Teji (@teeejiii) is a designer, tattoo artist and illustrator from Osaka with a dual universe, like any of us: a bit of an angel, a bit of a devil. Butterflies and monsters, stuffed animals and ghosts, ribbons and thorns live together in his world.
But unlike what happens in religious paintings, one of his sources of inspiration, this duality does not involve a confrontation between the good – the desirable – and the evil – the threat.
Teji’s evil creatures and creatures of light share the same tenderness; if there is one thing that defines the tattoo artist, it is that all the beings he designs are equally kawaii. They are the two faces of the same essence. They are here to protect us.
To learn more about how these creatures appear to Teji, and after one of his angels was tattooed on my arm, I posed him these questions.
Chorareii: How do you define yourself as a tattoo artist? And how would you define your tattoo style?
Teji: I had already been creating clothes and drawing, so I feel that doing tattoos is another way of expression for me.
As for my tattoo style, they are kawaii guardian gods.
When did you start doing tattoos and who taught you?
I started when I was in Berlin two years ago, but I have learned from the tattoo artist Fumijoe (@fumijoetattoo). We don’t have a teacher-student relationship, but I get advice, fun, and laughter from her.
Your designs include angels, unicorns, butterflies, demons … Why do you choose these types of characters?
For me, I myself am a devil and I myself am an angel. For me, both unicorns and butterflies can fly.
Your style is very kawaii and also spontaneous as if you were drawing freely in a moment of inspiration. Is that part of your personality?
YES [Editor’s note: Capitals are from Teji!].
Could you talk about the tattoos you have on your own body? What are they and who made them?
The first thing I got was a Saturn tattoo on the chest from the tattoo artist Gakkin (@gakkinx). I got it because it came out in a dream I had.
I have tattooed my legs practically by myself, the right one is about angels and the left about demons.
From now on I would like my favorite tattoo artists and my friends who are not tattoo artists to tattoo me.
What other type of art moves you?
Lately I am moved by religious paintings and western paintings depicting demons and angels.
What do you do when you need inspiration?
Watch movies at home, cry … [laughs].
You also design your own clothes and accessories with your brand Onegaigoto, what does fashion mean to you?
It means day-to-day life and sudden impulses.
Finally, could you tell me a tattoo artist that you like?
I like a French tattoo artist called Melody (@lome__lu on Instagram).
Proofreading: Jasmina Mitrovic (@negi_hime).
ଘ( ˊωˋ)† Ψ(ΦwΦ)