Kiwa, a college dropout, abandoned his music degree to pursue a tattooing career because he was more interested in drawing and having his artwork significantly impact human bodies. For the past nine years, he has been tattooing professionally, fusing Hindu and Buddhist mandalas with color spectra seen in traditional Korean culture and architecture. They also fit nicely on joints, which indicates that the design flows smoothly but causes discomfort when tattooed on the customer’s elbow or knee. Kiwa enjoys using yellow and white pigments in addition to red, blue, and black, noting that white is his favorite but most challenging ink. “As it heals, white ink tattoos fade quickly, and they will either return to the original skin color or become a light grey or yellow,” but this depends on the individual’s skin and aftercare; sometimes, it lasts for years with little change.
Kiwa was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021 and received treatment, but he still fears it may return. Meanwhile, he goes about his regular life, concentrating on his tattoo art and creating mandalas with the motto “Everything Goes Well.”
Photos © Kiwa