My official tattoo apprenticeship day is coming up very soon and I’ve been busy preparing for this big day. One of the things high in my priorities has been to design a simple and clear image that could represent my unique Korean identity.
Designing a meaningful image that reflects my identity, what I stand for and what I aspire to do, could have been a challenging task but because of Korea’s rich culture and history, I felt inspired to have fun with it. When I came across this picture during my research, I knew this was a perfect symbol for me.
Such Korean masks date back to Korea’s prehistoric era. They were first used by shaman priests during ritual offerings and in exorcisms. Over time, the artistic expression overtook their ritual meaning and masks became popular in folk art and dance. The color of a mask represents a social class and the character’s age and gender. In general, red masks represent young men, white masks represent young women, and black masks represent the elderly. Masks with red dots on the forehead and the cheeks signify women and the masks without dots signify men.
I chose my design because I embrace the simplicity in both the appearance and the meaning behind it. I love that I can just say, “oh, it means young woman” if asked about the meaning of my design. It’s so simple and honest. I don’t have to act like I know more than I actually do and that’s all I really want to get out of my design. “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”