of paper, then tattooing is the process of checking the intersection of your thoughts and drawing it to your satisfaction and engraving it into your body through a needle. The process requires an understanding of how to handle machines and basic skin. I'm still studying it, and I don't think I've mastered it yet!
Is tattooing art, work, or something else for you?
- I think your question has an answer. This was art itself, a hobby, and a means of relieving stress for me at first; now, this art has become my job. I'm also proud that this is my job.
You have a very unique style of work that is hard to categorize into a specific direction. Can you tell us how you developed this style? What attracts you to it?
- That's right. I sometimes think about how to classify the pictures I draw. As I answered the first question, I liked drawing and scribbling since I was young. That's why I naturally fell in love with comics. At that time, the comics I was interested in were future-oriented comics such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell. I think it expresses my current style under the influence of those comics that I liked when I was young.
What unique features can you identify yourself in your work?
- So far, I've tried to use white and black to represent the original feel of comics. I think these expressions have represented my work. But lately, I've been thinking about other ways, like trying colors or changing expressions, because I think those ideas can limit my diversity! I always like to try new things!
I would especially like to highlight your works in the theme of robotics and cybernetics. They look absolutely stunning. Can you tell us why this theme attracts you? And where do you draw inspiration from?
- Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts. I think the process of simple lines, surfaces, and dots coming together to become rockets, robots, and cyber special things is so fascinating! Isn't it the same feeling of joy that comes when concrete, nails, wood, etc., come together in our lives to create wonderful buildings??? And recently, I am very interested in figures and figure design drawings. I feel inspired by looking at the components of the figure!
What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?
- I think the most important thing is communication with guests, and as I said before, a tattoo is a picture that will forever belong to that guest. I want the customer to have a happy memory when they see the tattoo, and to do that, I think you shouldn't stop communicating with the customer before, during, and after work begins! If the customers who received my work saw this interview, they would agree! I am a tattoo artist who talks a lot to my customers! Haha! Of course, it is basic to do the work technically well!
Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, projects, or perhaps some unusual stories in your career?
- I like all my works. So, if I had to pick a special one, I think I would choose Cyborg2, the first work in this style! Even back then, I was always worried about how to express my differentiated style. Then, while watching a cartoon, I saw a robot whose body was destroyed and felt that it was similar to me. Because I was also under a lot of stress because I was worried about style at the time, so I think I felt similar to me when I saw robots exploding and breaking apart! This is my Cyborg2.
Do you travel a lot? Where have you been already, and where do you feel most comfortable?
- I've been traveling lately! So I haven’t been to many places. I have been to the United States, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Japan. If I had to choose the place that impressed me the most, it would be America!! I think it is the opposite of our Asian culture. The free and open atmosphere also inspires my art! And if I get the chance, I want to travel to Europe!! Europe is also famous for being so cool!
Do you participate in tattoo conventions? Tell us about your experience.
- Unfortunately, I haven't participated yet. However, starting in 2024, I plan to participate in conventions whenever I have the opportunity, unlike before. I don't just post my works on Instagram, I want to show them directly to other people and tattoo artists! And I want to grow further by seeing their reactions. This is probably the most important point in my plan for next year!
Are there tattoo artists or artists who inspire you? Whose work do you follow, and do you have any favorites?
- I follow and like so many different tattoo artists! However, I try not to get inspiration from tattoo artists. Because I'm trying a lot to find my style!!! There are times when becoming similar to someone feels like the process of losing myself! I respect all tattoo artists, but if I had to choose my inspiration, I think it would be comics!!
How do you assess your popularity? And in your opinion, how can it be measured?
- I don't think it's that popular yet. I think this question is the most difficult. I didn't start this because I wanted to be popular, but these days I think I need it. Because that popularity might become my driving force! I'm still not good enough. Judging by your interviews with other tattoo artists, my Instagram following must be low! I guess this is proof that I need to try harder, right?
What is the most important thing in your career as a tattoo artist? What goals do you set for yourself?
- I think the most important things are two things: a sense of ownership to create my own work, and consistent efforts to maintain that. To be honest, I'm not very persistent. But I know this is important, so I've been putting a lot of effort into it lately! Among those efforts, I recently set a goal of making two or three videos a week about tattoos. It's still holding up well. In some ways, it may be a very simple goal, but after I keep and achieve this goal, I will set another goal and try to achieve it again. Then I think my growth will be natural.
Share your creative plans for the near future.
- If I have one plan, I don't want to end up as a tattoo artist, but I want to develop further and become a writer based on my tattoos! My future plans include not only tattooing but also exhibiting my paintings and making various products!