A Seoul-based artist is quickly making a name for himself in South Korea's tattoo underground for his lighthearted, cartoon-like tattoos of his clients' animal companions.
Although it is not illegal to get a tattoo in South Korea, they are considered medical procedures and must be carried out by licensed physicians — yes, doctors — in order to comply with the law. Suffice it to say, this has created a thriving underground economy for unlicensed tattoo artists who practice their craft while defying authorities.
The artist who goes by the name of Jiran has amassed a formidable 84,000 followers on Instagram for his bold designs and solid colors, coupled with decidedly cheerful elements ... including the occasional cannabis leaf, a huge no-no in a country where police can stop and drug test people on the street.
Jiran's work is notable for his inclusion of characteristic details. It's fun to compare his tattoos to the photos that inspired them and note the little spots or marks that he made sure to capture.
Here are a few of our favorites, culled from his Instagram: