Interview with Ru Hwan | Tattooing in Korea

Tattooing in Korea – is it legal? Is it illegal? That would be “yes” to both questions. “What? Wait. How can it be both legal and illegal at the same time?” In this interview with Korean tattoo artist Ru Hwan, we’ll find out more.

Technically speaking, tattooing is legal in Korea (yes, this article is about South Korea of course), but you’ll need to be a licensed doctor in order to perform this type of “skin surgery”.
Now imagine yourself that you’re at the end of six years of medical studies at the university, it’s time to decide which path to choose: should you become a GP, a skin specialist, a surgeon or perhaps you should go wild and chase your childhood dream of becoming a tattoo artist?
Just like in every other country in the world, people with medical degrees don’t become tattoo artists – they become doctors – and that’s a good thing, because we all need someone who might be able to cure us when we are sick, but some of us also needs creative persons that can create art on our skin every now & then.

Graduation day at the Medical University: "Should I become a doctor or a tattoo artist?"

Graduation day at the Medical University: “Should I become a doctor or a tattoo artist?”

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Tattoo, before & after

Got some more work done by the talented Marius Meyer today.



Tattoo by Marius Meyer | Instagram: @mariusmey

Tattoo by Marius Meyer | Instagram: @mariusmey

I’ll upload some more photos once it’s healed.

Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016

A tattoo convention is the place where you’ll find the perfect harmony between ink & skin. Enjoy these galleries from Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016 and if you’ve missed my interview with Zsófia Bélteczky, you can read it here:

Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016

Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016, Hungary.

Budapest Tattoo Convention 2016, Hungary.

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The History of Tattoo Part 5: Japan

The History of Tattoo: Japan

I kind of gave away this information in the title already, but in courtesy of those of you who missed it: this is my fifth article on this subject and I’ll concentrate on the tattoo history of Japan.

The last article I published in this series was in January 2014. My plan back then was to publish the next one (the one you’re reading now) in April 2014, but that clearly didn’t happen. Well, as I’ve mentioned in some of my previous articles, they were originally written for a tattoo chain. Many years have passed since my original Norwegian article was published, so I had to re-write and update the info. What was originally just a short passage in an article, has now turned into this elaborate piece of reading. For those of you who wishes to read more, links to my previous articles, further reading and sources are provided.

In Japan there are several forms of tattooing, from the old bamboo techniques (tebori) to the modern machine tattooing (kikaibori), but they’re all covered by the Japanese word Irezumi (入れ墨).

A Small Vocabulary
 "Irezumi" (入れ墨, 入墨, 紋身, 刺花, 剳青, 黥 or 刺青) in Japanese, meaning "insert ink".
 "bunshin" meaning "decorating the body".
 "the Yakuza" (ヤクザ) - the mafia, the organized crime of Japan.
 "Horimono" - full body tattoo.
 "bokkei" - (or bokukei, meaning punishment by tattooing).

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Street Portraits of Gunn

Gunn had some awesome tattoos, so I asked her if I could shoot some photos of her and post them in my blog. She obvisouly agreed. Gunn is from a Norwegian city called Trondheim and if I remember correctly, she got her ink at Purple Pain Tattoo. I believe that she also mentioned Flaming Heart Tattoo, but I’m not 100% sure about that (I didn’t write any of the info down).
Edit: Gunn stopped by the blog and gave me the correct name of the second tattoo studio: The right arm is done by Roger and Izzy at Lowlife Tattoo in Trondheim. Both studios are located in/around Trondheim.

Thanks for being sporty and letting me shoot your portraits Gunn!

The History of Tattoo – Part 3: The Indians

The History of Tattoo by

The History of Tattoo by

Originally this was written as a school assignment about Body Art Among the Natives of America. If I’d followed a chronological order this article should have been published in between my previous two articles (you’ll find them both here:, but it simply didn’t cross my mind until afterwards…
From my first article in this series you’ll might remember (or you can look it up) that we, through archeological evidence can trace tattooing in Polynesia back to as early as 2000 BCE. You’ll also remember the stories about Captain James Cook and his crew and how they adopted the Tahitian word “ta-tu” or “tatau” when describing this practice. We also had a look at the early American history of tattoo, but I skipped the earlier part about the American history of tattoo – the one about the Indians (today more politically and geographically correct known as Native Americans).
This is the longest article in this series so far and it’s almost like a long list of cultural features among the different tribes and their tattoo techniques. I had to leave out a lot of information about the different tribes and the customs, but if you’re interested you can find more info in the link section.

As many of you already know I’ve asked readers for submissions of tattoo photos and people have sent me their pictures, but for this article I naturally had to find illustrations online (none of my readers are 1800’s native americans…) In the next couple of articles we’ll be looking at the history of tattoo in modern times and then I’ll use readers photos as illustrations.

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