Art

This artist uses Korean art techniques to reimagine classic fine art

South Korean culture is everywhere these days, from music to fashion to television. And now, even classic fine art.

‘Pitta KKM’, a tattooist from Seoul, uses traditional Korean art techniques and aesthetics to give western motifs and fine art an oriental twist. His designs feature the best of both worlds, which includes old-school palettes and elements, as well as clever nods to the old masters such as Picasso, Michelangelo, and Magritte.

“In Korea, there are traditional colors called ‘오방색’ (five direction colors),” he explained. “Blue, white, red, black and yellow for east, west, south, north and middle,“ respectively.

“I always use clouds and colors in the traditional pattern, with some elements like Tiger, Crane, Lotus, and ‘Dancheong’ from Korean architecture.”

“I mix everything I can with Korean aesthetics,” he added. “And every time I succeed in changing a famous element into an oriental design, I have so much fun!”

In South Korea, tattoos are still largely seen as taboo. In fact, the activity is deemed illegal unless the tattooist has a medical license. “It’s hard to get supplies like needles, inks and machines. We always have worries about getting caught,” the artist said.

Nonetheless, this hasn’t kept him from making great body art. If you want to get inked by ‘Pitta KKM’, he’s currently at Bad Hands Tattoo Works studio in Seoul.