As time marches on, so does the tattoo business –as do perceptions about people with tattoos. Long gone are the days when only “criminals” sported sleeves (a.k.a., tattoos covering one’s forearm or entire arm).
Today, more and more people are turning to body art and amazing tattoo artists to tell their stories and mark important life moments. (I have some cool tattoos myself!) Here’s a list of cool tattoo studios in Singapore based on “ear to the ground” recommendations and rad reputations.
1. Shadow Tattoo
Shadow Tattoo stands out because it not only supplies but also has tattooing courses. Founder, teacher and featured artist Helen Li has been part of many tattoos shows since her start 15 years ago. She’s also been featured as a tattooist in residence in Paris, France. Helen Li specializes in Japanese tattoos, realistic tattoos, tattoo repair and cover-up. Her hourly rate is $300, though based on the design, you can get a fixed price, too.
Address: 244 Geylang Rd., 389303 / 340 Geylang Rd., 389365
Tel: 9772 9704
2. Memory Lane
Full disclosure, I go to see artist Apple at Memory Lane and will be going again soon, as I received a gift certificate for my birthday. This Haji Lane studio is doing virtual consultations and features beautiful colour and watercolour work. She has a huge range of artistry, as she can do photograph copies, animals, monsters and for me, flowers, and more. Check out the website for more photos.
Address: 19 Haji Ln., #02-01, 189212
Tel: 8720 9852
3. Iron Fist Tattoo
Iron Fist Tattoo features a lot of black and white work on its Facebook and Instagram page with some splashy coloured ones, too. That’s how you reach them, BTW. Khai the Tattooer is your go-to man, by my recommendations. There’s also some huge body pieces that must have taken months to do, so you know these artists are committed to the final product being more than awesome, keyword AWE.
Iron Fist Tattoo
Address: 21B Mosque St., #03-01, 059501
4. BMF Ink Tattoo Studio
BMF Ink Tattoo Studio is the favourite of a major marketing rock star based in Singapore. He directed me to the studio, whose lady artists Liz and Nina say this is the place to go for big pieces. They even do free touch-ups within six months of your tattoo session. (As a heavily tattooed person, I’ve never heard of this perk!)
Simple designs start at $100 but that price goes up either by the hour ($200) or by the size and scope of your piece. Consultations are free but they do phone or email/text design consults. They want to see your skin! The website takes a dig at sketchier styles saying if you want Kindergarten scribbles to look elsewhere. Dayuum!
BMF Ink Tattoo Studio
Address: 865 Mountbatten Rd., #01-93, 437844
Tel: 9747 1820
5. Imagine Tattoo Studio
Imagine Tattoo Studio (also referred to as Enigami – imagine spelt backwards) is the life’s work of 3D arts graduate-turned-tattoo artist, Aelvin Lim (called Ael) based in Singapore. The website waxes enigmatic in its style and wording with such quotes as, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge,” and “If tattooing is about individualism and expression of the soul, why even bother cloning ourselves to appear like everyone else?”
If you’re picking up what Ael’s laying down, check out his work, which includes myriad styles, such as cover-ups, black and greys, oriental, tribal and portraits.
Imagine Tattoo Studio
Address: 3B Trengganu St., 058457
Tel: 9107 9181
6. Oracle Tattoo
Oracle Tattoo features artist Bradley Tan, who was recommended to me by a few friends. The tattoo studio’s Facebook pages and Instagram feature tons of huge black and white pieces, some portraits of what looked like Gods, as well as really cool coloured pieces swathed with long, fine strokes and depicting various fighter planes or science fiction airships. Very wicked.
7. TattyCatty @ JenxTattoos
TattyCatty at JenxTattoos says in her Instagram of her tattoo work, “Because I’m happy,” with a beautiful smiling photo of her looking at the camera mid-work. Her whimsical designs are not just cats but do feature sketchy fine line work with not a lot of fill colour. Think cartoons outline with simple colour, and I mean the super cool ones. Currently, she is closed for bookings, but if this style is your jam then keep an eye on this happy girl’s Insta to see if anything opens up.
8. Traditions Tattoo Collective
Traditions Tattoo Collective, located in Clementi, says its artists value hard work, teamwork, respect and ethics to produce enduring body art and amazing inks for its customers. Lady artist, Flee Circus (her name) leads the pack of recommendations to me, but other artists include other quirky names, like Eggy, Porky and of course, Lionel. Styles run the gamut of big traditional and tribal pieces to the smaller cutesy coloured ones.
9. Visual Orgasm
Visual Orgasm is a staple of Haji Lane storefronts. Ten years ago, I was first attracted to them because of their beautiful colourwork and a lot of recommendations, mostly from women. But that’s not the best story, self-taught tattooist Joseph Siow from the studio, started 20 years ago practising on friends and himself. He was featured in the April 2019 web show called Blood & Craft, where they delved into the whys and hows of tattoo art with personal stories and passionate characters.
That’s not all, Joseph also does a lot of custom and freehand work together with a team that covers various style, too.
Visual Orgasm Tattoo
Address: 8B Canton St., Level 3, 049748
Tel: 9856 9478
10. Johnny Two Thumb Tattoo Studio
Cheeky name aside, this tattoo studio in Singapore is no joke. Named for Indra Bahadur (Johnny himself), who made a name for himself among sailors stopping off for tattoos in Singapore way back in the 1950s. Today, the Far East Plaza studio aims to keep up the tradition with both hands and all fingers to make the spirit of Johnny Two Thumbs proud. They cover all the style bases from, traditional to tribal to portrait in all colours and sizes, though big is the most featured in its photos.
By Andrea McKenna Brankin, August 2021