Tattoos are not just a form of self-expression, but they are (quite literally) wearable pieces of art.
Gone are the days where tattoos come with a certain negative stigma, previously associated with gangs and hoodlums. These days, tattoos are seen as a way for people to express themselves. Celebrities like Zayn Malik and Lady Gaga are examples of how the public, in general, are more accepting of tattoos and an indicator that the public opinion has shifted.
Be it something meaningful or just an aesthetic preference, if you are thinking of getting one, there are some incredible artists here in the sunny shores of Singapore that you should totally check out. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go overseas to get an artistic tattoo that is done well. Our local artists are equally skilled in this craft and just as creative in terms of their flashes and designs.
We have broken them down by category for easy reference and to shine a light on these unconventional local talents. Simply scroll through each gallery per category:
If you are looking to get blackwork done, Chester‘s your man. He has received lots of International recognition for his Blackout Tattoo technique. This is a method whereby sections of the skin is covered completely in opaque black ink. After one of his photos of his clients went viral, publications such as Cosmopolitan and Refinery 29 have interviewed him. It was a new way to cover up some old tattoos and the trend has picked up ever since. Safe to say, for really dark and dense black work tattoos, Chester is one of the best in the world.
Clifford from Gimmelove Tattoo Studio is a rising star in Singapore’s tattoo scene. His designs are unique and modern, whilst still staying true to the bold nature of blackwork tattoos. He has gained quite a following after international Instagram Tattoo accounts such as @blxkink featured his work. He has also guest spotted in Belgium & Amsterdam. If you are looking for a distinct and unique design, look no further.
Jade Sparkle is extremely versatile as as tattoo artist, though we must say that her blackwork is particularly amazing. From miniature tattoos to large back pieces, her repertoire is far and wide. Clean and crisp lines with masterful shading makes her tattoo designs pop and come to life. She is also a great option for ladies who are more comfortable getting inked by another lady, especially when you’re planning under-the-bust tattoos a la Rihanna.
Ian almost exclusively does black and grey tattoos. Why? Because it’s what he does best. From mandalas to realism, he can pretty much do it all with the help of black ink. We particularly love how he controls the intensity and thickness of his lines and his dot work is one of the best.
Jared is a man of many talents, though he shines the brightest when he has his tattoo machine and black ink. Owner of Fingers Crossed Studio, he truly has a distinct style when it comes to his blackwork and sketchy designs. His dot work skills are particularly impressive and his mandalas are an intricate combination of sleek black lines and dots. Jared is definitely one of the most versatile tattoo artists in Singapore.
Ben is a busy bee these days as he has rapidly risen to become one of the more sought after tattoo artists in Singapore. And we can see why. His blackwork tattoo designs are both delicate and bold at the same time. There’s ample shading to add texture and life to his design, but we have to say his floral designs are pretty spectacular.
Augustine‘s oriental tattoos are works of art with richly coloured pigments that create vibrant images on the body. From the reds to the blacks, the colours pop on the skin and that is the sign of a truly masterful oriental tattoo artist. His designs draw inspiration from traditional Japanese tattoos such as koi fishes, dragons and samurais. And he usually does more large scale pieces, because that is what this genre of tattoo is most known for.
CK‘s designs have a modern take on Japanese oriental images. He uses vibrant colours and bold lines to create very clean and precise looking tattoos that are breathtaking. He tends to do larger pieces so that no detail is lost and his sketches are next level good! Those looking for a unique full-sleeve inspired by traditional oriental tattoos, drop this dude an email.
Donald Kwek isn’t afraid to use colour. His works are the most colourful compared to others in this category and that is his strength. His oriental tattoo designs are a melange of colours that make each image pop. If you are interested in a more traditional oriental design, with some inspiration from Chinese culture too, Donald will ink you a spectrum.
Niccku has been tattooing for about 19 years so you know you are in good hands with him. His specialty is, of course, oriental style tattoos, both in black and grey and colour. His designs are more traditional but rich in pigment and colour. He is your go-to for Chinese and Japanese inspired tattoo designs, particularly if you are looking to do a larger piece.
One of the most renowned and sought after tattoo artist in Singapore, Ael Lim has a massive following of 42.4K on Instagram and is almost always fully booked. For good reason! He is most known for his sketchy style of tattooing which he calls “marker” style looks exactly as it sounds. It’s vibrant and messy on purpose. It’s as if he has drawn his design directly on your skin with permanent marker. His signature style is certainly something to look into if you are looking for a piece that is unlike any other. Truly a work of art!
For those who prefer something quirky and modern, Olivia Lim‘s designs are just that. Whimsical and cute, she typically does smaller tattoo pieces that are oh-so-tumblr-worthy. Her work is simple and minimalistic, yet charming and innocent at the same time. Her cartoon tattoo designs are particularly awesome.
Jared is not only amazing at dot work and blackwork, he also has an alternative style that is more modern and artistic. His sketchy style is uniquely his own. It has the feel as if he took a bunch of coloured pens and drew the design directly on the skin. For those looking for a hand drawn, perfectly-imperfect style of tattoos, head on down to Fingers Cross Tattoos. Particularly if you have a unique concept that you want to achieve and you are looking for something that isn’t mainstream.
Flee‘s linework is unlike any other you’ll see in Singapore’s tattoo scene. Her educational background in fine art and design translates perfectly into her tattoos as she has developed her own distinct style almost instantly, despite being a new player in the Singapore tattoo community. Even though she is an apprentice at the moment, her natural artistic skills has resulted in amazing work. She is now very sought after and has a strong following in both her Instagram and Facebook page. Definitely one to check out if you like fine details and a unique, artistic tattoo design.
Old School Artists:
Old school tattoos tend to have a certain look and feel. Often times they have a vintage vibe to them, lots of thick lines, bright colours and lots of retro images. Kurt‘s designs fit this to a tee. You can imagine his work on a sailor’s arm in the 1940s and that’s the beauty of them. His favourite colour palette is blue, red and black and they are always done with incredible vibrancy.
Julian from the bold fox is your go-to person for vibrant tattoos of animals. Naturally he has an affinity for foxes but he does other species too, even dinosaurs. That aside, no matter what he designs for his clients, the result is a breathtakingly colourful tattoo that merges modern and old school tattoo designs. His animal designs have a certain whimsical feel to them as well, which has garnered him international attention, particularly with the Aussies.
Mervin is all about fun designs. He has a strong affinity for traditional tattoo designs that uses mainly primary colours. Lots of knives and swallows, if you are looking for the ultimate retro style, Mervin’s your man.
If you like the old school style but are not a fan of colour, Andrew Kellocks from Dirty Fingers Tattoo has you covered. He adds his own personal style and touch to his old school design. All of his works are uber dark and rich with black pigment. He artfully merges blackwork, old school and modern tattoo designs into his body of work, which is something not many can do.
Feroze is one of the best in the old school tattoo category, period. His linework is dense and unbeatable in terms of how clean and crips they are. It’s actually a feat to create such precise thick lines, which are synonymous with the old school tattoo style. Though his black and greys are stunning, his coloured pieces are next level with incredible saturation that makes the tattoo stand out and jump off the skin. Feroze is definitely one to call if you want an immaculate old school tattoo.
Realism tattoos are basically pictures inked on skin that look extremely true to life. Just like how there are realism portraits in fine art, the same applies in the world of tattooing. Sometimes it’s to remember a loved one, other times it’s for the aesthetic and for those who love intricate details in their tattoo designs.
Bradley from Oracle Tattoo has been doing realism for 15 years and counting and his impressive body of work shows it. His realism tattoos are well-known for their detailing and shading that makes each design come to life.
Elvin is a bit of a jack of all trades, but his realism tattoos are very impressive indeed. He is particularly great at creating the look of texture on skin, giving the illusion of a more 3D design. He plays with differing thickness in his linework, as well as shading to make his designs come to life and it’s pretty amazing. With a huge following of 94k on his Instagram alone, he is definitely has made a name for himself in the tattoo community after being in the game for so long.
Though he is rather new to the tattoo game and still considers himself and “amateur” tattoo artist, his body of work says otherwise. Alfrey‘s realism tattoos are next level good with an affinity of delicate lines and shading skills beyond his years. He does both colour and black and grey though his coloured pieces are particularly impressive. Give him an image and just watch it come to life on your skin.
Ael Lim doesn’t just do his signature “marker style” tattoos but he is also a master at hyper realism. Winning several awards at international ink shows, Ael’s realistic tattooing techniques are pretty much untouchable. From portraits of family members to pets, he can take a photograph and recreate it on your skin without losing any detail. His work has incredible textures and depth, resulting in a 3D appearance that is just about ready to come to life. For those looking for mind-blowing detail and hyper realism, Ael is probably one of the best in the world.
This article first appeared on Harper’s Bazaar, September 2017.
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