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Tattoo Artists in New York City You Need to Know
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Tattoo Artists in New York City You Need to Know

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 11 October 2017
In a city where many locals have a creative side, some New Yorkers choose to wear their art on their sleeve. Those individuals turn to New York City’s top tattoo artists to produce wearable art that blurs the line between creator and creation. For those thinking about inking, here are the tattoo artists in New York City you need to know.
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Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy

Inked elites, such as Rihanna and Cara Delevingne, swear by Keith “Bang Bang’” McCurdy, owner of local parlor Bang Bang NYC and tattooer to the stars. Known for his realist designs, McCurdy cites photographs as a source of inspiration, a fitting attraction considering how popular his celeb creations are with paparazzi.

Bang Bang NYC, 328 Broome St., New York City, NY, USA, +1 212 219 2799

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Sue Jeiven

Brooklyn-born Sue Jeiven, also known as “Sweet Sue,” helped legalize tattooing in Massachusetts before returning to her native New York in 2009. Today, the resident at East River Tattoo is known across the Northeast (particularly in Boston, where she opened the award-winning Regeneration Tattoo) for her black engraving line work and customized designs.

East River Tattoo, 1047 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 8282

love this…gotta def keep the background 🌱

A post shared by @sweetsuetattoo on

Tea Leigh

The stick-and-pokes of your youth are all grown up at Welcome Home, a North Greenpoint tattoo shop co-founded by standout creator Tea Leigh. Leigh’s portfolio of subtle hand-poked designs features flowers, fruits, tarot images, and even portraits of clients’ pets. With the goal to help clients feel empowered by body art, Welcome Home provides an experience, not just a service.

La luna loterìa card for Cayla. Thank you so much for traveling to get this 💞

A post shared by Tea (@tealeigh) on

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Scott Campbell

Perhaps a remnant of his technical past, Scott Campbell’s designs are characterized by their monochromatic and highly intricate style. At Saved Tattoo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, owner and operator Campbell works on celeb clients, such as Marc Jacobs and Helena Christensen. Campbell’s colorful history, which comprises an abandoned career as a biochemist and a six-week stay in a Mexico City maximum-security prison, helps form his unique point of view in his role as one of New York City’s top artists.

Saved Tattoo, 426 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 486 0850

Brooke Herr

You can’t look away from Brooke Herr’s creations, which is convenient considering many of her abstract designs require a second look. Herr’s airy, hand-poked tattoos have included wisps of lavender, softly scribbled sigils, and barely there female silhouettes. A must for minimalists, Herr’s subtle, organic work gives new meaning to the phrase “second skin.”

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Rob Banks

For traditional tattoos, New Yorkers rely on longtime local artist Rob Banks. During his tenure as an East River Tattoo resident, Banks has perfected skulls, roses, all-American eagles, lettering, and other tattoo mainstays.

East River Tattoo, 1047 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 8282

@eastrivertattoo

A post shared by ROB BANKS (@robbanksofamerica) on

Rukus

Rukus’ work will remind you that tattoos are meant to be fun. Colorful (and occasionally confusing) designs, such as a mummy riding a dinosaur, a friendly reminder to “call your mother,” and animated characters from Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons, form the core of Rukus’ repertoire. Also specializing in bright, abstract designs, this traveling tattoo artist will make you look twice.

"Hey cool, I'm dead." @thesimpsonstattoo #thesimpsonstattoo

A post shared by RUKUS.TATTOO@GMAIL.COM (@rukus_tattoo) on

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Tamara Santibañez

Crawling insects, detailed skulls, and female portraits featuring sharp-drawn eyebrows and contempt-filled gazes are what you’ll find in Tamara Santibañez’s portfolio. The Saved Tattoo resident has made waves (and earned upwards of 55,000 social media followers) with her black-and-grey tattoo work, inspired by Chicano culture, BDSM iconography, and fine art prints.

Saved Tattoo, 426 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 486 0850

Fun one for Rachel, thanks for making the trip! 💫

A post shared by Tamara Santibañez (@tamarasantibanez) on