Despite tattoo art’s long history and growing popularity, it is still considered taboo in some countries. This is the case in South Korea, where tattooing is considered an illegal activity unless the artist holds a medical license. However, this hasn’t prevented tattoo artist Pitta KKM—whose unique style has made him a pop culture hero—from practicing his craft.
The Korean tattoo artist blends the unlikely combination of traditional oriental aesthetics with old-school Americana motifs and the iconic fine art of old masters such as Magritte, Klimt, and Michelangelo. He explains, “I mix everything I can with Korean aesthetics. And every time I succeed in changing a famous element into an oriental design, I have so much fun!”
Pitta KKM uses the traditional Korean Obangsaek colors of white, black, blue, yellow and red to create pieces that pop boldly against the skin. The delicate use of negative space also helps to pull the elements—whether ancient or modern—together into beautiful, unique designs.
Pitta KKM is currently inking clients at his Bad Hands Tattoo Works studio in Seoul.