I got sucked into the tattoo world via stick n poke (read: prison tat) of a very unintentionally abstract and barely identifiable jellyfish. Who would have guessed that this regrettable arrangement of dots poked into my arm (with an unsanitary sewing needle and pen-ink) by a strange boy in our inebriated stupor would have lead me into the world of what is now one of my favourite forms of art: tattoos. We all have different approaches to tattoos—some of us sit on an idea or design for months, even years before getting it permanently engraved into our bodies, and some of us (myself included) have been known to get inked on impulse. Acquiring a collection of tattoos on your body has become a prominent form of self-expression, especially in the art and fashion world, and it came as no surprise that we found many tattoo artists taking root in Berlin, rendering a whole spectrum of life to their art and etching stories into blank canvases of skin. Click on to check out 10 Berlin-based tattoo artists and studios that really grabbed our attention.
Some have already been established as household names in the international and local tattoo scene, while others are talented apprentices who have found the best studios to develop their craft. But, no matter how long they’ve been putting a needle to skin, these guys are taking a break from tradition. Bear in mind that some of these tattoo artists are world-renowned and inimitable, resulting in wait times of up to two years. That being said, many studios take walk-ins and most can give appointments within the month, so you need not worry if you find yourself craving some new ink. Every tattoo artist’s work differs in some way from the last, and every once in a while, I come across studios and artists redefining the art of tattooing altogether. So, with that, here are 10 conspicuous talents (and hubs of talent) taking tattooing beyond needle and ink.
Chaim tattoos out of his own apartment under the name DotsToLines, which is indicative of the line and stippling work he does. His tattoos are always personalized to the body, meaning every piece is truly unique. His designs capture the moment in which a simple geometric shape pulses a life sign and becomes organic, and his practice breathes with artistic integrity. It’s no wonder he’s been featured on so many tattoo publications, and have built up a waiting list of about 2 years.
AKA is an on-going international collaborative project that has taken form as a hybrid tattoo studio and art-space in Neukölln. Their concept studio/art gallery/store houses some of the most well-recognized names in the tattoo industry: Barbe Rousse, Georgie Harrison, Madame Chän, Meerak Meinohg, Philippe Fernandez, Sophie Lee, Tanya DSM, Kamil Mokot and Bobby Anders. On top of their resident artists, they also feature incredibly talented guest artists by the likes of Achille Molinè, Michele Servadio, Eterno, Kamil Czapiga and Bastien Jean.
Nevada Johnny’s studio name may often get overshadowed by the resident artists they house: Peter Aurisch and Jessica Mach, as well as Marie Kraus who’s featured regularly as a guest artist. Aurisch has such a defined style that every drop of ink he embellishes onto skin is unmistakably his. Drawing his main inspiration from Picasso and Egon Schiele, Aurisch’s pieces bear more resemblance to paintings than tattoos. The same can be said about Jessica Mach, whose surrealist interpretations of nature and humans are incredibly intricate. Nevada Johnny has also been host to famous artists like Ondrash, Luca Font and David Hale.
After working at AKA Berlin, Valentin Hirsch has now established himself as a household name in the tattoo world, having coined the unique style of creating amalgamations of woodland creatures with geometric shapes that are undoubtably products of a wildly imaginative mind. He often roots his pieces in symmetry, and tattoos with an unbelievable attention to detail and uncompromising spirit.
This Neukölln studio is a gathering of talented creative minds and hands, where you can find an array of artists — some paying tribute to traditional tattoos while refining the work with their own artistic interpretations, while others coming from backgrounds of design and various other forms of art take a more avant-garde approach. Artists have found their niche at Toe Loop, and you can see tattoos that appear to have come straight out of a weather-worn vintage textbook, minimal lines and shapes from a different dimension, and creatures from your wildest dreams.
Francisco Javier Navarro Romero is the artist behind Tiny Tattoos To Go – a part of Bitch Wedding Berlin, which basically offers all the products you could possibly need for your skin – street ware/skincare/tattoos/gloves/accessories. The Tattoo Parties are every Saturday in a cool apartment in wedding. The rules are pretty simple, book your appointment, find a tiny tattoo – small outlines, no shades, not multicolored – bring your print out and your friends. A fun night and a beautiful tiny tattoo are guaranteed.
Mirja Fenris brings her impeccable talent and fine style to the tattoo table. She has a love for symmetry, dots and complex designs. Who visits her studio will definitely leave with some breathtaking artwork.
Axel has a more minimalist style, likes graphical and geometric designs with lines and dots.
Sven von Kratz is the creative mastermind behind Scratchers Paradise Tattoo and even if he unfortunately doesn’t have a permanent studio at the moment, he is still based in Berlin and working. No matter if you want black and white, color, animals, or buildings – his tattoo pieces are super intense and definitely one of a kind.
Do you know of any other amazing tattoo artists in Berlin? Use the comments below to add your suggestions.