Dublin is considered one of the great arts and culture cities in the Western world. It’s a city of incredible authors, with a rich and deep literary history. It’s also home to some of the best tattoo artists in Europe. But who are they, and where do they work?
Let’s take a look here at some of the best tattoo artists in Dublin, as well as the tattoo shops of Dublin that you should visit when you’re next in Ireland’s gorgeous capital. These are nine unique Dublin tattoo artists to inspire you and leave your jaw on the floor.
Hyper-realistic portrait tattoos can be a dangerous thing. They’re undoubtedly some of the most impressive tattoos out there but, if they go wrong, the consequences are potentially higher than those of other tattoo styles. Bruno Santos’ tattoos scoff at the idea of imperfection, however. Their textured, life-filled, dynamic style blends photorealism with a subtle fantasy-esque art style that is like nothing we’ve ever seen. Santos’ Japanese-inspired and video game-inspired art is a revelation: something that’s faithful to its source material but also wholly its own thing. Like a good cover song, it pays tribute to the source by being a masterful piece of art in its own right. And speaking of original art, Santos does an awful lot of that as well, blending art from the Far West and the Far East to create some of the best art in the tattoo industry right now. Bruno Santos is one of the best tattoo artists in Dublin, and we could sing his praises for weeks.
There is real artistry to black minimalism where tattoo art is concerned. Kevin McNamara is one of the very best in the industry for just this. His art takes human skin and black ink and blends them together to create a deep and rich piece of art that soothes your mind as you read and admire it. Much of it is abstract; some of it is adapted from portraits, comic books, and other art form. When I saw how faithfully he managed to reproduce a piece of Junji Ito art onto human flesh, I almost forgot how to breathe. There’s so much satisfaction to be found in gazing at, and taking in all the subtleties of, Kevin’s artwork. As unique Dublin tattoo artists go, he’s undoubtedly amongst the finest of them, delivering a style of art unlike anything else around. Kevin is also another artist based out of Dublin Ink, in case you needed more evidence that Dublin Ink is one of the great tattoo shops of Dublin.
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Agne’s tattoos shift almost seamlessly between abstract surrealism and true-to-life dynamism, with a nod to the creepy and the gothic. Her art is clever, often blending the deepest blacks with the softest delicate lines. There’s so much dynamism at play here, creating real surrealism that’s fun and thought-provoking. Looking at it is like reading a Murakami novel, as more threads become unravelled and ideas swim around in your head. A treat for the mind as well as the eyes, making Agne a really wonderful Dublin tattoo artist.
This right here is my jam, now and forever. Everything I personally love in the world of tattooing is right here in Matthew Larkin’s art. And, if you’re someone who loves big, bright, bold pieces that pop with colour and life, inspired by anime, cartoons, pop-culture, video games, Disney, and bit of neotrad tattoo art, Matthew Larkin is absolutely for you. He has a style that’s malleable, shifting, and adaptable to what’s needed. It’s truly fascinating and captivating and deserves so much respect from the tattoo world at large. His interpretations of Final Fantasy characters, comic book heroes, and original neotrad designs are all excellent, but where he really stands out as one of the best tattoo artists in Dublin is through his crossover pieces where he mixes two intellectual properties together in a delightfully fun and creative way. Like, for example, mixing Harry Potter with Pikachu, or Eevee with Mario, or Jynx with a can of Lynx body spray. It’s all wild and fun and creative and I just love it. Looking for a unique Dublin tattoo artist who relishes fun and creativity, Matthew Larkin is it.
Every artist we’ve mentioned so far has been a wholly unique Dublin tattoo artist, and what makes German Ferreiroa so unique is his playful yet faithful neotrad art. A lot of it is dirty; a lot of it is naughty; all of it is a lot of delightfully gay fun. There’s an amazing blend of neotrad styles to German’s art: both black and grey, and bold colour. Both are faithful neotrad tattoo styles and yet both use subjects and ideas that have never really been seen before. Tarot cards with original depictions; flowers done from unique perspectives; modern twists on goldie oldie designs. There’s so much wonderful creativity here, making German one of the most fun and best tattoo artists in Dublin.
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André fantini is fantastic, end of. He’s the fourth artist on this list currently working at Dublin Ink, making Dublin Ink one of the undisputed best tattoo shops in Dublin. André specialises in black and grey tattoo art with a lean towards realism, yet is often inspired by mythology and traditional art in some way: demonic skulls, geisha, Hindu deities, Lovecraftian beasts and creatures. All of it nods at realism, thus giving it a borderline uncomfortable edge as it looks too real to be removed from what we can see and understand. André takes the mythical and makes it real, branding you with it forever in a piece of jaw-dropping art. A Dublin tattoo artist with skills for days.
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Luiz is the first of two Dublin tattoo artists working out of one of the best tattoo shops in Dublin: The Legendary Tattoo Studio. And, yes, legendary is absolutely the right word here. I’d almost wager you’ve never seen such a clever and celebratory use of colour before. Luiz knows how to coordinate a style and a theme in his colour tattoos, whether it’s by blending red and pink with a black-and-grey tattoo base, or by injecting shades of primary colours into an anime or neotrad inspired piece of artwork. Luiz’s work is loud and confident; it’s electric and visceral. Yet it’s all created with so much care and dedication to the craft. I have loved every tattoo Luiz has ever delivered, yet his work only gets better and better.
Isnard is our other resident artist The Legendary Tattoo Studio tattoo shop in Dublin. He’s also one of the best tattoo artists in Dublin for his illustrious and unchained blend of texture and colour. Every tattoo that Isnard creates is captivating: you truly feel as though your attention is so completely absorbed by his art. Sitting and staring at it for hours – admiring its fun and engaging tones and sheer creative scope – is nothing short of an absolute pleasure, and a great use of your time. Not as great as getting a tattoo from Isnard yourself though. Which you should absolutely do if you’re a fan of, well, tattoos at all. Isnard’s art is what it looks like when tattooing reaches its peak. Whether it’s inspired by anime, traditional Japanese are, Western comics, or just the natural world around us, Isnard’s tattoo art is flawless. Not only is he one of the best tattoo artists in Dublin, but perhaps in the entire world.
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Roxa mostly works with fine black lines to create truly delicate minimalist artistry. She and her artwork are evidence that less can absolutely be more. There’s breath to Roxa’s art; like a Japanese painting her art makes as much use of empty space as it does the ink itself. You’ll find here a mix of inspired art and original pieces, so if you’re in the mood for an originally interpretation of something Disney or comic inspired, Roxa can deliver (she designed the best Neil Gaiman’s Sandman tattoo I’ve ever seen). But her original pieces are abstract and thought-provoking; they encourage you to give yourself a little time to think and ponder and admire her artistry.
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.