Hongdam is one of South Korea's best practitioners of black and grey realism, and what's even more impressive than the lifelike quality of his work is the delicacy of it. Through the use of fine lines and reserved shading, he renders reality in a way that brings out its fragility. Through precise control and a high level of attention to detail, he can take something as big as a two-story house and translate it into a banger that defies belief.
Realism is one of the most difficult tattoo styles to master, and making it look good when working with limited space is a tour de force. Yet this is exactly what Hongdam does in most pieces he creates. He doesn't need the entirety of a client's sleeve to create striking representational art. The secret of how he pulls off this feat rests in his use of extremely fine lines. Using some of the narrowest linework possible in tattooing, he is able to pack an astonishing amount of detail into relatively small spaces. His work demonstrates how a little ink can go a long way.
Flowers appear to be a speciality of Hongdam's, but he won't be backed into a corner and stick to just one motif. His portfolio includes everything from koi to portraiture to abstract designs that will leave your head spinning. Hongdam has also taken some of his artistic influences, such as Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World," and brought them into the world of tattoos.
If you want to be charmed by more of Hongdam's exquisite tattoos, head over to his Instagram. Should you want to track this underground South Korean artist down, hit him up on Kakao Talk at ilwolhongdam.