Your guide to the finest needles in town for creative (and permanent) body art
It’s a rarity these days to walk down a street in Singapore without coming across someone decorated with some form of ink, whether visible or discreet. In the same vein, the city has no shortage of great tattoo parlours for all your inking endeavours. If you’re looking to finally get your inaugural piece or grow your collection of storied body art, this list of awesome tattoo artists in Singapore will put you in the right place, and hands.
Johnny Two Thumbs Tattoo Family
Named after the legendary tattoo master, this long-standing parlour is helmed by Chak, who honed his skills beside the late Johnny Two Thumbs and counts for over two decades of tattooing. Tattooed bodies have been known to return to him time and time again for his professionalism, precision and vibrant use of colour.
We also dig a woman who’s committed to her craft, and it’s especially inspiring to see one succeed in a male-dominated industry. Case in point: owner and artist Su, short for Sumithra Debi, granddaughter of local tattoo legend Johnny Two Thumb and Singapore’s first female tattoo artist. A versatile artist that does anything from realistic portrait work with crazy details to bold, comic-style pieces, she is also the only tattooer in the city who does nipple tattooing, which helps breast cancer survivors move on to rebuild their lives after reconstruction surgery. Interestingly, despite being exposed to the art at a tender age (she started apprenticing at 15), Su doesn’t have any spot of ink on her – which we think is rebellious, in a good way.
Johnny Two Thumbs Tattoo Family, #04-11, Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213, p. 6834 0558
Full disclosure: Elson has been my go-to man for creative (and philosophical, as I’d like to think) tats since I first met him in 2007. I’m the proud owner of four of his works, each showered with compliments. His studio adheres to a high standard of hygiene – gloves are thrown away each time you take a break, and everything in contact with your skin is wrapped in disposable plastic. There’s no one style that Elson specialises in, but he has a knack for profound concepts and dark stories.
ThINK Tattoo, #02-65, Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213, p. 9247 1099
For amazing, hyperrealist portraits work, go to Ael Lim of Imagine Tattooing. The award-winning artist nabbed “Best in Realism” and “Best in Cover-ups” in Singapore’s first tattoo convention, and has gone on to spread his wings (we mean ink) at some of the world’s most prestigious conventions. His studio, located at an old building in Chinatown, has a signboard worded “Enigami” (“Imagine” spelt backwards) – be sure to keep an eye out if you’re heading there.
Imagine Tattooing, #01-20, 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, Singapore 168976, p. 9107 9181
Elvin Yong is big on social media – his Facebook page boasts over 100K likes, and his Instagram account has 80.9K followers, the last we checked. This only means one thing – he is good. Large-scale black and grey pieces of various styles – from surrealism to realistic portraits – are his specialities, though we think Elvin is also extremely well-versed in colour.
Elvin Tattoo, p. 9798 9140, e. email@example.com
Singapore Electric by Gimmelovetattoo
If you dig neo-Japanese style body art (read: yakuza-type tattoo), Augustine’s your guy. Little wonder why: the laidback, detail-oriented tattooist did his apprenticeship in Japan before opening his own studio six years ago. “I do a great deal of preparation sketches/drawing before the actual sitting, so every design is my baby,” says Augustine in an interview with Inked Magazine. He’s also brilliant in colour, strong lines and amazing fluidity in big body pieces.
Singapore Electric by Gimmelovetattoo, 113A Dunlop Street, Singapore 209432, p. 9487 0841/ 9880 5155
Of Gods and Monsters
Fun fact: Owner and tattooist Samuel Yar actually made his own tattoo machine after getting his first tattoo at 18 years old. Talk about an obsession! He has a distinctive oriental flair – think brushstrokes and Asian subjects like geishas, dragons and deities – and is exceptionally skilled in injecting soul and intrigue into eyes, which, in our opinion, is pretty rare in the world of art.
Of Gods and Monsters, p. 8189 7899. By appointment only
This tattoo parlour in Chinatown is home to uber cool folks, Peenut Lee and Aaron Cai. The former has a flair for sketchy, geometrical drawings, while Aaron has a knack for black and grey portraiture and realism. Their common denominator: both offer ink that’s a little out of the box, but all stunning nonetheless. Other equally talented artists in the lineup include original lady boss Valerie Yang and P.S.: The studio only accepts cash – so be sure your wallet is full for your sitting!
Vagabond Ink, #01-19, 333 Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore 080333
Fingers Crossed Tattoo Company
Jared Asalli is the artist behind our graphic designer Aliff Tee’s various tats, including a massive Mandala on his back. Though relatively new to the game – Jared started tattooing full-time in 2012 – his line work is stellar, and a lot of his pieces feature intricate, precise details you can stare at for hours. By appointment only.
Fingers Crossed Tattoo Company, e. firstname.lastname@example.org. By appointment only
She may be new to the local tattoo scene, but Fleecircus (real name Lee Wai Leng) sure shows a lot of promise – she is, after all, a full-time illustrator who does utterly beautiful portrait works (proof: see her Instagram) that we wouldn’t mind having it permanently on our skin.
Fleecircus, e. email@example.com. Contact for more details.
Iron Fist Tattoo
While this mysterious tattoo parlour has no website (or even Facebook), you can grab hold of them via their well-curated Instagram. Iron Fist Tattoo is run by two uber chill dudes, Khai and Myles, who’ll go all out to make their clients feel at home when paying a visit to their private studio in Joo Chiat – great for anxious first timers! They do plenty of neotraditional, illustrative tattoos, mostly in black and grey, and dotwork. By appointment only.
Iron Fist Tattoo, 64A Pagoda Street, Singapore 059223
Visual Orgasm Tattoo
Established since 2005, the team is helmed by tattooist Joseph, who is an expert in realism, oriental and biomech tattoos – read as just about anything avant-garde. Along with Joseph and Jen, who started her tattooing journey from dabbling in handwritten script and linework to progressing to dotwork and watercolour tattoos, and Clyde, who has a great passion for fusing abstract and realistic styles of tattooing. Look forward to rock fierce and striking tattoos that will be uniquely yours!
Visual Orgasm Tattoo, 2 Haji lane, Singapore 189195, p. 6336 5884
If you prefer a more playful, whimsical (and maybe, cutesy) kind of tattoos, then @hellotako is the place to go. Say hello to Victoria Woon, the amazing tattooist behind hellotako. Having studied illustration at the renowned Parsons School of Design, it’s no wonder that you’ll get to see myriad of interesting, creative, and sticker-style tattoo designs from Victoria such as a cat on a hot air balloon and a school bus in the woods surrounded by mountains. By appointment only.
hellotako, e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact for more details.