Interview with Jehoo on Stylized Reinterpretations of the East

Jehoo created this elaborate back tattoo three years ago.
Interview with Jehoo on Stylized Reinterpretations of the East 73

Jehoo was conceived in Pohang, South Korea in 1980. He was a high school electrical engineer and supported his family for ten years as a mechanical engineer in the steel industry. He decided to become an artist tattooer after ten years. However, due to the lack of apprenticeships in his home country, he had to learn on his own. In 2008, he became a professional.

Jehoo draws inspirations from traditional Eastern Asian culture. His designs incorporate a modern twist. This interview explores his motivations, and how he hopes to be perceived through tattooing. It is obvious that he doesn’t want to be labeled.

Three years ago, Jehoo drew this intricate back tattoo.
One sleeve has lotuses and the other features chrysanthemums.
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The sleeves have lotuses on one side and chrysanthemums on the other.

Why did you decide to become a tattooer

High school was the year I majored en electricity. Due to the financial constraints of my family, I couldn’t go to college. So I worked hard to support my family. I joined the Army and did military service.

Thinking about my future as an engineer was something I did all the time. I pictured myself in ten-years’ time when I looked at my coworkers from the company. I knew I had to make a shift in my life. I looked at my skills and interests. Because I loved drawing as a child, I decided to become a tattoo artist. I was unable to attend an art school because of my financial constraints. This is something that I have always wanted to do. To finally fulfill my dream of becoming a tattooist, I looked into it.

A composition inspired by the sun and moon scene Irworobongdo from Korean art.
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This composition was inspired by Irworobongdo’s sun and moon scene in Korean art.

Please describe the tattoo work.

My tattoo style is to find consistency in the irregularities and complexity, create a definite subject and use curves as well as traditional Korean elements to create softness, uniqueness, and softness. Combining traditional and modern colors is what I do best. I combine layers of colors with the contrast of various colors using the conventional colour-matching technique. My tattoo designs also incorporate folklore.

Leg sleeves in development by Jehoo.
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Jehoo developed leg sleeves

Give some details about your color combinations.

I enjoy using black and red colors. They remind me of the sunrise. The reddish sun rising at the middle of the dark night to lighten the sky. Sunrise is, to me, a symbol of. Hoffnung. While you might not see every sunrise at once, remember that each day is a new day with a new beginning.

A tattoo depicting a Hannya mask from Japanese Noh theater.
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A tattoo showing a Hannya mask from the Japanese Noh theatre.

How can I learn more about your artistic process, and the tattoo values you use?

Tattoos are more than just a form of mass art. They can also be a way to express one’s inner world. My customers are my best source of information. I can learn their stories and goals by speaking with them. Because I want to make sure that the product I create is authentic, I have many conversations with my customers during the design process. precisely They want what they need.

A stunning, vividly colored phoenix Art piece.
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This is a stunning piece of phoenix Art.

What do you know that your online viewers don’t?

I have attended many world-class tattoo conventions as a cultural exchange. I was invited by Japan, Vietnam, Italy to attend shows where I won the first place in three different categories. I taught the correct tattoo values and design techniques to students, as well as the techniques for tattoos in Korea.

Many people mistakenly think I’m a Korean worker. However, the terms Oriental and Korean are not interchangeable. I’d instead be called an Oriental worker than a  Korean worker. It refers to Korean tattoo color combinations such as the Dancheong style. But, I prefer to use symbols that convey deep meaning in my tattoo designs. Oriental tattoos are rich with symbolism. As a Jehoo-style worker, I prefer to be called that rather than a worker in a particular genre. I want to work in the United States where there is a vibrant and lucrative tattoo industry.

Black-and-grey inks in full force for this bodysuit.
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This bodysuit uses black-and-grey inks.

The West uses the term worker for a different meaning than it does in the tattoo industry. Consider yourself a creative artist or individual.

Although anyone can make tattoos, not all artists are skilled. Tattoos are a profession. I consider tattooing an art form that I will pursue my entire life. While I don’t consider me a worker, I would like to reaffirm that I am an artist. I am always interested in my personal growth and the creations of tattoos. My goal as a tattoo artist is to not only create beautiful tattoos but to also give people meaning and motivation. To help my country, I also try to spread my Korean tattoo style and Korean tattoos around the globe.

Inspired by traditional Japanese iconography (Namakubi).
Interview with Jehoo on Stylized Reinterpretations of the East 80
Inspire by traditional Japanese iconography (Namakubi).

What do you do with your free time?

My passion is soccer. I was an active player in soccer until high school. Since tattoos involve high-intensity work, and I must sit for long periods each day, I need movement to help me relax.

Jehoo is a tattooist residing in Busan, Korea.
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Jehoo is a Busan-based tattooist.

Which soccer team would you love to see live if you were able to attend a game?

Park Ji-sung, Manchester United, is someone I’d love to see play on the pitch. But unfortunately, he’s already retired. If I could see a game, it would be with Messi in Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar.

Photos © Jehoo

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