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Unveiling the Artistry: A Journey into the World of Tattooing with Ogi

Exploring Passion, Craftsmanship, and Inspiration from the Heart of South Korea

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Step into the captivating world of tattoo artistry with Ogi Oh, a master of the craft based in the vibrant metropolis of Seoul, South Korea. Born and raised in the quaint port city of Mokpo, his journey into the realm of tattoos is as rich and diverse as the designs he creates. From a young age, Ogi's passion for drawing set him apart, leading him to pursue formal education in art and video design. Now, at the age of 28, with seven years of tattooing experience under his belt, Ogi's talent and dedication shine through in every intricate detail of his work. Join us as we delve into hi background, inspirations, and artistic vision, uncovering the stories etched into the skin of his clients and the boundless creativity that defines his artistry.

How did you start your journey as a tattoo artist and what drew you to specialize in black and gray realism?

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.” From then on, I dreamed of becoming a tattoo artist. And I respect a tattoo artist named Oscar Akermo. The traditional black & gray genre may feel a little heavy because it fills all spaces without any space. I think he is the first tattooist to express an understated margin and rich tattoo according to the line flow of the human body among tattooists focusing on the black & gray genre. To build my own style, based on the inspiration I got from him, I am also researching and trying to harmoniously express the beauty of the interaction between black & gray and geometry to create a design that is both understated and rich, and able to flow the lines of the human body.

Your graphic style tattoos combine black and gray realism with different geometric designs and patterns. How did you develop this style, and what inspires the fusion of these elements in your art?

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, is a style with understated richness and sexiness black and grey tattoo style. 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.

How do you approach the challenge of adapting your designs to the natural contours of the body?

Prior to tattoo design work, I am provided photos of body parts that they want to receive tattoos with various angles. Since geometric elements can look different depending on the flow of each individual's body muscles, I research in various ways while designing, find a design that can match the customer's body parts as well as possible.

Do you learn from other tattoo artists with similar approaches? Can you share some artists or works that have inspired you in this journey?

I studied this style myself. But there are many artists who have inspired me. Typically Oscar Akermo, Max Lebrun, Rodrigo Salcedo and Georgios Kazakis. I got a lot of inspiration from these four people.

Can you walk us through your typical creative process when working on a new tattoo, from concept development to the final execution?

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 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's your most memorable career moment?

I remember doing a project for the entire front and back of body tattoo with Yoshi last year. This was a big project and took a lot of time for both of us. It was especially memorable for me because it was my biggest project. We had fun communicating with each other and it took a total of 10 sessions. The results were very satisfactory.

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What is the hardest part of your job?

If I were a painter, I would have enough time to choose a good canvas before painting. However, since tattooists use human skin as a canvas to paint a work, it is impossible to know what canvas you will face until you meet a customer on the day of work. From my experience, it seems that the customer's condition has a significant impact on their skin. If the customer is not in good condition, the needle does not stick well, so the ink does not absorb well. It is very important to express light and shade well in the black and gray genre, but if the ink is not well absorbed, it is difficult to describe bright areas. I do my best in every process to tattoo, but when I meet a customer who is not in good condition, I’m really upset that I can't get as good a result as I thought while preparing the design. I inform my customer to get enough sleep and do not drink on the day before work. so I hope they understand and follow these requests well.

Best kept tattooing tips/secret?

There are no special tips. I usually use a second skin after the work is done, like other tattoo artists. The second skin is used for two days, and afterwards, the customer is asked to cleanly change the new second skin and apply it on their own. After using it for another 5 days and take it off, i ask customers to apply a very small amount of cream very thinly only when they feel that the tattoo area is very very dry, until the scab falls off naturally.

If you had to pick someone other than yourself to give you a tattoo who would it be and why?

I'm happy just to imagine that I can pick someone. If I had that opportunity, I'd like to tattoo to a fighter named Sean Strickland. I enjoy watching UFC, and he's a fighter I support. He has a well-established body with great muscles, so I think he'll go well with whatever materials. I think his favorite ak motorcycle also good. Anyway, I think a good work will come out if I can design it according to his muscle line with my main subject, fine line.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of your tattoo artistry?

In the future, it is said that there will be quite a few jobs that will disappear due to artificial intelligence. Of course, I don't think it's an exception in the tattoo scene. Actually I saw a design drawn by artificial intelligence and it was pretty good. However, I think it is necessary to exchange emotions between people to understand the feeling that customers want, also to make a design about each individual’s unique muscle lines and flows. Therefore, I think that the existence of an artist is essential in the tattoo scene. This is not mean that we have an indolent mind, but I think we can expect good results if we try to respond sensitively to new trends and communicate with customers while accepting technologies that are developing day by day.

Are there new techniques, styles, or themes you're excited to explore?

Personally, the topics I find most difficult are snakes and dragons, that is, topics of creatures with scales. Although it is difficult, I think it is the most beautiful topic. I want to practice and explore this topic with geometry to create designs that can flow beautifully on the body.

How should someone interested in getting a tattoo approach you?

It's very simple. Please contact me via Instagram DM or email me at Since I share my schedule through Instagram, go to my Instagram profile to check my schedule information. I encourage you to follow there too (@ogitattooer) ☺️.

Ogi working on the upper back of a client.
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