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Rising Stars: Meet Jane Cho

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Cho.

Hi Jane, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hello! My name is Jane Cho, and I am a tattoo artist at Outer Limits Tattoo & Piercing in Costa Mesa. Born in Seoul, South Korea, my family and I immigrated to Los Angeles in 1992. Coming from artist parents, I grew up surrounded by art. As a child, I preferred to draw instead of going out to play, which continues to this day. Spending my teenage years at the boardwalk in Venice, I would hang around the tattoo studios fascinated by artists using skin as a medium. However, growing up Orthodox Catholic in a traditional Korean family, I never imagined tattooing as a part of my life.  My mom was so upset when I came home with a half-sleeve one day, she took me to an exorcist!

I guess it truly started when I received my first tattoo in a friend’s apartment. She was dating an apprentice at the time, and he was looking for clients. During the appointment, I was amazed by the entire process- I couldn’t stop asking questions, to which most of his replies were “girls can’t tattoo”. Didn’t matter, after that, I started visiting shops and worked on building a portfolio with the intention of tattooing.

After a few trial and errors in apprenticeships, I found a studio that helped me flourish as an artist. Now I have been working at Outer Limits in Costa Mesa for almost four years and am so grateful for the connections and friendships my career has given me along the way.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
With any path there will be unexpected challenges, but for me personally, I would have to say the biggest challenges were with myself. The self-doubt, criticism, and impostor syndrome are some of the toughest barriers to get through and a constant battle. Sure, there were outside mitigating factors, but it’s never a smooth path for anyone.

Going through multiple apprenticeships, that feeling of thinking maybe it’s not right for you, you’re not good enough, working multiple jobs to support myself during the apprenticeship, all that is just a bittersweet memory now, but the mental challenges are still an everyday battle, to do better, be better.
I don’t see the road ahead as being any smoother, but the voices have certainly taken a back seat although they keep the fire going under my feet. If anything, I would say that the amount of love and support from my friends and loved ones have been more than enough to keep me going even through the most difficult of times.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Thank you. My tattoos tend to veer towards the black and gray mystical/fantasy theme, while incorporating fine lines and sparkles with illustrative realism. I like to think that it is a strong reflection of my personality.  I also like to think my work is an ongoing process with each client, beginning with the consultation.  I love what I do, and I love listening to each idea and seeing each person’s eyes light up as they describe their vision. I want to put myself in their shoes, so I can design each art piece with the same energy I felt during the consult. They trust me with their skin, and I have the privilege of helping them express who they are with my art. I love it and am grateful for it every day.

What are your plans for the future?
I would love to travel more for work so I have that in mind, which is just a means to find a place where I would like to set some roots down, and maybe open my own private studio. I also want to branch out into different mediums to express my art in the future, but for now, I am happy experimenting.

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