Tattoos have been around roughly 5,000 years (the oldest known figurative specimens were discovered on an ancient Egyptian mummy dating back 5,200 years), but over the course of history the meaning of tattoos has evolved significantly. Formerly a signifier of “outsider” status flashed by bikers and convicts, tattoos have evolved into the realm of fine art. These days, it seems like people collect tattoos the way they do contemporary art; it’s no longer about what the tattoo is – it’s about who did it.
This is partially because Instagram has made it easier than ever for tattoo artists to brand themselves, share their creative processes, and connect with followers directly. Consequently, Instagram famous artists like Doctor Woo (@_dr_woo_), who has 1.4 million followers, are in global demand.
So, is getting inked a form of collecting art? Critics have questioned tattoos’ place in the art world, as their inability to be framed and displayed “resists the museum model and commercialization of art.” Does that make Instagram a museum for tattoo artists?
Perhaps. But even if not, it is at least a way for fans to track their favourite artists’ whereabouts, so that they can lineup at flash tattoo sales or direct message them some ink ideas. For now, here are 6 Insta famous tattoo artists that are worth following — if you don’t already.
Jess Chen – 135K
Jess Chen is a Toronto-based artist who centers her work around nature and florals. Her experimental style experiments features plenty of colour, lines and shapes inspired by how natural elements bend and move with the body. She has also worked on fashion collaborations with labels like For Love or Money, who engraved Chen’s designs into jewellery pieces.
Charley Gerardin – 64.3K
Melbourne-based artist Charley Gerardin works with fine lines and high contrast in black ink. Inspired by the nude body and surrealism, his pieces range from replicating scenes from iconic movies to creating comic-book style vignettes.
Lara Maju – 120K
Lara Maju is an artist based in Hamburg, Germany, who deploys the hand poke technique for her delicate tattoos. She creates dainty, feminine inkings with a focus on vintage botanical aesthetics.
Lupo HoriÅkami – 98.4K
Based in Venice, Italy, Lupo HoriÅkami is world famous for his Japanese style tattoos. Particularly sought after for his ability to create large-scale tattoo sleeves, bodysuits and back pieces, HoriÅkami’s work is highly detailed in both black and colour ink.
Curt Montgomery – 496K
The Toronto-based illustrator-turned-tattoo artist Curt Montgomery specializes in line art tattoos that mix black and red ink. His signature style involves incorporating minimalist skeleton hands into his designs.
Peter Aurisch – 85.4K
Austrich creates colour tattoos inspired by Picasso and the cubist movement out of his studio in Berlin. With bold lines and bright colours, this artist merges the worlds of art and body ink.
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