As the London Tattoo Convention hits town, Tom Angell, author of the ‘London Tattoo Guide’, picks ten unique parlours worth a visit:
1. One by One
This is the creation of Arabella Drummond, one of the UK’s most beautiful and famous tattoo models, and is part of the new wave of hybrid studios. It combines a unisex streetwear and lifestyle boutique with an open-plan tattoo studio in the basement. Oxford Circus.
2. The Tattoo Shop by Dan Gold
This is the newest tattoo studio to join London’s ranks and if you haven’t heard of it already you will do soon. It is not only run by the famous British tattooist and street artist Dan Gold but has also taken up a rather prominent residency in the basement of the Oxford Street Ann Summers. Oxford Circus.
3. Dharma Tattoo
Dharma Tattoo sits at the cross-section of the East End’s two worlds. On the one hand it speaks to the traditions of the area as an old-school, street-front tattoo parlour. On the other, it’s part of a cool and contemporary movement sweeping that side of London. Bow Rd.
K-ink is one of the few prominent tattoo studios south of the river. Housed in a large shed structure in the Copeland Industrial Park in Peckham Rye, adjacent to the creative community of the Bussey Building, it is small but perfectly formed tattoo studio and art space. Peckham Rye Overground.
5. The Lacemakers Sweatshop
Tucked away down an alley in Hackney Wick, this warehouse space is a hidden gem. Headed up by the genre-busting and highly talented Delphine Noiztoy, their policy is to only take one customer per artist per day so they can give the best of themselves and their artistic talent to each person who comes through the doors. Hackney Wick Overground.
6. The White Elephant Studio
This multifunctional space explores the boundaries between tattoos and fine art. It is a place where the artists tattoo, experiment and exhibit their work. The concept is the brainchild of Otto D’Ambra, an Italian artist, whose surreal work is as arresting on the skin as it is hanging on a gallery wall. Homerton Overground.
7. The Wildfire Tattoo Collective
It is not so much a tattoo studio as a pop-up inking experience, where head tattooist Manuela Gray from South Africa hosts ticketed events in London, usually at the Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel. The events typically involve guest tattooists from around the world, art exhibitions, music, performances and screenings. Various locations.
8. The Blue Tattoo
Opened earlier this year, The Blue Tattoo is run by Blue, who was the manager of legendary tattoo studio Into You in Clerkenwell for almost 20 years. With that wealth of experience, she decided to take on her own venture and this little shop is the result. Ravenscourt Park.
9. Holy Fox Tattoos
Holy Fox is the private studio of German-born Alex Reinke, who is one of the most respected practitioners of traditional Japanese and irezumi tattooing. It’s here that he creates his bold, vibrant compositions, often working on large-scale body pieces and sleeves. Angel.
10. Lowrider Tattoo
This is the London chapter of the famous Los Angeles tattoo studio. The Bethnal Green Road spot might not enjoy as much sun and glamour as the California one, but it is turning out West Coast-style, black-and-grey and delicate fine-line inkings of equal quality. Bethnal Green.
‘London Tattoo Guide’ by Tom Angell is published Thu Sep 21.
International London Tattoo Convention is at Tobacco Dock. Fri Sep 22-Sun Sep 24.