Tattoo Artist Oozy Interview at Vism Studio LA

Six years ago, Korean tattoo artist Woojin Choi, also known as Oozy, entered the cultural conversation. His incredibly detailed works featuring gothic and gory versions of East Asian themes ranging from ramen to anime made the rounds on social platforms and quickly earned him a following that now tops 1 million.

From a bird’s eye view, Oozy is representative of a generational shift in attitudes towards tattooing taking place across Asia, further fueled by ever-increasing access to international artists via platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. In Korea, art school graduates like himself have brought technical skills to the field and formed an incredibly talented class of contemporary tattoo artists who have been able to develop their own careful takes on the ancient art. Despite the beautiful output of these artists and the high demand for their work, language and geographic barriers to non-Korean potential customers are significant. For those in the US, fulfilling a tattoo dream can mean 14 hours of travel each way, not to mention the cost of flights and hotels — potentially multiples of the tattoo itself.

But last year it changed for the better. To alleviate the challenges of getting tattooed in Korea, including the legal limbo the art form finds itself in the country, a collective of artists led by ink master Sol along with Oozy, Saegeem, E.Nal and others opened Vism Studio in Los Angeles’ Arts District: a sleek black and concrete space befitting the incredible artwork that takes shape within its walls. The group’s permanent new home opens the door for those in the US to discover a top class of Korean tattoo artists in a city already known for its rich tattoo history.

According to Sol, Seoul adapts quickly and new trends emerge every day. Compared to that, LA seems to flow slowly and has a very laid back charm. I’m not completely familiar with the tattoo scene in LA yet. Still, I understand that the culture has an iconic history. I hope that Vism Studio will add a new dimension to the LA tattoo scene and become an inspiration to others. Best of all, tattoos are legal.”

Watch our exclusive interview with Oozy below. Those interested in learning more about Vism’s artist roster as well as inquiring about deals with Oozy, Sol and the rest of the collective can do so via the Vism Studio website.

Tattoo Artist Oozy at Vism Studio Los Angeles
“I use dots and lines to create a drawing style of a print look using different techniques done by hand.”

How did you first get into tattooing?
I first discovered tattooing through Facebook and thought, “Wait, I could do that.” As a college student, I studied tattooing through YouTube and turned an empty classroom into a workspace. I taught myself and started tattooing my friends.

How would you describe your style to those meeting it for the first time?
Most of my drawing inspiration comes from animation, often combined with elements of human anatomy or a mixture of food ingredients. I use dots and lines to create a drawing style of a print look using different techniques done by hand. I enjoy combining a mix of characters in my designs, which has become an essential part of my work. I always enjoy doing big projects. The bigger the better.

Your work has become hugely popular on Instagram – Does that translate into long wait times for your customers?
There is definitely a lot of demand through social media, but I prefer to keep a short list of projects and concentrate on them before moving down the list. I appreciate all the love I received from moving to LA and am focused on working hard to return it to my clients by creating something special for them.

“I’m grateful that customers fly in from different parts of the world to get their tattoos.”

How does tattooing in Los Angeles compare to Seoul? What about the clientele?
There is a huge difference in how people generally perceive tattoos. The change is that I don’t have to worry about the legal issues that may arise while working in Seoul. Sometimes it is the most basic freedom that makes the most significant difference. Most of my clients working in Korea came from all over the world, so not much has changed working in LA. I am grateful that clients fly in from different parts of the world to get their tattoos.

How long do you plan to be in the US? Do you plan to work from other cities while you are here?
My original plan was to stay for three years, but we will have to see what happens in the future. I would also like to work in a different climate than California if the opportunity presents itself.

Are you cooking up any creative side projects at the moment?
The OOZYBOWL series is just the beginning of my creative journey. The bowls are physical interpretations of my signature tattoo designs. The face is placed in a ramen bowl, as if it were the topping. I have plans to expand to other products and media, so please stay tuned!

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