It’s easy to become lost while gazing upon the art of Corey Divine. As a specialist in sacred geometry, Divine’s detailed lines blend in with the anatomy of the person wearing the tattoo, somehow standing out while simultaneously appearing as if they’ve always been a part of the body. We spoke with Divine about how he became enthralled by mandalas, the sneaker he created with Dominic Ciambrone and much more.
When did you first become interested in art?
In second grade, a few class friends were copying the covers from the Goosebumps books. I thought it was so cool! So I started doing it myself. Then the following years, I’d copy some Dragon Ball Z characters and Pokémon.
What were some of the first mediums you worked in?
I always just drew with pencil in school. I started painting a mural on my wall as a teenager once, but it’s really just been drawing and tattooing.
Do you remember when you 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 that you were going to be a tattoo artist? Did you have an apprenticeship?
2005, right away. I did get an apprenticeship a few years later.
When you first started tattooing, were you doing the type of work you do now? Or did it take you a while to find your style?
I was tattooing anything I could at first. Then I gravitated towards new school color tattooing before getting into my current style, geometric blackwork.
How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over the years?
I’m currently tattooing geometric and mandala tattoos. I like to collage different designs together and flow them with a client’s musculature.
What is it about mandalas that intrigues you so much?
I love the aesthetic of them, they’re timeless and used in all cultures around the world.
As you create mandalas and sacred geometry, where does your mind go?
I definitely zone out and listen to music as I work. I’m usually less anxious when I sit down for the day, locked into a tattoo session for hours. I also use this time to reflect on thoughts—past, present and future.
You’ve done a couple of pieces that continue on different body parts, or on different people. Can you tell us a little about where this idea came from and how difficult it is to pull off?
I had seen a few big connecting-people pieces online and wanted to try it out. I’d love to find some more couples or friends to experiment more on. It can be pretty difficult to pull off if the pieces are very detailed, but sometimes with a minimal design it can be much easier.
Is there a reason you stick to black ink?
I actually started out focusing fully on color. I was doing color for the first half of my tattooing career. I’m not sure exactly why, but one day I switched to strictly black ink and never went back.
How have you branched out from tattooing with your art?
I’ve recently gotten into music production. I started learning last May. My friend Adam “MIRR.IMG” has been mentoring me on the music program FL Studio. We’ve done a couple of collaboration songs together, and I’m now starting to really get the hang of it and making my own songs.
Where do you see your art going in the future?
I’d like to start meshing my art more with my music, album art, VJ visuals, merch designs, etc. My goal is to DJ my music at concerts and festivals.
Can you tell us about some of the collaborations you have done 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 right near me. Our last collaboration was great and with a really nice client. We meshed our two styles together and did her back in one session. I’m sure we will be doing plenty of collars in the near future.
Tell us about the sneakers you created with Dominic. How did that process come about and what was it like?
The Shoe Surgeon collaboration was an amazing experience. I’ve been friends with Dom for a few years and we talked about doing a shoe for a while. We finally made it happen. It took a couple of visits to his amazing production studio where we went back and forth on ideas before we laser-etched a design I came up with onto leather and constructed an Air Jordan 1.