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KoyoCoreyRay


My story of tattooing begins in the mid 90's while I was living in Japan. I was working as a comic book artist, and found learning the language and culture was fascinating! I began studying Japanese calligraphy known as "SHODOU", and it was through "SHODOU" that I was introduced to "IREZUMI" (Tattooing) by chance. A very rare opportunity to be a part of as a westerner, the process of collaborating together, working up the art, and the nature of respect given to the process were all very different from our "western-style" Tattoo environments. It very much impressed me, and so I have incorporated much of that into the essence of KOYO STUDIOS and the process by which I create your story and put it into your skin.

In 2011, guided by the hand of Mother Universe, I met some Tattoo artists who tattoo prison-style...learned in the culture of the California State prison system. Before I knew they were tattoo artists, I had drawn a pencil portrait for one of the artists' loved one so he could send it home...as many people there are separated from their families and fight depression. So taken by the act of kindness and quality of my art, he offered to teach me how to tattoo. Building the machine, making the ink, using a straightened pen spring for the needle, and the pen cap to hold the pen tube, I received my first tattoo and tattoo instruction in one of the most traditional and misunderstood methods, in one of the most misunderstood cultures. Almost all modern tattooing traces back to those very roots! What I thought to be a seemingly negative experience was turned into one of the most memorable blessings of my life!

Much of the retail tattoo industry here in the U.S. reminds me of the old Carnival Sideshows. There are more "old wives' tales" than scientific truth, and many "tattoo artists" have very little to no experience competing at a professional level in more established art fields. I see improperly done Japanese kanji all the time, artists that claim to specialize in Japanese tattooing but speak no Japanese and have never been there. I see so many designs that lack professional finish and are riddled with elementary mistakes making them more like children's coloring book art than deserving permanent tattoos. The subjects don't interact with each other, sizing detracts from the story, and wasted space is everywhere...not to mention the science behind tattooing seems to change from shop to shop, and artist to artist. Opinions, attitude, and intimidation seem run the show sometimes.
However, art is in the eye of the beholder. I believe you can look at a piece and can tell when one is good...even if if you can't explain why. Just like you can meet someone and in one conversation get a feeling about them, take the time to really look at potential artists art, their tattoos, their personality before having them permanently mark your body.
I firmly believe in giving you what you want while working with you to make sure that it is a quality piece of art when we get done.

Learning different styles is an art of its own, and I am very good at it...so bring whatever idea you have!
     Tattooing in San Diego for over 10 years, I'm a fun, loving person who believes in a professional attitude and the best talent when forming the journey that will ILLUSTRATE your personal SAGA!
My style would be most defined somewhere in between Impressionism and Realism
I specialize in Portraits, Caricatures, Traditional and Modern Japanese, Comic Book styles, Anime, Cartooning, Painter styles, Japanese Calligraphy, and Western Calligraphy.

Cover-Ups and fixes
I thoroughly enjoy fixing Permanent Make-Up and Tattoos that are improperly done or that you no longer like. No Cover Up is too hard so do not hesitate to ask me!   

Please scroll over the cards below and click to take a look at my galleries of "Artwork", "Tattoos", and "Finished Designs".