Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 1:46am by admin
By Laura Milligan
Before you decide to stroll into any old tattoo shop to get inked this year, do a little research on the studio and artists you’re about to trust with a needle and your quivering skin. If you’ve got the budget to splurge on a celebrity artist whose business is to create award-winning, unique designs while keeping a clean, safe shop, take a look at this list of 20 of the world’s most famous tattoo parlors, from Japan to the Sunset Strip.
The following tattoo parlors have been operated by some of the most talented and inspirational pioneers in the industry. If you want to get inked by a true legend, check out these famous shops.
- Bert Grimm’s World Famous Tattoo Shop: TattooArchive.com reports that for over 70 years, “Bert Grimm was a fixture in the tattoo world.” Originally from Oregon, Grimm traveled to shops all over the U.S. and eventually settled in Long Beach, CA, when he opened the World Famous Tattoo Shop, “the oldest continuously operated tattoo parlor in the continental United States.” The shop was sold in 2004, but the Grimm legacy lives on in Shaw’ Tattoo Parlor in Houston, TX, which is still operated by the descendants of Bert Grimm’s nephew.
- All or Nothing Tattoo: Award-winning artist Brandon Bond started out working at tattoo parlors all over the U.S., but he can currently be found at the All or Nothing Tattoo Shop in Atlanta, GA. Recognized around the world for his colorful, precise and innovative designs, Bond is also the owner of Strangehold Publications, has tattooed rappers Nas and Kellis, made an appearance on TLC’s LA Ink and has “artwork…featured in over 500 international tattoo arts publications,” according to the shop’s website.
- Tattoo Lou’s: Long Island, NY’s legendary Tattoo Lou’s celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The original Tattoo Lou Rubino opened the studio in Queens, NY, but eventually moved out to Long Island. His son, Lou, Jr., helps run the shop today, along with experienced, award-winning artists like Irish Jay and Erick Alayon.
- Gill Montie’s World Famous Tattoo Mania: Gill Montie’s Tattoo Mania now sits on a street in the small town of Beaumont, TX, near the Texas-Louisiana border. Back in the 1980s and 90s, however, Gill Montie was a fixture on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, where he tattooed celebrities and founded the InkSlingers Ball, a popular tattoo and body art convention. Even though Tattoo Mania is no longer a part of Hollywood’s crazy nightlife scene, the shop is still committed to creating quality designs for their loyal customers.
- Lowrider Tattoo: The website for Jose Lopez’s Lowrider Tattoo is a modest, humble tribute to its founding artist, a Mexican immigrant, who, despite being wheelchair-bound, has become one of the most lauded tattoo artists in the nation. Located in Fountain Valley, CA, Lopez now works with four other artists in his shop and is about to open a second studio in Riverside, CA. In addition to tattoos, Lopez also creates oil paintings and is considering designing a clothing line.
From Japan to Paris to Malta, these artists are famous in the industry for creating unique designs and giving visitors an authentic experience of local genius.
- Horiyoshi III: In 2005, Time Magazine’s Best of Asia issue named Horiyoshi III the best tattoo parlor and artist in the Orient. An apprentice to “the legendary tattoo artist Yoshitsugu Muramatsu,” Horiyoshi III sets up shop in Yokohama, Japan, where he inks his customers with traditional designs like “peonies, koi, tenyo (she-angels) and the like.” Before you line up at the door for one of these exclusive tattoos, get ready to open up your wallet. Time reports that full body tattoos can cost as much as $20,000.
- Tattoo Peter: Stop in for a visit at Amsterdam’s famous Tattoo Peter for a souvenir of your rebellious vacation. The historic shop is owned by Eddy Wertwijn, who dedicates his designs to Pier de Haan, the man who founded the tattoo parlor after leaving the Navy in the 1940s. Classic tattoos from Tattoo Peter include tributes to the days when sailors populated the shop, looking for designs of ships, anchors and pinup girls.
- Triple 7 Tattoo: Though a native of Holland, Tommie 777 has traveled to Brazil, Argentina, Amsterdam, Great Britain and Germany to perfect his famous tattoo artistry. The Triple Seven Tattoo Shop is located in Ahaus, Germany, near the German-Netherlands border, but according to the company’s website, Tommie is currently “splitting his time hammering ink into skin between Great Britain, Holland and Germany, doing all sorts of guest work in various shops.”
- The Tat Shack: If you happen to be in Malta during your next vacation, stop in at the Tat Shack to check out the latest designs from international award-winning artists Deano and Ghiller. Like most of us, however, you’re probably stranded on the mainland and will have to settle for browsing through their website to see the featured tattoo of the month, buy custom merchandise and more.
- Kustom Tattoo: Paris is arguably no longer the European center for vagrants and starving artists, but the alternative lifestyle is still welcomed in the French capital. Specifically speaking, Kustom Tattoo on the Avenue de la Republique is an intense but professional tattoo parlor that has been recognized in publications like Tattoo magazine and Tatouage.
Celebrity is no stranger to these tattoo parlors, whether it’s because of a cable TV deal, award-winning staff or a high-profile clientele.
- Hart and Huntington: Hart and Huntington’s tattoo studios were famous even before they were featured on A&E’s reality show Inked. Shops in Hawaii, Cabo, Orlando and Las Vegas attract tattoo enthusiasts from all over the country, who are dying to get tatted up by Carey, Jenn and the rest of the crew. If you’re a fan of the show but want a less permanent souvenir of the series, check out H&H’s online store, where you can find T-shirts, hoodies, shot glasses and other memorabilia.
- High Voltage Tattoo: TLC’s LA Ink has introduced the rest of the world into the wild and crazy world of the Los Angeles tattoo industry. Unique, upbeat cast members like Kat Von D, who boasts nearly half a million MySpace friends and followers, let the world watch while they ink all kinds of clients, including celebrities. During filming of the show, however, the shop is open during very limited times, so check out their website before you go.
- Miami Ink: Before there was LA Ink, there was Miami Ink, also known as 305 Ink. Kat Von D’s appearance on TLC’s reality show started out in Miami, before she headed out West and took the camera crews with her. Miami Ink owners Chris Nunez and Ami James also own the Love Hate Lounge in South Beach.
- Shanghai Kate’s: In upstate New York, Shanghai Kate’s welcomes anyone from Howard Stern to Pearl Jam. Featured on NPR, in Inked Magazine, and at the NYC Tattoo Convention, Kate Hellenbrand is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the late tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins, or Sailor Jerry. Kate sells souvenirs, cards, stencils and other commemorative items, all designed by Sailor Jerry, on her online store.
- Rising Dragon: New York city’s famed Rising Dragon tattoo parlor features world-famous artists who specialize in intricate designs like classical Asian-centric creations and large scale underwater seascapes. Visitors should also check out the shop’s staff of permanent “guest” artists like Horisei from Yokohoama, Japan and Su Houston.
- Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club: Named one of Citysearch’s Best Tattoo Parlors in Los Angeles, the Shamrock Social Club sits on Sunset Blvd. and was featured on A&E’s 2006 series of Inked. Artists like Mark Mahoney, Danny Romo and Andrew Farmsley contribute to the laid back atmosphere and attract celebrities like Britney Spears and Fred Durst.
Just because a tattoo parlor isn’t featured on a hit TV show doesn’t mean it doesn’t produce quality work. From Houston, TX, to Detroit, MI, these shops fly under the radar of the general public but are still must-visit shops for any tattoo fanatic.
- Bob Tyrell’s Night Gallery: Detroit native Boy Tyrell has been featured in publications like Tattoo Society, Skin & Ink, and other tattoo-related publications in the U.S. and abroad. After working at Eternal Tattoos in Detroit, Tyrell opened up Night Gallery and travels to conventions and events all over the U.S. and in Mexico.
- Sunset Strip Tattoo: Hollywood’s Sunset Strip Tattoo is a Los Angeles staple, like washed-out celebrities and beachwear as streetwear. Artists Bill, Dave, Greg, Mike, Paul and Rob are discreetly featured on the company’s website, letting select images describe their designs and experience for them. E-mail any artist for more information.
- Johnny Jackson’s World Famous Texas Body Art Tattoo Studio: From the grotesque to the historic, Johnny Jackson and his team of artists create all kinds of portraits and impressions for their customers. The tattoo shop is located in Houston, TX, where tattoo and piercing model Mizuz Inkaholik welcomes customers as they wait for sessions with award-winning artists, including guest artists like Doctorlind from Denmark, Lenny Renkin, Darrin White and more. The shop typically has a three week waiting period, so go ahead and book now.
- Apocalypse Tattoo: Seattle’s Apocalypse Tattoo is a popular destination for those looking to get tatted up, but it has so far remained relatively low key. Walk-ins are still welcome, and despite the award-winning team of artists, the shop puts the customers first, making sure “that you will find the perfect design for your tattoo.”