One of the most common questions I see on the Gwangju page of Facebook is asking about who & where to get a tattoo. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to two talented and local artists here in Gwangju that can fulfill your tattoo needs. Miho and Tim Han of Miho’s Tattoo which is located in Downtown Gwangju off of wedding street.
This week the format is changing up. First you’ll get a little background on both Miho and Tim, and then some questions that are related specifically to their field. I hope that you enjoy!
Miho started tattooing in 2002. During a time when there was no tattoo culture, Miho become one of the first tattoo artists in South Korea. Miho has always been an artist and her passions in pushing her art lead her down the path of tattooing. Living in a society where it was illegal and people turned a blind eye to tattooing, Miho worked mostly underground with gangsters and the lower middle class. Without the luxuries of companies providing all the tools for tattooing, Miho spent many hours making her own needles and equipment. Miho opened her first shop in 2003 and was the first tattoo artist in Korea to have a shop that openly advertised as a tattoo shop. After struggling for many years and constant harassment from Korean authorities, Miho established one of the most well known shops throughout South Korea right in the heart of downtown Gwangju. She is one of the best tattoo artists in Korea with talents and skills that are on par with some of the best in the world.
Tim is a Korean-American that has always loved drawing as a child. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in design. In Ocean Shores, Washington he was a designer, print-maker, painter, ceramicist, and starting tattooing. In 2015 he moved to Korea and began working and learning under Miho. He works as a tattoo artist and is the English speaking liaison for Miho.
Who is your favorite tattoo artist?
Miho: SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) – Yellow Blaze Tattoo Studio Yokohama, Japan
Tim: Parvick Faramarz (@wpkorvis) – Moscow, Russia
Do you have a favorite style of tattoo?
I love all styles and try to excel at being a professional in all of them.
Bold black line work
What is the most challenging aspect of tattoo artistry?
Customers who are impatient and too cheap.
Executing exactly what you want to see in a finished piece and having that match up with the customers expectations.
What is the most difficult thing about being a tattoo artist in Korea, specifically in Gwangju?
Both: There are so many different brands and new equipment for tattooing being made everyday, but getting that to Korea for a reasonable price and without being hassled by customs, is a real pain in the butt.
Do you see a difference in the way that you (and other tattoo artists) are treated recently?
I am becoming more and more viewed as an artist, rather than just a person who does tattoos.
Tattoos are becoming more and more accepted into mainstream Korea, so I think having tattoos as well as being a tattoo artist is not frowned upon as much as it used to be.
Do you think it is becoming more acceptable to have tattoos? Why?
Yes, it is just the trend right now.
Most definitely. It’s becoming more a fashion statement as well as a few people are accepting as a true art form.
Do you think that the laws regarding the legality of tattooing will change soon?
Yes, eventually. Maybe 10 years down the line.
I hope so. It may take a whole generation for it to happen, but since it is becoming accepted more within the younger generation, I think it will eventually make its way into the legal system.
Miho’s Tattoo is located at 광주광역시 동구 광산동 92 번지 3층 (On Wedding Street on the 3rd Floor) Their hours are 2pm~10pm. You can also message them for more information.