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Vivid Impressions: An Interview with Chou, Master of Photorealistic Color Tattoos

Discover Daye Kang's journey from Korea to Canada, mastering the art of photorealistic, colorful tattoos that capture memories and beauty.

Tattoofilter in Interviews
White rabbit tattoo by Chou

Meet Daye Kang, artistically known as Chou, a master of photorealistic color tattoos whose vibrant and detailed creations adorn the skin of many. Originally hailing from Korea, where she honed her skills under the guidance of three mentors, Chou now brings her artistic flair to Chronic Ink in Canada. Her journey into the world of tattooing began nearly seven years ago, driven by her passion for art and the allure of a profession that marries creativity with permanence.

Having studied art in college, Chou found her calling in the vivid immediacy of tattooing—despite the daunting permanence of ink on skin, she was captivated by the ability to produce instantaneous and lasting beauty. Today, Chou specializes in creating enchanting, colorful tattoos that often depict alluring floral designs and symbols that capture the personal memories of her clients, who are predominantly women. In this interview, we delve into Chou's artistic process, explore the challenges and triumphs of her career, and discover how she transforms fleeting moments into eternal art.

In your opinion, what distinguishes a good tattoo from a great one?

I think the distinction between a good tattoo and a great one lies in how well the tattoo the customer receives reflects their life and values, tailored to their individual preferences.

How do you strive for greatness in your work?

The key to pursuing greatness in my work lies in continuous learning and development. Acquiring new techniques and styles, and understanding and implementing my clients' visions through effective communication, is crucial.

How do you determine when a tattoo is complete? Are there specific criteria or feelings you look for, or is it more of an intuitive process based on your experience and artistic vision?

The criteria for determining the completion of a tattoo are how closely it matches the design completed before the work and how well it conveys satisfying emotions to both the customer and myself. This can be discerned through intuition and experience.

How do you stay inspired and continue evolving creatively?

Firstly, I explore various forms of art in my daily life. Since I can't visit exhibitions or galleries every day, I often browse through image websites and social media platforms to see a wide range of artworks. Additionally, the environment, culture, and countless visual stimuli I've encountered and remembered throughout my life interact in a complex way to inspire me.

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How do you navigate the balance between staying true to traditional tattooing techniques and embracing new technological advancements?

After establishing priorities for what I consider most important in tattoos, I then decide whether to maintain existing elements or add new ones, aligning with those priorities and adjusting accordingly.

What role do you believe tattoos play in self-expression and identity formation for your clients?

When a customer selects a theme and contacts me, it's all part of the process of exploring and expressing their values, experiences, and identity. In this context, a tattoo artist plays a role in elevating an individual's subjectivity, allowing them to express and affirm their unique existence. Additionally, I believe it's my part to facilitate the process of realizing their desired internal expression smoothly.

Can you share a memorable experience where a tattoo you created had a significant impact on someone's life?

Many customers have shed tears after completing tattoos with me. It's likely due to the impact of the artwork, the journey leading up to its creation, and the considerations made when choosing the theme, all interacting and contributing to their emotional response.

However, the most significant and meaningful experience regarding this is when I got my first tattoo. Despite getting the tattoo for the purpose of learning tattooing skills without much significance, I can't forget the emotions I felt when the tattoo was completed.

The learning experience about tattoo skills, the earnest desire to become better at tattooing, and the aesthetics that beautiful artwork brings—all of these combined made me experience an increase in self-love and self-esteem.

Have you ever encountered a client whose tattoo story deeply resonated with you, and if so, what was it about?

Most of my clients request tattoos that hold deep meaning. When I ask them why they want a particular tattoo, they often share stories about their mothers, families, children, or pets. They also talk about their identity, their homeland, and so on.

It always touches me deeply to me, and I find myself empathizing with their stories. There are moments when clients shed tears upon seeing the completed artwork after enduring the pain for a long time. And in those moments, I too am moved to tears.

Have you ever had a tattoo design that you were initially unsure about but ended up loving once it was completed?

That's the case with the a possum tattoo. My customer wanted too many topics and I felt the hard because I had been researching ways to showcase aesthetic beauty. It was a reservation I received two months ago, and up until two days before the session, I struggled to come up with a design idea.

However, that piece has now become one of the most popular posts on my Instagram.

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