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Inside the colourful world of Korean artist

Words by Adam Jolley
Inside the colourful world of Korean artist

When it comes to cute and colourful, South Korea is still leading the way.

"Right now, the colour tattoo scene in Korea is buzzing with excitement," says Seoul-based tattoo artist Zvee ( "There's been a noticeable surge in popularity, especially with the rise of small and cute colour tattoos. These tattoos, born right here in Korea, have really made a name for themselves worldwide." 

Tattoo by Zvee

Featuring slices of strawberry cake, cute kittens, magical unicorns, hearts, fairytale cartoons - all, of course, in wonderful colour - Zvee is one of South Korea's leading proponents of this beautiful, homegrown style.

"It's cool to see Korean artists leading the way in this style. As someone who's deeply involved in this scene, I can't help but feel proud of the talent and creativity we bring to the table."

Tattoo by Zvee

Tattoo by Zvee

Zvee has every right to feel proud of her work. South Korea has a bit of a rep as a challenging place to work as a tattoo artist; she describes the Korean tattoo community as "quite closed-off". And, while tattoos and tattooing aren't strictly illegal, cultural issues around the artform still persist.

"In Korea, tattooing is a bit of a mixed bag," Zvee says. "We've got some seriously talented artists doing amazing work, but there's still a bit of a stigma attached to tattoos in our society. Over the past seven years, I've been working hard to change that. But it hasn't been easy, especially when it comes to getting our voices heard on the global stage. That's why opportunities like this interview mean a lot to me — they're a chance to shine a light on Korean tattooing."

In 2021, "fueled by a passion for fostering collaboration and communication within the tattoo community," Zvee founded Colorbomb Studio.

"It serves as a platform for tattooists to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects that push the boundaries of our craft. Through Colorbomb Studio, I aim to cultivate a vibrant and supportive community where artists can thrive and continue to elevate the art of tattooing. Collaborating with artists from different backgrounds has been eye-opening and inspiring. It's helped me grow as an artist and brought fresh perspectives to my work. When I first got into tattooing, I never imagined I'd have the chance to work with people from all over the world. It's been a wild ride, but it's definitely expanded my horizons."

"It's in moments of connection that truly exceptional designs are conceived"

Perhaps in part due to the underground nature of tattooing in Korean society, it's clear that Zvee's desire for collaboration, connection and community are strong sources of motivation for her work. 

"I believe that tattooing goes beyond mere artistry; it's about fostering meaningful connections with my clients. Drawing inspiration from diverse artistic backgrounds has equipped me with a unique perspective that enhances my interactions with clients. Through open communication and empathy, I strive to co-create designs that deeply resonate with each individual.

"My varied artistic experiences have taught me the value of synergy – that magical alignment of energies between myself and my clients. It's in these moments of connection that truly exceptional designs are conceived. In today's tattoo industry, where artistic approaches span a wide spectrum encompassing illustration, gaming, and fine art, I find that my diverse background enables me to adapt and innovate. Embracing these varied influences allows me to offer clients a truly bespoke and enriching tattoo experience."

Tattoo by Zvee

With tattooing in Korea still remaining outside the mainstream, the support of visitors for artists like Zvee is key.

"Most of my customers are foreigners, " she says. "They come from various countries such as the USA, UK, France, Australia, Canada, and so on. Also my customers often tell me that they come to Korea specifically to get tattoos from me. When I hear them say that, it brings me great joy."

Places to chill are plentiful in Seoul, South Korea

Besides, Seoul is undoubtedly a cool place to get a tattoo.

"Seoul offers so many enjoyable activities! If you're looking to have some fun, you can visit Hongdae. I especially recommend Yeonnam-dong and Mangwon-dong, where you can experience the vibrant energy of Korean youth," Zvee says.

Next time you're in the neighbourhood, be sure to pay Zvee a visit - it's bound to brighten your day.  

Park in Seoul, South Korea