Swani, a native of Seoul who is 31 years old, enrolled in 2014 at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Limoges in France, which offered a major in ceramic arts and design but ultimately decided to pursue a career as a tattooist. In 2017, Swani became a professional tattooist after studying for two years with the motto “never cease learning.” Ceramics is evident in his skin art, influenced by his Korean culture. Swani claims that Korean art is not solely a Korean culture but also a part of “a larger Asian culture.” There are unquestionably Chinese and Japanese art influences. Swani is incorporating a modern context into the Eastern nature motif and expressing himself through it. He admits that when he sees dragons, it reminds him of the blue-and-white Chinese ceramics (also known as “Qinghua”), and cobalt is the primary color in his artwork. He does not care about the blue ink fading, as clients can have touch-ups done. And he loves the way the artwork ages naturally on the skin.
Swani has been inspired by Ikenaga Yasunari’s paintings, Akino fuku, Ichiro Tsuruta (favorite), and Sillda. Swani won’t limit himself to ceramic imagery but will experiment with different styles and compositions.
Photos © Swani
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