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Interview with tattoo artist Girin

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Tattooist Girin creates dark Japanese tattoos at at 3layer studio in Seoul, South Korea. We chatted to Girin about how he got into the industry and what inspires his work…

How long have you been tattooing and how did you get started in the industry? I’ve been tattooing in Korea for five years. Years ago my cousin opened a tattoo shop and it was there that I first experienced tattooing and tattoos. It was that day that I decided I wanted to become a tattoo artist.

Making my first tattoo was a special experience. My cousin trusted my drawing skills straight away and let me tattoo them.

What inspired you to become an artist? Comic books inspired me to become an artist. I’ve read a lot of comic books and ever since I was young it’s been my dream to become a cartoonist. When I was younger I started painting and I studied cartoons and animation at college.

How did your dark tattoos come about? I learnt how to tattoo on my own and when it came to learning colour tattoos I found them really hard. This style was too much for me to study by myself so I decided to work in black ink and create only black tattoos.

Can you tell us about the process behind your tattoos? I start by thinking about the overall idea then I draw a rough sketch. If I like the rough sketch I make a neater one. After that, I finish the design by drawing the light and shaded parts.

What inspires your designs? I study different designs by watching martial arts comic books and illustrations. In my tattoos I make sure that the details on the armour and helmet, that I’m tattooing, aren’t the same. I always keep trying to design new things.

I get a lot of inspiration from seeing monsters in the martial arts movies and games that I watch.

How would you describe your style? My work looks like Irezumi (Japanese tattoos) but I want to create my own unique style – Girin style.

How do you see your tattoos evolving in the future? I usually get to create big tattoos which I like. In the future I want to continue to engrave really nice tattoos on people’s skin so they can wear them like luxury clothes.

What was your first tattoo? My first tattoo was lettering by my cousin, I didn’t like it so I’ve since covered it. I kept finding problems with the designs and tattoos I chose, I just wasn’t satisfied – I keep thinking about getting better tattoos. Maybe one day I will.

Do you have any more travels or guestspots planned? I’m planning to go to Australia for a guest spot this winter.

What do you do when you’re not tattooing/drawing? I like to spend time watching games, animations, movies and dramas.

What moment in your career are you most proud of? Of course, I feel the most proud and excited when my customers are satisfied with a tattoo I’ve given them.

Follow Girin for more blackwork tattoos and travel updates.




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