What a time to be alive and tattooed in Asia — fewer parents threatening to disown their children for getting inked and social media has allowed the tattoo community in Singapore to grow.
And as it crawls out of the shadows, getting your first piece is admittedly, pretty daunting. The different styles and the multitude of artists can put your head in a spin. Follow a few of these Singaporean tattoo artists on Instagram however, and you shouldn’t find yourself short on inspiration for your next piece or making some very regrettable decisions.
*These are the Instagram handles of artists and not their actual names*
Julian Chia, or @theboldfox is the man behind The Bold Fox Tattoo Parlour. Being an animal lover, you’ll find his designs influenced by neo-traditional style — a modernised, more detailed style of American traditional — with animals almost always the main feature.
@Wongplacewongtime what a great Instagram name. Clifford Wong’s active (Instagram) feed of clean and bold looking contemporary black ink tattoo illustrations never fail to catch my eye with every new piece he uploads. Black work as it’s known has garnered quite the following.
The work done by @ironfisttattoo a.k.a Khai, often trades bold jet black shapes and patterns for a collection of fine lines and tiny dots. Together, they create an intricate level of detail, shading and gradient in his pieces.
Edmund Seah’s Instagram handle is as simple as they come: @edmund_seah. He’s all about striking, bold Irezumi (Japanese) -style tattoos. Featuring characters, creatures and elements from Japanese culture and folklore. Traditional Irezumi-style tattoo pieces are usually big, bold, and long term projects synonymous with “body suits” made famous by the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia).
Working out of The Bold Fox Tattoo Parlour is @verasontattoo, or in real life, Jerome Lee. Neo-traditional and Japanese elements collide creating unique pieces borrowing aesthetics from traditionally western or contemporary elements. Think hanyas (jealous female demon), namakubis (severed head), nure-onna (snake with a woman’s head).
It’s all about the new school. Anthea Tan who goes by the name of @ratking on Instagram, has an illustrative tattoo style that’s dramatic and bizarre. Complex and crazy (in the best way) designs featuring odd and mythical creatures can be found on her feed.
Delicate, detailed, clean and contemporary — that’s how I’d describe the work by @fleecircus, a.k.a Lee Wai Leng. While she’s considered fairly new in the local tattooing scene, her background as an Illustrator however, has transferred itself into her work on her living breathing canvases.
@Vagabond_ink is the handle for the tattoo parlour of artist Peenut Lee, but she doesn’t have a personal account so I’m featuring the parlour’s one instead. Her geometric, sketchy and abstract styled works are some of the more unique ones. It’s like something out of a tattoo museum. However, I just may be a bumpkin that hasn’t seen such work on skin before.
Another artist at Vagabond Ink, @aaroncaikk or Aaron Cai has a penchant and flair for black and grey realism. While not a style I’m personally fond of, check him out if you dig things like portraits and iconic movie stills.
What would the art of tattooing be without script work that etch our thoughts and favourite quotes permanently into our skin. Another style I’m not particularly fond of but, after seeing @myleschainz or Myles’ gnarly looking script work, I may be a convert.
Lionel Ng’s work found at @lionelngtattoo features quite a variety of styles, however, his Polynesian-inspired work definitely stands out in my opinion. While I don’t know the intricacies and meanings behind every symbol, it’s a style I’ve always admired as long as it isn’t tacky looking — and tacky isn’t what I’ve seen.
Rothsman Hunter or @roths_work_ink_class on Instagram, specialises in tribal black work pieces. However, he’s put a pretty unique spin on his personal style by incorporating Javanese and Malayan artwork into his designs. Dope if you’re into culture!
Kurt Inri L. Pereira a.k.a @Ironkurtain_‘s specialises in iconic American traditional-style tattoos. The sort of tattoos that are synonymous with tattoo culture and hard-as-nails American sailors in the past. With each piece using a limited but, bold colour palette, they pop, and are great if you’re going to get one or collect a whole sleeve full.
For more contemporary stuff, @jenxtattoos or Jen Tan does lots of beautiful handwritten script-styled work. The cursive, organic style is great for those quotes you want to keep close to your heart as constant reminders. In fact most of her work doesn’t “shout”, great if you’re looking to keep things on the down low.
I can’t nail down an exact style that Clyde Ck, @clydetattoos specialises in. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, not at all.
So if you’re a little unsure and haven’t figured an exact style that you’d want on you for life, check out his feed for quite the array of styles. The guy has a soft spot for DOTA-inspired pieces, so if you’re a fan of the game, and want take your love for it to the next level, you know where to go.
With this list there’s really no excuse for no ragrets.