Los Angeles has no shortage of talent when it comes to ink. A rich history comprised of many influences and cultures have produced some of the most notable tattooists of our generation. Tattooing has long been an essential part of LA’s culture, the recent eruption in tattooing popularity has only served to amplify the region’s historic reach.
It was difficult to find a succinct list of the best tattoo artists in LA, so we decided to create our own.
Like our other lists, we do understand that the word “best” is quite subjective. And that our inclusions and exclusions may be somewhat polarizing. Our goal with these articles is to reflect a grouping of 10 artists in a given area that we are quite fond of – rather than that of all out gospel.
While we do consider this list a grouping of our “best tattoo artists in Los Angeles” we also want to acknowledge a huge grouping of talented tattoo artists and shops before we begin: Mark Mahoney, Jeremy Swan, Derrek Everette, Sean Arnold, Dylan Eaves, Zoey Taylor, Zulu, Julie Bolene, American Electric Tattoo, Broken Art Tattoo, The Honorable Society, Alchemy Tattoo, and more.
Here is a look at our choice for best tattoo artists in Los Angeles:
Mister Cartoon – Private Studio
Mister cartoon got his start in graffiti and has since graduated to become an award winning, superstar tattooing, monolith of the Los Angeles tattoo scene. Serving as verification that he’s one of best tattoo artists in Los Angeles – find his art on Travis Barker, Slash, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, CC Sabathia, Amarie Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer and more. A multi talented artist Mister Cartoon is more than just tattoos. He’s leveraged his skills into art, automobile design, and custom collaborations.
Dan Smith – Captured Tattoo
A bold traditional artist, you may recognize Dan Smith from seasons 3 and 4 of LA Ink. He’s had the privledge of working at Kat Von D’s world famous tattoo shop High Voltage Tattoo in Hollywood, and has since moved on to open his own shop, Captured Tattoo. Dan is also the lead singer of The Dear & Departed, a wicked band who’s shared stages with AFI, and avenged Sevenfold.
Kari Barba – Outer Limits Tattoo
Kari owns over 35 years of tattoo experience, 500 awards, best tattooist monikers, and lifetime achievements. It would be a dis-service to make this list without her. Kari focues on realism, black and grey, and Asian style tattoing.
Rich Pineda – Liquid Tattoo
Situated just outside of Los Angeles – in Yucca Valley – is Rich Pineda from Liquid Tattoo. Rich is a stunning realist. Not only one of the best tattoo artists in Los Angeles, Rich could be one of the best in the world for his respective style.
Freddy Negrete has an amazing story. He learned to tattoo prison style, has worked with Ed Hardy, and has evolved into one of Los Angeles’ most beloved tattoo artists. Freddy now specializes in black and grey and is one of the true embodiments of Los Angeles tattooing. Read our profile for Shamrock Social Club right here.
Jim Sylvia – Unbreakable Tattoo
Sylvia’s specialty is Neo-traditional, old school, and American traditional tattoos. He got his start apprenticing under Khoa Nguyen of Skin Art Studios in Boston, and since then has been building a reputation as one of the best tattoo artists in Los Angeles for his respective style.
Sung Song – Unbreakable Tattoo
Sung’s unique style is hard to put a label on. There are all sorts of elements present in his work; Tibetan, Japanese, Traditional, and more – so we feel it unfair to place a moniker. If you’re looking for a piece of art that you’ve never seen before make sure to book an appointment with Sung.
Jakoh Cix – Onizuka Tattoo
Hailing from the great Onizuka Tattoo Shop, Jakoh is a traditional Japanese artist who adds to the shops storied legacy. Jakoh specializes in full color designs, primarily on a large scale. Check out Onizuka’s sweet line of tattoo machines.
William Doolittle – Studio City Tattoo
William strives to creates custom projects influenced by sacred geometry, modern illustration, pointillism – and of course his clients vision. He’s only been tattooing since 2008 but has begun to make quite a mark in just a short time.
D’Mon “The Architect” Meuli – California Gold Tattoo
“The Architect” specializes in ornamentally inspired pieces of art designed to contour specific parts of the body. D’Mon is a versatile artist capable of many styles – however his main focus is blackwork.
Eddy Deutsche – Private Studio
While we try to keep these lists Instagram focused, there was no way this article could have been written without Deutsche. Eddy has had the privilege to with the greats over his career; In 1991 he opened Tattoo City with Freddy Corbin, Dan Higgs and, Don Ed Hardy. At the same time working with Horitaku of the Horitoshi Family. Eddy has moved on from Tattoo City, and his most recent shop (222 Tattoo SF). He’s currently tattooing out of his private studio in LA.
Image via: EddyDeutsche.com