What goes well with grunge music, hipster culture, and a healthy micro brew? Skin art, of course. Seattle is chalk-full of top-of-the-line artists (charging top-of-the-line prices…..if you can get scheduled). In fact, there are so many littering the area, that it’s overwhelming to sift through the 5-star google recommended parlors. There’s no need for a uncle Jim-bob basement tattoo in Seattle. I’ve found that some of the artists have a 4 month waiting list, and can charge upwards of $200/hour for quality work. There are so many good artists, it was actually difficult to create a list of Seattle’s Top Tattoo artists!
Obviously the supply of artists is high, and the demand is too. So, where do you start? Who to go to? Sit back, relax, and let me tell you.
Seattle’s Best Tattoo Artists!
Situated in the heart of downtown, surrounded by Pho restaurants and drive-through coffee stands lies one of the best studios in all of Seattle. Filled to the brim with fantastic artists inking even more fantastic work, Cicada tattoo studio is a chart-topping tattoo parlor, even in competitive Seattle. It honestly doesn’t matter whether you choose Daryl, Eric, Robert or Will, all of their work is equally impressive. The only pitfall is their $180/hour rate, about 20% higher than surround studios. You can clearly see why they can charge those rates…..check out their work here:
Cicada Tattoo Parlor
Hidden Hand Tattoo
There is almost always a 3-month-long waiting list, so you know the work is on point. Hidden hand tattoo parlor hosts 7 amazing artists, that are always in high demand. I stopped by for a consultation and was shocked to hear that the earliest my chosen artist could take me was 4 months away, unless there was a cancellation. I’ve seen fantastic work elsewhere, but the sheer volume of clientele speaks for itself at Hidden Hand Tattoo. I highly recommend looking at April and Jeff Cornell’s books, as well as Mike & Asher.
Laughing Buddha Tattoo
The salty smells of Pho permeate the studio during lunch hour, overpowering the sterile smells of alcohol wipes and sprays. The windows steam up with the heat of the boiling soup, preventing the outside world from catching sight of the colorful walls packed with images of previous tattoo clients. At a minimum of $80 per tattoo for any size, this studio is attempts to dissuade the first cliche tat every 18-year-old tries to get’. You won’t find these artists wasting their time on a silly finger tattoo. My favorite artists, Kyle, Chad and Thomas, create fantastic, unique designs that surpass everyone in the near vicinity.
Check out some of their designs below:
Deep Roots Tattoo
If you haven’t quite grasped the whole of Seattle culture, Deep Roots Tattoo will give you a well-rounded view of all that is Seattle pop culture. The artists are heavily tatted, their hair covered in multi-colored dread-locks. A few high-end “tobacco” pipes are sold in glass casings along the entrance of the studio. Though there are many great artists that work here, Hayley, Jenny and Aaron all create the type of art I swoon over:
Emerald City Tattoo
Emerald City Tattoo was around before tattoos were cool. With boasting rights of being the second oldest studio in all of Seattle, Emerald City is a nondescript building tucked between a tasty taco shop and a small piece of real estate that seems to have become a revolving door for failing antique shops. Ashley, Jeremy and Andy work diligently from their green-walled place of business. Ashley is actually my personal favorite artist out of all of those I have had the fortune of speaking with. I’m commissioning her work for my second tattoo!
Slave to the Needle
Though truthfully not my favorite tattoo parlor in Seattle, I can’t just not mention Slave to the Needle. I have never had a good visit here….I’ve entered on multiple occasions with friends looking to get work done, and once on my own behalf, and have never felt comfortable with the persons I spoke with. I think that because they speak with such a high volume of consultation clients that never complete the work discussed, artists at Slave to the Needle have a bit of a “Seattle Freeze” attitude about them. (I could also have just had the misfortune of finding everyone in terrible moods as well!) I hope that others might have a different experience here, however, I’m willing to bet that other studios eclipse the value of this studio.
If you do decide to check it out, take a look at these artists:
Amanda Riner, Aaron Bell, “Honest Jon” and “Kiwi Matt“
Artful Dodger Tattoo
Another unique tattoo studio, Artful Dodger creates unique, custom work at incredible value. There is no way they wouldn’t make anyone’s Top Seattle Tattoo Artists’ list. Check out some of their beautiful designs below:
What’s your favorite tattoo studio in Seattle? Favorite artist? Lemme know!