It’s easy to get lost while gazing at Corey Divine’s art. A specialist in sacred geometry, Divine’s detailed lines blend into the anatomy of the person wearing the tattoo, somehow standing out while appearing as if they have always been a part of the body. We spoke to Divine about how he was obsessed with Mandalas, the sneaker he created with Dominic Ciambrone and more.
When did you first become interested in art?
In second grade, a few classmates copied the covers from the Goosebumps books. I thought it was so cool! So I started making it myself. Then, in the years that followed, I copied some characters and Pokémon from Dragon Ball Z.
What were some of the first media you worked in?
At school I always drew with a pencil. I once started drawing a mural on my wall when I was a teenager, but really I just drew and tattooed.
Do you remember when you first became interested in tattooing?
It was probably around 10th grade, 2005. When the show Miami Ink came out. I was fascinated and became obsessed.
When did you know you were going to be a tattoo artist? Did you have an education?
2005, immediately. I got an education a few years later.
When you first started tattooing, did you do the kind of work you do now? Or did it take you a while to find your style?
At first I tattooed everything I could. I then turned to new school color tattooing before arriving at my current style, geometric blackwork.
How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over the years?
I am currently tattooing geometric and mandala tattoos. I like collaging different designs together and letting them flow with a client’s musculature.
What fascinates you so much about mandalas?
I love their aesthetic, they are timeless and used in all cultures around the world.
When you create mandalas and sacred geometry, where does your mind go?
I definitely relax and listen to music while I work. I’m usually less anxious when I’m sitting down for the day and locked into a tattoo session for hours. I also use this time to think about thoughts – past, present and future.
They did a few pieces that continue on different parts of the body or on different people. Can you tell us a little bit about where this idea came from and how difficult it is to pull off?
I had seen some great connectors online and wanted to try it. I would love to find more couples or friends to experiment with more. It can be quite difficult to pull off when the parts are very detailed, but sometimes it can be much easier with a minimal design.
Is there a reason you stick with black ink?
I actually focused entirely on color. For the first half of my tattooing career, I painted color. I’m not sure why, but one day I switched to black ink only and never went back.
How did you move away from tattooing with your art?
I recently got into music production. I started studying last May. My friend Adam “MIRR.IMG” looked after me with the music program FL Studio. We did a few collaboration songs together and I’m starting to really get the hang of it and make my own songs now.
Where do you see your art in the future?
I’d like to start incorporating my art more into my music, album covers, VJ visuals, merch designs, etc. My goal is to play my music at concerts and festivals.
Can you tell us something about your collaboration with Chaim Machlev?
Chaim and I have done several collaborations over the years since I first met him in Berlin. He now lives in LA near me. Our last collaboration was great and with a really nice client. We dovetailed our two styles and did her back in one sitting. I’m sure we will be making a lot of collars in the near future.
Tell us about the sneakers you designed with Dominic. How did this process come about and what was it like?
Working with Shoe Surgeon has been an amazing experience. I’ve been friends with Dom for a few years and we talked about making a shoe for a while. Finally we’ve made it. It took a few visits to his amazing production studio, where we went back and forth brainstorming ideas before laser engraving a design I had dreamed up onto leather and constructing an Air Jordan 1.