So maybe I do want someone to draw all over me
June 12, 2015 8:33 PM   Subscribe

After reading this discussion on the blue, I was wondering who are the best artists in the tattoo world.

It seems like to took a long time for modern day tattooing to really find its way as an art form, but it looks like it's happening now, and exceptional artists are being recognized. I never thought I would get a tattoo, mostly because I have never seen anything I would want forever, but people like Ester Garcia are making me reconsider. So if you had (quite a) few extra bucks, who would you go to for work?
posted by rtimmel to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite artists are Chris O'Donnell and Virginia Elwood. My husband and I have been getting tattooed by Chris for 10 years and by Virginia for a year or so. Basically any artist at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn will be pretty awesome.
posted by bedhead at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

My favourite artist working today is Xoil, from France. After many years and many many miles I was able to get a chestpiece from him last fall.

Sasha Unisex from Russia, Nomi Chi from Vancouver and Peter Aurisch from Germany all do completely mindblowing work.
posted by Jairus at 9:03 PM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]

Anil Gupta's work is pretty amazing. His shop is Inkline Studios on the Lower East Side of NYC.
posted by holborne at 9:05 PM on June 12, 2015

My favorite artist is the one who is currently doing my tattoos - Tanya Wischerath. She's also exhibited at the National
Portrait Gallery
in London and been named the best tattoo artist in the Bay Area. I'm not the only mefite she's inked up and I highly recommend her if you're in San Francisco.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:10 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Amanda Wachob. I don't have any tattoos, but if there was any reason for me to get one, it'd be her.
posted by foxjacket at 9:19 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Mike DeVries (instagram), is putting out some of the most amazing detail work I've seen.
posted by toxic at 9:26 PM on June 12, 2015

Another vote for Tanya (poke around in my history for links to my kestrel and dragonfly).

But this is a hard question to answer, because it's so very subjective, and because it's not solely about the style of the artist's work, but the relationship you develop with the artist. The collaborative process is incredibly important, I think, and I don't think I'd want to get work done by someone whose work I love if we didn't click beforehand. So there's that.
posted by rtha at 9:32 PM on June 12, 2015

Chaim Machlev seems amazing.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:01 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would love to get something from Ivana Belakova.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:04 AM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been drooling over Javi Wolf's work lately but alas he's in Mexico (I think) and I am not.
posted by billiebee at 3:01 AM on June 13, 2015

Lianne Moule does the most amazing watercolour tattoos I've ever seen.
posted by missmagenta at 4:00 AM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like Thomas Hooper a lot.

That said, there are a lot of very good tattoo artists--there's probably one in your city. When you get up to the level of mastery, it's as much a question of whose style you like, and who you click with, as it is skill and technique.

(And, as a quick aside, I'm not sure I agree with your assertion that it took a long time for modern tattooing to find its way as an art form. I would, however, agree that it took a while for it to be recognized by the world of art, largely but not entirely because of the usual (classist, exclusionary, etc.) high-art/low-art reasons.)
posted by box at 6:06 AM on June 13, 2015

Hey, I have an Esther Garcia tattoo!

My other Number One Forever is Jason Vaughn - he does a lot of Japanese style, but if you plumb far back enough in his profile he's also done a ton of cute cartoony tattoos and beautiful art deco ladies and basically, dude can take whatever idea you want and make it super colorful, clean, vibrant and beautiful.

A lot of top artists basically won't tattoo you. Good luck getting appointments, anyway. The cool thing about Jason Vaughn is that he has open consultation hours and as long as you're willing to wait a few months for your appointment to roll around, you'll get in without having to have any tattoo world connections or selling your newborn or whatever.

I'm also really obsessed with the dark, occult, grimoire-style work of Pauly Lingerfelt. He does a lot of Victorian designs as well. Nothing from him yet, but I've always wanted to back to NOLA....
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:12 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have two Esther Garcia tattoos as well! She is so talented and I feel honored to have her work on my skin.

Here in Chicago, I'm super in love with (and have a consultation coming up! woo!) Josh Grable. I'll be having him turn my Esther Garcia half-sleeve to a full sleeve (and I'm so excited to see how he references her work but in his own style), but he's also an amazing portrait tattoo artist.
posted by misskaz at 6:28 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Alice Carrier for amazing botanicals
Peter Aurisch is one of the main reasons I want to visit Berlin.
Thieves of Tower make nightmarish scrimshaw/woodcut work
Planning a Cody Zeek piece soon, similar hand but different style to the above

I'm surely forgetting some folks.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:25 PM on June 13, 2015

Jun Matsui had some really interesting pieces, but seems to not be booking anymore.
posted by rux at 5:52 PM on June 14, 2015

Niki Norberg (in Göteborg, Sweden) does the most amazing grey work I've seen. This is a favourite style of mine, and I've never seen anyone do it better.
posted by Richat at 7:38 AM on June 15, 2015

Oh! And I wanted to mention Emily Rose Murray. Pretty sure she's in Australia, but man, she does an incredible version of the sort of traditional style.
posted by Richat at 10:42 AM on June 15, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone. I've been pulled away from my computer for days so its been wonderful to jump in to see all the responses. I'm not marking any of them as best because how weird is that to decide which artist are best.
posted by rtimmel at 10:41 AM on June 19, 2015

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