“She can seduce any man she wants with her mesmerizing beauty.” Korean tattooer Suzani lovingly describes Tomie, a Japanese horror manga character, and the root of her creative inspiration. “Men couldn’t control their love toward her, so they killed her. Murdered, and buried into pieces. But no matter how many times they killed her, she came back in brilliant ways to lead them to doom.”
Suzani imagines this dark heroine returning from the grave, this time hiding behind a Noumen Manbi mask. These traditional Japanese masks “symbolize a demon disguised as a beautiful woman to seduce a man.” Unlike Ko-omote masks, which celebrate virginity and innocence, the Manbi are dominant and mature. Leaning back, Suzani laughs. “If the Manbi was submissive, I would never choose to draw it!”
Clients are drawn to her work for different reasons. They might feel fear or anger, arousal or empowerment. She’s captivated by this effect. “I don’t want to force anyone to feel anything. People have their own interpretations. Nobody can know for sure who is underneath the mask. I think the beauty lies in that.”
Photos © Suzani.