Tattoo artist MINJUNG AHN / EDEN works in a personal studio in Hongdae, Seoul, Korea specialising in colourful tattoos. We chat to EDEN about the way she decorates her client’s skin with unique, natural art…
What inspired you to become a tattoo artist? How did you become an artist? Since I was a teenager I have loved art. So much so that I would spend time drawing every day. I also graduated from a design-related high school and university.
I feel an inexplicable sense of pride and joy when people like my work, especially when they choose to have one of my drawings as a tattoo. These feelings are why being a tattooist is the best career for me. It provides me with everything I’ve ever desired.
How would you describe your style? If I were to give my work a title it would be a ‘bright colourful mood’ or the ‘eternal colour forest’. I draw everything including animals, but everything I draw I do so within my own style and interpretation.
The interpretation incorporates a wide range of colourful expressions and leaf-based design techniques. Also the most significant part of my work is how vivid and unambiguous the expression of colour is. As if a sticker has been attached to the skin rather than a tattoo.
What drew you to colour tattoos? With colour tattooing it’s possible to express various moods depending on the colour used. I can express a soft look or one that is healthy and vibrant with colour. Anything is possible because of how strong the colour is.
I feel like this is the most attractive part of colour as a tattoo genre. I also thought I’d be able to express myself well in colour tattoos. I think my artistic direction to work in colour was already set before I even started tattooing.
Can you tell us about the process behind your tattoos? I use a stencil when I’m tattooing, but there’s no subject matter that I can’t draw for my clients. I’m always trying to find new material and my strength is that I have a drawing style that only I can create.
Even when I’m drawing I’m thinking about which material or theme will best match the style of my painting. I also try various colour palettes, the joy of finding a different colour combination is indescribable.
When I’m designing or tattooing I don’t choose a specific colour depending on what I’m drawing. Just because there are green leaves it doesn’t mean I have to use green. I am free to change the colour according to the customer’s preference.
What inspires you? What inspires your flash designs? I get a lot of inspiration from movies, books and exhibitions, amongst other things. There are places or moments that stand out to me, such as a movie with beautiful colours or a maple tree I met while taking a walk. These things seem to draw my attention and inspire me. I get inspired before and after I draw the design as well.
You describe your tattoos as accessories, can you tell us more about this? Tattoos are becoming more popular than before, they’re often seen as the ultimate accessory. They contain positive meanings for the wearer and the colours used can convey a good mood too.
More and more people think of tattoos as elements to express and symbolise themselves, to make themselves more attractive. I want to leave people with tattoos that are designed to fit the curves of their body and I want that tattoo to become a work of art.
What do you like to tattoo and what would you like to do more of? I mainly create tattoos of plants and animals. These are usually small pieces of work, for me there aren’t any disadvantages or difficulties when working on small things. However, in the future, I want to increase the amount of work I do that is bigger in size.
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Are you a tattoo collector? The tattoos I like the most are the ones I got from my teacher SOL, who helped me learn how to tattoo. He engraved roses in his favourite purple colour onto my skin. It is a tattoo that I will never forget because it is a tattoo left by combining my favourite colour with my favourite flower.
What’s the tattoo scene like where you are? I am currently working on the Hongdae side of Seoul, Korea. Korea is a country with many restrictions when it comes to tattooists and their careers. Nevertheless, in Korea, the love for tattoos and the interest in them is growing. There are various artists who are actively creating tattoos and I’m working hard to continue my positive activities in tattooing.
Make sure to follow @eden_tattoo_ for more incredible colourful tattoos.