A Candid Interview with Isle – Tattoo Artist from South Korea


Isle Tattoo Artist 1Isle Tattoo Artist 1

We have been interviewing a lot of tattoo artists from different parts of the world. This time we got the chance to talk to Isle, who is an emerging tattoo artist from South Korea.

1. What inspired you to become a tattoo artist and when did you start it as a career?

I started my career as a tattoo artist in 2019.  I’ve been painting whole my life since I was a kid. So I’ve been thinking about how I can use my paintings commercially other than exhibiting. And I wanted to get a technique that would not disappear. So I learned tattooing from my teacher.  Until now, tattooing has been my best career in my life. I hope I can do tattooing as long as possible.

2. How many tattoos do you have on your body and what’s your favorite one?

I have 8 tattoos including a tiny one. Not that many. All color tattoos and two were hand-poked, the rest were done by machine. 

There is no meaning in my tattoos. I just got it because it was pretty.  Except for one, I got the rest before I started doing tattoos. At the time, I never imagined I would be a tattooist and I wasn’t interested.

My favorite one is the peach tattoo on my upper arm. I got it from my teacher. He gives a tattoo to the student as a gift.

Peach TattooPeach Tattoo

3. Which is your favorite client tattoo, what was the story behind it, and how much time it took?

I don’t remember how long it took but I will choose the oriental incense burner tattoo. Instead of a candle, I made it with smoke rising from the lotus flower.

It is a tattoo to commemorate the death of her mother. 

This heavy and meaningful work gives me responsibility too. Just as tattoos will remain with her for the rest of her life, so will memories of her mother. 

Lotus Burning Smoke TattooLotus Burning Smoke Tattoo

4. What do you do in your free time when not tattooing people?

Since last year, I’ve been really into watching football. So I always watch football games.

And I focus on finding a balance between my health and work, body and mind. I often make healthy and diverse meals, take a walk with my dog, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy a good cultural life. I also exercise regularly. And writing essays, and meeting friends.

5. Why do you think people get a tattoo, even though it’s a painful process?

Tattooing is about engraving eternal art in your body. It’s about sharing your history until the process of blurring over time.

And tattoos help give you a positive look at your body. My clients have told me that tattoos have helped them overcome their complex and take a liking to their bodies. It’s a beautiful thing.

6. Who is your favorite tattoo artist?

I would say my teacher ‘Noya’. He has been doing this for almost 20 years. His style is very different from mine, but I like his snake and dragon designs, and I think they are especially beautiful to fit the curves of the body.

7. What are different styles of tattoos do you make?

I can’t define my style with a word. However, my clients told me that it feels like a mixture of oriental and western paintings. I usually use dry materials, like colored pencils, and I usually draw a lot of natural objects, but the subject is not fixed.

Tattoo StylesTattoo Styles

8. Where do you see the future of Tattoos?

If you’re talking about the tattoo industry in general, I think the competition will intensify and customers will adapt to different styles of tattooing. I want to grow and be well-established in it. 

In the far distant future, there could be a tattoo machine like a movie. 

However, I think the meaning of tattoos is not just about collecting pretty pictures, but also about the interaction between tattooists and customers and the specialness given by humans.

9. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I’m sure I’ll keep doing tattoos. I’m not sure where I will be but it’s open. I want my situation to be more stable and my mind to be more calm. I want to do a lot of good work with good clients. 

I want to draw oil paintings and exhibit them. I always have had a thirst for painting work. After all, what I want to be is not just a tattooist, but an artist and painter. If I have a chance, I can go to a graduate school abroad. 

I don’t know the future, but I have to go in the direction I want. 

10. If you get a choice, which celebrity would you like to Tattoo and any specific design?

Interesting question. I’ve never thought about that. Maybe Frank Ocean. He is one of my favorite artists. I’m not an expert in music, so I can’t analyze his work but he seems very sensitive with visualizing. Just look at the impact of his album cover. 

If I do a tattoo for him, I think it would be cool to tattoo a special symbol on a part that is not noticeable, such as the back of the foot or the back of the neck.

11. Please share your social handles and how to reach out to get a tattoo.

@1sle_tattoo is my official Instagram account. You can reach out via email, DM, or Kakao talk.

Tattoo On Back LeavesTattoo On Back Leaves

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