A Quick Interview with Sumok Kim – Tattoo Artist from South Korea


Recently we had the chance to do a quick interview with Sumok Kim, who is from South Korea and right now he is based in Toronto. We asked him few questions and his responses are presented here for you.

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

I started my journey as a tattoo artist in 2015. I thought tattoo artist would be a good occupation for me, since I love pencil drawing and animals.

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

I have about 30 tattoos. My favorite one is the new school shark tattoo on my forearm. It is from my favorite Korean tattoo artist. 

Shark Tattoo Sumok KimShark Tattoo Sumok Kim

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

My favorite tattoo on a client is the one done at the London convention in Canada which I attended with my best friend as my model. It is a full sleeve tattoo of a tiger and samurai. The tiger and samurai have Eastern features which mean myself as an Asian, and I expressed it in a realistic way that originated from the Western culture, which means my friend who is from Western country. The tattoo took 3 full days to be finished. It means a lot to me since we ended up winning big awards at the convention.

Tiger Samurai Tattoo Sumok KimTiger Samurai Tattoo Sumok Kim

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

When I’m off from work, I usually have consultations with my clients and make designs for them. Tattoos stay on skin forever, so I think it is very importation to talk with clients thoroughly and I really try to include their individuality in each tattoo. 

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

I believe everyone has a different story, and they want to commemorate it on their body regardless of how painful it is.

6. Who is your favourite tattoo artist?

My favorite tattoo artist is Ossian Staraj who is French and now based in Canada. His style of drawing and life is something that anyone could respect, and I would like to become like him.

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

I am specialized in realistic tattoos. I like them because it is timeless and classic. I believe everyone has different standards of beauty and what I take importantly in my drawing is contrast. I think a strong contrast is what makes my tattoos different from other realistic tattoos. It harmonizes all different elements in the design making the image easy to see at a glance. 

Realistic TattooRealistic Tattoo

8. Where do you see the future of Tattoos?

I heard the news that tattoos became legal in Japan recently. I could see that people have easier access to tattoos now compared to the past. I hope tattoos in South Korea will also be legal in the near future. And not only in Korea but in the whole world, I hope when people think of getting a tattoo, it is not a scary process, but an enjoyable experience. 

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

I always try to motivate myself. In 5 years, I hope I will contribute to the improvement of the tattoo industry along with the artists I look for. I will keep studying and doing my best in order to make it happen.

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

My favorite artist of all time is Post Malone. I remember he got his tattoos done in LA. I really hope to have a chance to tattoo my design on him in LA in the future.

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

My instagram is @sumok_tattooer, and I usually take books via DM. 

Editor’s Note

Sumok Kim tattoos are realistic and takes a lot of time. We can see from his work that he is very passionate about his work and want to inspire others also with his beautiful designs.

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