Photo: Lacy Dawn at Day One Tattoo.
Are you ready to get tattooed, but not sure where to go? We’ve sifted through some insanely talented locals and picked our favourites based on bloody good merit from their adoring fans, personal opinion, and recommendations from popular tattooists alike.
No longer synonymous with gang culture or anything which has a modicum of taboo associated with it, people get inked for a multitude of reasons. A special someone, a sign of grief or acceptance, or, and this one’s a kicker… because they feel like it.
Nowadays, studios feel more like a luxury day spa than a back alley affair. Whether you’re a first-timer and you want an accredited artist, or a veteran looking for someone new, there’s elevated artistry in Adelaide and these are some of our favourite studios.
We’ve cherry picked two amazing artists per studio, so remember their teams are generally larger and all of them are standouts. With no further ado and in alphabetical order: the top Adelaide studios.
Day One Tattoo is a trendy new space situated in the CBD’s Hutt Street, with a seriously cool fit out of calming greens, natural timber accents and even private tattoo pods where clients can distract themselves by binging on the latest Netflix series.
James Cooper – The co-owner of Day One Tattoo James has over a decade of experience and is your go to man for fine line tattoos, script, flowers and animals.
Joel Van Miltenburg – Joel brings some international experience to the Day One team having worked at Alberta ink in Canada, with over five years experience with the needle. His specialties ranged from Neo traditional colour work to still life realism.
Located in Adelaide’s South, 1891 Original Tattoo Co.’s artists are a talented bunch. Vetted by not only their work, but international experience and a slew of competition noms, with bossman Dan at the helm and a small but talented team, these guys know inking.
Eloise – If you’re looking for a line so damn fine, she’s got the steady fingers. For various pleasures, she also has a host of puppy tats on her Insta.
Black Diamond Tattoo is worth visiting just for the studio. The art on the walls are a highlight (hello, they get involved with SALA and Fringe), and the open layout is conducive for conversation. The artists are the cherry on top. Super tight and super neat work is pretty evident from their collective portfolio.
Beau Newman – If you want your body ink punchy and full of flavour, Beau has your back. He’s well travelled and his work displays great variety, so we have a feeling he’ll make even the weirder ideas work.
Chris Angelikas – Well known and well favoured for his incredible realism oriented tattoos, if you want a piece that looks like it’ll walk off your skin, he’s it. His portfolio is definitely one to gush over.
This is a young team of absolute talent. Ink Haus Creative Studios offer basically every style. Really. Well. Done.
Are you looking for realism, black & grey, portrait, watercolour, comic, neo traditional, or fine line? Let us guess, your decision has been made all the harder.
Aleisha Gannon – You might be familiar with this name not only because she’s very talented. But because of her business on the side, Pink Lotus Australia, where she tattoos nipples for breast cancer survivors (temporary tattoos too).
Located on Henley Beach Road, this is a tattoo house that produces visceral art, it hits the eyes like a bright light on a dark night.
Jamie Brockenbrow – With a healthy dose of horror and comedy, Jamie can cook up a colourful and imaginative tattoo at your behest. At the epicentre of his work is a dash of cleverness, a focal point you see at your second glance, which doesn’t fail to bring an appreciative ‘mmm’ out of one’s mouth.
Timo CK – Another punchy artist whose work teeters around perfect chaos. The thick lines are as carefully placed as the fine lines to create a visual cacophony.
They’re one of Adelaide’s premiere parlours and with good reason. They’ve had a host of great names come through, to earn their cred or impress the lot. The artists are varied and the vibe is professional but relaxed – can’t ask for more.
Wes Harrison – This traveller might be hard to pin down (he’s popular) but he’s well worth it. Jumping between Black Wren in Bendigo and Progression, Wes’ work is detailed and full of vibrant colours. They also have an unexpected realism to them which makes his pieces all the more appealing.
Tom de Vries – Akin to the other bold artists on this list, Tom’s illustrative tattoos are difficult pieces. A one-stop session isn’t on the cards and the pain will only feel the sweeter as you look at the pure artistry on your body. With Tom you’re getting neo-traditional and Japanese styles. Very distinct, very clean.
Unseen is boutique, it’s intimate, they have a small core team with a great deal of talent, and their collective experience is also a huge drawcard. Need more?! Loads of really great guest artists roll through, so keep an eye out on their lineup.
Luke Schubert – Did someone say intensely neat line-work? Shubey is a connoisseur. He does a mean Mandela and it’s only meaner when he does the full sleeve. See for yourself.
Giacomo Belometti – It’s hard to describe Giac’s work as anything other than cool. Even if it’s not the style you’d envision for yourself, there’s a dynamic aspect to his work that’s reflective of his experience, and it’s something that always impresses.
This indie haven has been properly vetted by this writer and there’s only positives. The vibe is good, the interior is cool and the artists are a talented crew. Good to get in early because their books are perpetually full.
Located on Angas Street, XO L’Avant are often seen on ‘best of’ lists. Contemporary and traditional meet in styles at this studio, and while they’re more inclined towards black ink but colour is still a presence. There’s so much good to say about this studio but it’s almost unnecessary, the calibre of talent travelling through speaks for itself.
Jaya Suartika – Having worked as a tattooist for a great many years, it’s understandable Jaya has such a broad style range. Think contemporary, abstract, post-tribal and pattern work, and you’d have his work in a large nutshell. Gripping and confronting, Jaya’s work celebrates the culture of tattooing, and more importantly, it chips away at the taboo.
Kyle Woodman – Going by ‘Yeah Dope’ makes sense because Kyle’s work is bloody dope. Bold detail and fun (so fun) pieces. Tattoo’s don’t have to be too serious and if that’s your vibe, then Yeah Dope is the vibe.
Jess Hannigan – For all your watercolour dreams, Jess can tattoo a splash of colour on your skin as if it was painted there. She is deeply inspired by the natural world and the depiction of movement which is evident in her evolution from being a watercolour painter to a watercolour tattoo artist.
Adam Miller – Macabre, gore, sci-fi, and a love for animals, Adam’s designs flirt with the idea of ‘cute’ whilst retaining that dash of horror. Suss him on Insta for a laugh and a chill.
These guys are so good they deserve a mention.
Caitlin Thomas – An illustrator and graphic designer as well as a tattoo artist that’s basically got the game at her fingertips. Her work is whimsy, the moon, stars, animals and wildlife take the forefront. Her lines are pretty unbeatable in the field and that’s why she’s busy. Very busy.
Stu Pagdin – If you’re looking for bold oriental and Japanese work, Stu is ultimately your guy. Mixing high-impact imagery with bold colours, his work turns heads and for all the right reasons. His portfolio is one to marvel over.
Yes, we know we’ve missed someone. Tell us who by sending us an email at [email protected] and we’ll peruse.