Swapping the studio space for the Insta-square, these tattoo artists are spreading their work worldwide thanks to their addictive feeds and huge followings
Full disclosure, I don’t have any tattoos. Possible reasons being, I’m not that big on commitment (at 27, I just locked into a phone contract) and I faint from needles (they don’t even hurt, but I’m just gone when I feel them). Mostly, I don’t have any tattoos because I saw all my friends do that thing where they got absolutely shit tattoos at 15. Those ones where even at 15 we knew they were shit.
A couple of stories to set the scene: my sister’s (long since dumped) boyfriend once pulled down his trousers to show me her name engraved across his left butt cheek (not long after, they broke up and a few years later I saw him on a Crime Stoppers ad on telly... no, I’m not drawing parallels between crime and tattoos). A few years later, my then 15-year-old best friend got a teeny-tiny (see: pointless) rose on her pelvis when we were on our school camp in some shithole town in Tasmania. There was also this thing in Australia where all males aged between 18 and 30 were required by some unwritten rite of passage or something to get a tattoo of either their surname or the Southern Cross on their back or thereabouts. The point of this is, if it were up to 16-year-old me, I would have a copy cat assortment of Angelina Jolie’s tattoos scrawled across me. All these make for good stories/memories/no regrets (!!)/YOLO but I just never took the plunge.
Eleven years later and my aversion to tattoos is beginning to subside thanks to an influx of original minds on my Instagram. While I’m still one of those admire from afar types, here are four feeds to trust more than your local tatt shop’s tattered flash book – especially if you’re reading this from Tasmania...
MIRKO SATA (@MIRKOSATA)
(Promise this is the last personal story but) a friend, inspired by Lindsay Lohan’s 2006 tattoo “Breathe”, got “Dreamer” etched into her wrist when we were about 17. In part because she thought she could hide it from her parents but also definitely because Lindsay Lohan was a bit of a trendsetter back then. Sadly for all parties involved, it seems in the past 10 years, both Li-Lo and white ink have turned from turnt to tacky. Although my friend and Linds would probably have something to say about that, so too would tattooist Mirko Sata (@mirkosata) who has set about reviving white ink for his cult-like following. Explaining to us, “My purpose is a borderline aesthetic between scarification and branding, but cleaner. This gives to the tattoos a more ethereal, fascinating and magical look. I don’t care about collective thinking, I like to experiment and evolve.”
MADAME BURAKA (@BURAKATATTOOFLASH)
Madame Buraka is the cult-like figure who often feels more mythical than mortal. Often gone before the ink has dried on her last tatt, Buraka works out of her Instagram feed, rather than any studio – meaning she’s able to set up anywhere in the world, from MoMA Book Fair to a room at The Ace. As equally as intoxicating in person as her designs are, her signature style includes dogs, metal link chains, and smoking girls. Keep an eye on her addictive IG to see when she’s in town next and delve deeper into her world with a Q&A we published this past week, here.
NOEL‘LE LONGHAUL (@LAUGHINGLOONE)
Noel’le Longhaul is one of the world’s first ‘witch tattooists’. If you, like me, had no idea that was even a thing, then enter the wonderful (world wide web) world of @laughingloone. Described as ‘primeval’, her designs look like something you’d find in Giles’ personal book collection at Sunnydale High’s library – which is basically everything you’ve ever wanted to find, ever. Working with predominantly trans and queer people, she told us she is “particularly interested in supporting people in their process of building homes for their spirits out of their bodies; particularly bodies that are ‘complicated,’ marginalised, or criminalised.”
TATI COMPTON (@TATICOMPTON)
Tatiana Compton’s stick-and-poke tattoos have been garnering traction for their ‘minimalist goth feel’, especially after starting her career at London’s infamous Sang Bleu tattoo studio. Since, Compton has built up a solid gold reputation alongside a following of 130k on Instagram. First introduced to us by Antonia Marsh, who, last year, tipped her as ‘one to watch in 2016’, Compton self-described her work as “Organic, like it’s meant to be there”. Although when we last spoke with the now LA-based artist a few months ago, she wasn’t taking any bookings, it seems that she’s back up and running. Details on how to book with her are on her Instagram.