Yushi’s artistic journey began in 1999,
with an unconventional apprenticeship: Yushi, a Korean, apprenticed in Japan,
learning the craft of irezumi, the historic Japanese style of tattooing.
Irezumi is an art form that has evolved over the past 300 years. It has many rules for an artist
to learn in order to stay true to the style. The sprawling body suits depict images of mythological
beasts and figures from Japanese stories, like the dragon, foo-dog, phoenix, lotus flower, koi fish, peonies
and more. The common themes shown in these works of art are fortune, success or power.
In Yushi’s words, “Studying irezumi is like a never ending journey, in which
the artist aims to create their own style within a framework.”
After returning to Korea and working there for some years, Yushi came to the United States
and immersed himself in Southern California’s world renowned tattoo culture, further expanding
and developing his world of art. The golden sunsets, crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean
and expressive culture of SoCal influenced the evolution of Yushi’s craft.
As a result, Yushi started using vibrant colors and a degree of depth unseen in traditional
irezumi story composition. By purposefully breaking the rules that took years to master,
his art work rapidly grew into its true expression.
Yushi established Oyabun Tattoo in 2020.