If there’s one thing that London tattoo artists have over other tattoo artists across the rest of the world, it’s their uniqueness. There’s such a celebrated and exciting variety in the world of London tattoo artists. From photorealistic tattoos to hyper-cute anime tattoos, there’s such a breadth of style and artistry on display in London’s tattoo scene that you can find exactly the tattoo you want without looking too hard. But who are these most unique of London tattoo artists? Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting and best tattoo artists in London in 2019!
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Jean Le Roux
Working out of Good Fortune tattoo studio in London, Jean Le Roux is a phenomenal tattoo artist originally from South Africa. Since 2013 he has been a vibrant and exciting presence in the London tattoo scene. His art blends neotrad tattoo designs with a distinctly tight, detailed, and modern flair. His portraits of women – be they gypsies, pirates, or women of myth – are particularly hauntingly beautiful. His faces are full of deep emotion and lifelike beauty that is nothing less than captivating. Without doubt, Jean Le Roux is one of the best tattoo artists in London today.
Kola Smith (Kolahari)
An absolute favourite of ours at Books and Bao. Kola’s tattoos are like nothing else on Earth. Inspired by Japanese traditional artwork and medieval English aesthetics, Kola’s tattoo art is created in a flat, two-dimensional woodcut style that is so incredibly unique and unmistakable in the dense and crowded world of London tattoo artists. If you like your tattoos to stand out in a crowd, be mesmerising to explore and examine, and be something to be truly proud of, give Kola a visit. Kola operates out of The Circle tattoo studio in London.
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One of the best things to take the world of tattooing by storm in recent years is the rise in popularity of cute, adorable tattoos. Tattoos inspired by anime and cartoons, video games, or simply tattoos that are bursting with animation and colour. We’ve mentioned the likes of Ali Burke and Stickypop before, but one of the best tattoo artists in London for adorable art is definitely Rhi Hustwayte. Rhi focuses her delightful energy into neotrad tattoos with a cute twist. Animals in clothes, bowls of ramen, beloved anime characters – as long as it’s cute, Rhi can deliver an excellent tattoo of it. Rhi Hustwayte can be found at True Tattoo studio in London and is certainly one of the stand-out London tattoo artists.
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Luke A. Ashley
They say the most painful place to get a tattoo is your palms. So, why not dare to be the tattoo artist who proudly makes his living being the guy who almost exclusively only works on the most painful place to get a tattoo? Luke A Ashley, who operates out of South City Market tattoo studio in London, exclusively tattoos bold, thick palm tattoos in black linework. His designs can be done covering your entire palm or just a segment of it, but either way be prepared for some pain. The results can’t be argued with, though. His tattoos are slick and vibrant, and the designs are inspiring. After seeing Luke’s finished works, I’ve never wanted a palm tattoo more. He’s certainly one of the most unique London tattoo artists around today.
Andrew John Smith
In a world where tattooing is being stretched in every direction, it’s vital to have artists who can truly uphold the traditions and roots of tattooing. When we talk about neotrad, we usually mean tattoos that bring traditional designs and themes to the modern world of tattoo style. But Andrew John Smith goes beyond this, upholding the more traditional style of bold colour and thick lines but delivering inventive, colourful, and creative tattoos. This is what true neotrad tattooing looks like, and what makes Andrew one of the best tattoo artists in London. You can find him at Jolie Rouge Tattoo Studio in London.
Deneka is nothing short of a legend in the Japanese tradition of tattooing. From full Japanese sleeves depicting koi fish, tigers, sakura, and dragons, to full yakuza-style body suits and even smaller pieces like omamori charms, there’s nothing in the traditional world of Japanese tattooing not conquered by Deneka. Hannya masks, snakes, waves, kitsune, turtles, the list goes on and on. If you’re on the market for real traditional, pure Japanese style tattoos in London, Deneka is who you come to. This amazing dedication to the craft of Japanese tattooing is what makes Deneka one of the great London tattoo artists.
Every artist on this list is delightfully unique, channelling their own impressive skillset into a specific niche of design and execution that makes each of them one of the best tattoo artists in London. For Amanda Rodriguez, that niche is flower tattoos. Detailed, pastel-coloured, intricate and intimate, lively and beautiful flower tattoos. Well, flowers and sometimes animals. Her birds are particularly lifelike and yet uniquely artistic. To ensure every single tattoo she does is unique and worth admiring in such detail takes heart and incredible skill, both of which Amanda has in spades. She is, for sure, one of the most inspiring London tattoo artists right now.
With just some reds, greys, and blacks, and an unparalleled love for the traditions of Japanese tattooing, Caio Pińeiro has made a name as one of the truly great London tattoo artists. There’s a kind of emotional density to Caio’s tattoos that is truly awe-inspiring. It’s as though you feel them and breathe them as much as you see them. And the minimalist use of colour only serves to reinforce the striking power that they hold. There’s so much to love and admire in Caio’s Japanese art, from traditional three-quarter Japanese sleeves to intricate crane and koi fish designs. If you love Japanese art and are looking for one of the absolute best tattoo artists in London, look no further.
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How far can the breadth of uniqueness in London tattoo artists really stretch? Impressively far, as proven by the magnificent tattoo art of Volkan Demirci. The realism of Volkan’s tattoos almost beggars belief. Whether they’re in complete black-and-grey or a splash of vibrant neon colour, Volkan’s tattoos are so head-spinning in their realism and intricate detail you truly struggle to believe such art is even possible. Whether Volkan’s tattoos are depicting portraits, landscapes, creatures, monsters, or beloved pop-culture characters, the depth of detail and life on display is staggering. Don’t think twice about booking with this giant of the London tattoo artists scene.
Marie’s tattoos hold a special place in our hearts as someone who delivers almost photorealistic tattoos inspired by our favourite sci-fi and video game characters. Many tattoo artists approach this style of tattooing with a cartoony edge, but Marie goes for something deeper, more intricate; something with real dimension. She also does an incredible job of bringing more traditional animal designs and human portraits to staggering life on your skin. Her art is to be admired and celebrated. This demonstrates an incredibly versatility to Marie’s tattooing skills that is to be truly marvelled at. You can find Marie, one of the finest London tattoo artists around, working at Sacred Gold tattoo studio in London.
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Will predominantly writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.