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I asked Australian creatives where they got their tattoos done

IMAGE VIA @DADCAMWIFE/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“I love having such crazy, beautiful memories attached to the art on my skin.”

It’s not something I often say, but Kim Kardashian was incorrect. When Wendy Williams asked if she had any tattoos, a 2009 Kim (think less Balenciaga, more cheug) uttered “You can’t put a bumper sticker on a Bentley”. Miss Kim had clearly never met a talented stick and poke artist. What’s hotter than a Bentley with some dainty barbed wire or a butterfly?

Come 2022, tattoos are the ultimate accessory. Yes, they’re a little more permanent than a hair colour change or a tiny handbag – but there’s something so wonderfully special about inking a piece of art on your skin. A collection of tattoos is your body’s personal scrapbook, filled with little notes, memories, heartfelt tributes and occasionally some drunken scrawl (for good measure).


Interested to hear how others navigate the world? Head to our Life section.


With the diverse range of talented tattoo artists now in Australia, it’s no wonder most of my friends (and all of my style icons) have an inked artwork or two. We’re not gatekeeping tattoos – this is an art practice for everyone. From experimental female-run studios to thoughtful at-home artists, this is a collection of some of the best tattoo talents across Naarm and Eora, according to some of our favourite creatives.

Anna Beatson, actress

 

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All my beloved (and not so beloved) tattoos have come from spontaneous adventures – studios in Sydney, friends’ dingy living rooms (you didn’t hear that from me) or travelling the world – and I love having such crazy, beautiful memories attached to the art on my skin.

But what I’m extremely excited about is my new roommate Alice (who goes by @aluna_ink on Instagram), who I’ll be exclusively handing over all sticker responsibilities to from this moment forward.

She’s currently designing ME as a bad bitch fairy, which I think is such a special idea. Her art speaks volumes and I’m so excited to have my new alter ego on me for life! She’s based at Little Art Tattoo in Leichhardt if you want to book an appointment, and I highly suggest you do!

@dadcamwife

Su Park, model and graphic designer

 

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Whenever someone asks me [for] a piece of advice for their first tattoo, I always tell them to always have their first tattoo on a place you can’t see and get a tattoo that is really meaningful to you. I have many friends who want to get a tattoo but [are] unsure of what to get, and I say with a passion “Don’t get it if you’re not sure”.

My first two tattoos were ‘trendy’ at the time but now I consider them quite corny, but I don’t regret getting them because they represent my younger self and what was meaningful to me at the time. Now, after I [have] built more confidence, I tend to get a flash [tattoo] from the artists I really love and support.

I’m always in search of WOC or POC tattoo artists and [it] is essential to choose a studio that is LGBTQI+ and queer-friendly. My favourite artists in Naarm are @waljorem (I got a little cherub on my left thigh from Christina), the most beautiful Coco @cocostar._ and my most recent piece is from Bridgette @leakinggash when she was in Melbourne!

@wat3r.me1on

Jonti Ridley, writer, digital creator and shop manager at Village Tattoo Yarraville

 

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Like most neurodivergent AFAB people, I’ve always found tattoo studios really overwhelming and exclusionary; they’ve often caused more anxiety than the tattoo itself. Full disclosure (’cause bias): I run Village Tattoo in Yarraville. Now – more than ever – I know studios can evolve like their clientele with open minds and warm hearts. The industry is starting to change from within and I love, love, love being a part of that.

With multiple neurodivergent and queer artists from across the globe, Village Tattoo has become my professional safe space. I’m able to personally ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible (beyond the whole ‘needle in the skin’ thing, unfortunately) and optimistically prevent a future filled with horror stories of pervy and pushy ‘artists’. Plus, it never hurts being a desk away from a half dozen of incredibly skilled tattooists when you have poor impulse control and an obsession with tattooing.

@_toughboy

Chelsea Hickman, fashion designer

 

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I have a few tattoos from Nat G (@ngxtattoo), Shell Valentine (@shell_valentine_tattoo) and Jordon Buckens (@jlbtattoo) who coincidentally all happen to now operate out of Tutti Frutti Tattoo in South Yarra. I’m quite jealous of the giant fiddle-leaf fig they have there.

I also love going to Eva (@toughsticker) at Crucible Tattoo in Kensington. Her designs are shockingly unique. Both studios are queer-friendly which just makes for a more comfortable tattooing experience.

@fashionchelsea

Hannah Rae Powell, artist, illustrator and graphic designer

 

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I have a bit of an eclectic collection from a few tattoo artists across Melbourne, but special mentions to the queen Lily (@lily_gloria_tattoo) from Little Gold Studios. Lily has done two of mine, inked lots of my own illustrations on others and gave my mum her first (and only) tattoo. Little Gold is an incredible studio with really lovely vibes. Philipp (@philippohme) is also working out of there and did my tough new scorpion!

@hannahraepowell

Aleisha FDV, founder of Online Vtg


My favourite tattoo shop no longer exists – it was called Kizu and each artist was as talented as the next (@ichikawalee, @flameo00, @vg1yp34r1 and @_xenix are their Insta handles). These artists are now scattered around Naarm.

I absolutely adore @ichikawalee and can’t get enough of their emblems! I also love the intimacy of home studios, with my favourites being @mustkillmal, @eilytat, @thisisurneighbour and @smug_star05.

I’ll follow Harley Jones and @windleberry to any tattoo studio they’re at; they float between Naarm and Eora. An up and coming artist is my friend @swingofthetatz – they’re adventurous, and I commend them for that. And @drawfour.844! I’m eagerly waiting for him to get his mitts on a gun and begin tattooing.

@online.vtg

Mon Barton, model and digital creator

 

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I started getting tattoos at 16 – which you can certainly see in some of the tragic ones [laughs]! Although, my two recent tattoos are some of my favourites. Matt Benson (@benzentattoos) did the butterfly and the word ‘Beau’ (a tribute to the love of my life, @softboi_beau). A few other bangers have been done by my mate Chai (@c.lo.tat2) at @andersonstreettattoo; he did the panther on my arm and the love heart lady on the other.

My latest and funniest one would have to be the barbed wire on my bicep – full Pam Anderson vibes. I got it completely sober on the Gold Coast with my girlfriend on a literal whim; we were getting our nails done and spotted the tattoo shop across the road. We thought ‘Fuck it, why not?’. I used to be so self-conscious of all my ‘shit’ tattoos and was going to get laser, but I’m too far gone now. Why not keep going?

@mons.monday

Isabella Campos, digital creator

 

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Once described as ‘fun to look at,’ my tattoos are an eclectic mix of home jobs using ink stolen from the school art room and the incredible talent of female and non-binary local Naarm artists. My favourites include a homage to my first car (an iconic 1992 Toyota Corolla), done by @butmay.be at Little Gold; my sexy snake boots by the queen @lucygarland; two little fairies by @femme__fresh; interlocked hearts by @smug_star05; and a butterfly/fairy hybrid by @seraphimblade.

@hot.girl.in.naarm

Ben Ilobuchi, model and writer

 

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None of my tattoos has any significant meaning. I got them because I liked them. My first tattoo is the scorpion on my arm. I got it done on a whim in Sydney by the very talented @mil_rose_tattoo. I think getting a big tattoo first (it’s still the biggest one I have) started the tattoo ball rolling quickly; I couldn’t be the guy with one giant scorpion tattoo.

One of my favourite ones is the sword on my forearm by @harleyjonesinternet. I tend to just pick whatever flash an artist has rather than coming up with my own ideas and swords are sick. Maybe the most cherished of my tattoos is the balloon dog on my left arm.

It wasn’t done by a professional artist, but by my friend Nina. She had just started practising stick and poke and we were in a lockdown so I thought ‘What the hell?’. People often ask me if it’s a reference to Jeff Koons and I want to let everyone know that it absolutely is not and that guy is a fucking hack.

@slimes_new_roman

Head here to learn how to distinguish a good tattoo artist from a bad one.

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