Interview With Tattoo Artist Yoshi

Tattoo artist Yoshi (@yoshi_tattooer) works at Third Eye Studio in Busan, Korea. We sat down with the artist to talk openly and super-honestly about what inspired their journey into the tattoo world, their work and hopes for the future…

How long have you been tattooing? And what first made you fall in love with tattoos?

I’ve been tattooing for 14 years. My first tattoo was a memorial as I wanted to keep a memory forever. I was born in Japan and my parents are Japanese and Korean. But, sadly, my father passed away when I was one year old. After that, my mom changed my citizenship to Korean, and I grew up in Korea.

I am Korean, but I have always wanted to find the roots of my family in Japan. It was when I met my grandma and family in Japan that I decided to get my first tattoo. It was this experience that made me fall in love with tattooing. The tattoo makes me remember who I am, it makes me stronger. I now have a lot of extremely meaningful tattoos, so I don’t forget those special things.

Can you tell us more about your tattoos?

The first one that I’ve mentioned is very precious to me. It’s the dates of both of my parents’ deaths, and they are on both ankles. I have Japanese kanji for my father and Korean hangeul for my mom.

What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

If I’m being honest, the financial aspect of tattooing made me want to become a tattoo artist. We all need money to keep going in our lives. If we don’t have parents to help us start out, we’re forced into the ‘hard mode’ of life.

I dropped out of university and had to find what I liked to do, what I could do very well and how to make good money. My major was fine art, so with that background, I just needed to learn the technique of tattooing. I already knew how to make designs, so I needed to start tattooing. It was perfect for me.

What was the first tattoo you did on someone else? Were you nervous?

For my first tattoo, I was very brave! I did a complicated pattern in a three centimetre clover shape. I did this with a coil machine with a 1203 round liner. I wasn’t too nervous, just a little bit, because I did the tattoo on my best friend. I knew I could always do a cover-up later on, if we needed.

How would you describe your style?

It’s hard to split my style from my personality, as I am very delicate in my personal life and work. My style also comes from way back when I was at middle school, when I would do a lot of drawing with pencils and fine pens. Back in 2010, when I learnt to tattoo, I mainly did traditional tattooing, although my art has always been in a fine-line style.

When I started experimenting with fine-line art in my work, everyone around me told me it wasn’t a real tattoo.

It wasn’t the way to do things. So I did traditional style tattoos until 2022, I do still enjoy this type of tattooing but fine line is more me.

I remember when I first tried to do a fine-line tattoo for a walk-in client – it was so much fun. I realised I was actually very good at delicate styles. I remembered how I used to draw in this way with pencils. So from then on, tattooing and my art just clicked, I began to make delicate line tattoos in my style. I now tattoo what I love.

You tattoo a lot of eyes, what is it about them that makes you want to draw and tattoo them?

I like the Korean proverb: ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’. Our eyes can see a lot of things in others – including emotions like fear, anger, sadness, hate, contempt, disgust.

Eyes don’t lie. I also just really like drawing eyes.

What inspires you? And do you have any artists you admire?

I admire any artist who does their own custom work, especially those who can make their own original designs.

How do you like to work with customers? Is it mostly custom work or flash too?

It’s 95% custom work, which I love! I often post a design idea that I have, and a client can fill in a form to claim this piece.

How can clients book in with you?

These days all clients can get in touch with me by sending me a DM on Instagram @yoshi_tattooer.

Do you have any guest spots planned?

Yes, I will be in London at Princelet Tattoo on June 15th-30th, then I will be in Japan. I’m going to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto before I will move on to LA.

Where would you most like to travel to?

Space?! Tattoos for aliens! Just kidding, but I would really like to go to America. I really loved my time in Amsterdam. I worked at the Amsterdam Tattoo Convention and there was a lot of talented artists there.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?

For 12 years I worked as a tattooist that not many people knew. But then with Instagram, I started to make a name for myself. I tattooed many people and gained a lot of likes on Instagram. Tattooers even began to copy my designs! 2022 is a year I won’t ever forget, when I really found myself and style. From then on I pushed myself to be the best I can be and do the best work I can.

What’s next?

I plan to move to the States, so see you in there soon hopefully!

Make sure to follow Yoshi on Instagram for updates on guest spots and travels.

We’re always talking to amazing tattoo artists, check out our latest interviews.


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