Tattoos

Gore Manga Meets Gorgeous Black Ink in Oozy’s Artful Tattoos

The South Korean tattoo artist and animator mashes-up science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres, and the results are beautiful.
June 5, 2017, 9:03pm

Great tattoo art, like Slumdog's hollow-eyed femme fatales and Oskar's geometric animals, aren't in short supply, but one South Korean tattoo artist, Oozy, stands out for the sheer breadth of his creativity. Oozy's tattoos, almost always solely done in black ink, though occasionally ornamented with tasteful yet minimal amounts of color (like a splash of blood), are simultaneously referential to many storytelling genres, but also seem incredibly unique in their intricacy and sense of imagination. Perhaps this is because Oozy's tattoos look as if he has updated the classic craft of etching for the 21st century, with skin as his paper.

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Although Oozy has reinterpreted Picasso's Guernica and Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, and made glitched-out tattoo portraits of the Mona Lisa and Amy Winehouse, he also frequently inks horror scenes that recall the tropes of Japanese guro (gore) art, nature scenes, and fantasy films. He has also made several tattoos of the tools and food of a chef's trade, like an array of kitchen knives or a half-butchered animal carcass.

Oozy, whose real name is Woojin Choi, tells Creators that his distinct style comes from a wide variety of media. This, of course, is pretty obvious when looking at the sheer variety of subject matter that Oozy tackles, such as Kill Bill character Gogo Yobari's infamous death scene, where blood pours out of her eyes, or a robot from Ghost in the Shell disassembling almost like an image one might see in a user manual.

"My major is animation," says Oozy of his education and its resultant tattoo style. "So, my [tattoo] work consists of many lines."

Though Oozy's tattoos are obviously only still images, they have a sense of motion about them, a quality that comes from his formal training. The few animated videos he has uploaded to YouTube show his facility in that medium as well, and how the subject matter crosses over to tattooing; particularly prepareformorning, which shows a man mutating and spewing something out of his mouth as he puts his eyes and teeth in his head upon awakening.

Oozy says that he likes images that are bizarre, whatever the medium, and this set of surreal influences has infiltrated his animation, illustration, and tattoo work. The people who follow him on Instagram are picking up on his unique aesthetic, and are now asking for their very own "bizarre" Oozy tattoos, which is taking the artist to some very interesting artistic destinations. And though he is still studying animation, Oozy seems to suggest that he is content seeing where this creative exploration of tattoo art will lead him.

Click here to see more of Oozy's work.

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