The concept of body art has been around for thousands of years. While most western countries have moved on from the stigma associated with tattoos, it is still frowned upon in many eastern countries like South Korea.
For a country that's progressive in fashion and music, there's a rising culture of young artists who despite what may seem like a violation of social norms, are looking to express themselves. One of these artists is the well known Nini.
There is one rule however for anyone willing to give a tattoo. You must be a doctor. How many of these tattoo artists are actually doctors? We haven't found one yet. According to government sources, there are roughly 20,000 illegal artists in South Korea. The law doesn't really come after them. Some artists have even said that some law officers have come to them for tattoos. Although tattoo artists aren't forced to stop, they are told to keep a low profile. Riam, another illegal tattoo artist works from an underground basement is Seoul.
And there's no shortage of law-abiding citizens who are looking to express their individuality at the hands of illegal tattoo artists. You have people like model Sun Jin Park who proudly expresses his individuality despite Korean social norms and like many other western countries, it's growing fast.