Instagram is changing the way people discover and fall in love with new art. The social behemoth boasts more than 800 million active users every month. For artists, it means a way of celebrating and showing art that wouldn’t have been possible just 10 or 15 years ago.
For tattoo artists, Instagram is becoming an invaluable tool to both showcase their work and drum up new business. In fact, a lot of the world’s hottest and most in-demand artists were discovered because of their popular Instagram accounts.
We love praising good artists who do good work, and that is the point of this round up. Here are 8 incredible tattoo artists you need to follow on Instagram:
We see a lot of tattoo artists doing their thing on Instagram, and while we can get googly-eyed over the typical traditional or black and gray stuff all day, we get really excited when we come across the work of someone like Sasha Unisex. Her work incorporates a lot of beautiful coloring, along with ornate geometric lines and angles, and soft lines. The best way to describe it is like having an airbrush tattoo, only permanent and way more beautiful. She’s always posting new stuff, and not all of her posts are tattoos. She also posts art prints, modeling photos, and even some of her temporary tattoos, for which she has become very popular.
Johnny Gloom is one of those tattoo artists whose work you can immediately recognize in a sea of tattoo work. She incorporates hard lines and high contrast into her black and gray work, and while some of her stuff is kind of reminiscent of old Microsoft ’98 clip art images, the overwhelming majority of it is truly inspiring. She’s one of those artists who shows how effective simple, bold, black line work and shading can be, if implemented properly.
German artist Susanne König is an artist’s tattoo artist. Her black and gray work is incredibly ornate, and is reminiscent of a cleaner Shel Silverstein poetry book illustration. Her portrait work is really good, and her illustration work is equally intriguing. She handles everything from cityscapes to pet portraits. Her illustrations, even though morbid-seeming to an extent, are generally light and polite, but also incorporate an air of seriousness that translates well to the kind of tattooing she does. If you book her for an appointment, you’re in a for a real treat, especially if you’re looking for the kind of whimsical illustrative work she’s so naturally adept to.
We first learned about Havva Karabudak from the @bangbangnyc tattoo page (she’s a resident artist at the shop), and her work is truly something special. We’re not the “tattoos can’t be art” types of people, but even we can admit that her work is on a whole different level. It’s the kind of stuff that should be photographed and then put up in art galleries. A gander at her profile will reveal ink-on-skin renditions of famous Van Gogh portraits, incredibly hyper realistic flowers, ornamental geometrical portraits, beautiful color and shading work, and everything else #tattooporn is made out of.
People get dumb tattoos all the time; rainbows and mushrooms, crescent moons, Nickelback lyrics… We don’t judge those people, but we can say pretty comfortably that they don’t even belong in the same room as people like Switzerland-based ink machine NEO. Beautiful futuristic line and design work, intricate shading, incredibly precise geometry, and a classic eye with modern style characterizes NEO’s special brand of tattooing. His feed is full of incredible and unique work, complete with ‘80s style stars and 3D shaping and shading. Even if you can’t appreciate his style, you’ll respect the quality of his work.
If you couldn’t tell, geometric tattoos are having a big moment right now. Frankly, we love clean, heavy line work and beautiful geometry. And apparently, so does everyone else. Dillon Forte has over 180k fans and followers, and the moment you see one of his pieces—an interesting amalgamation of tribal, geometric, and classical East Asian styles—you understand why he has the reputation and notoriety he does. His entire feed is piece after piece after piece of pure gold. He’s an Oakland legend these days, and one look at his feed will have you hooked on his incredible traditional style.
You know Oliver Peck as one of the judges on the hit TV show Ink Masters, but it’s important to understand that he didn’t get there by chance or simple luck. Peck is arguably the best American traditional tattoo artist in the world right now. Of course, you’d never know it from his Instagram, which lacks all the pretension of a famous TV celebrity. Instead, you’ll find some intimate peaks into Peck’s everyday life, including family, friends, charity events, motorcycles, and some tattooing thrown in for good measure. He’s one of our favorite people to follow on Instagram, and one look at his profile and you’ll see why.
Lisa Orth is a badass woman in and of herself—aside from tattooing, she’s also an incredible artist. It’s a well-known fact that she’s the brain behind a lot of Nirvana’s early album art. But we love her because her work is some of the most uniquely beautiful we’ve seen. Her style is so incredibly different, and incorporates very thick black and gray line work unlike anything else we’ve seen. She’s a huge fan of even the smallest of intricate details—but you’d never know it, unless you really took the time to study her designs. Then, again, that’s half the fun. Her Instagram feed is full of tiny tidbits of her life, along with an incredible body of her tattoo work. Again, if you like one of her designs, it’s a piece you’ll fall in love with.