Current queen of the tramp stamp Cheryl Cole may not be doing the general reputation of tattoos any favours with her buttock-covering extreme ghetto design, but there are some seriously talented artists over here worth visiting if you’re into body inking. We asked tattoo fans where they would recommend for permanent body art, and these were the results.
Johnny Two Thumb
Resident artist Chak is recommended by New Zealander Heather Sellen, who went from zero tattoos to a large and beautiful winding floral tattoo on her back. “The studio has a good reputation for standard things like hygiene, but it’s the artists who really make it all that. You can take in an idea, explain it and the draft they draw will be exactly what you were after. They also have an amazing talent for getting the artwork onto your body. My friend had her three kids’ names written around her ankle, and the spacing was very precise.”
Far East Plaza, #04-15, 14 Scotts Road
6737 4861 | johnnytwothumb.com
Brian Kennett recommends Derrick at Tattoo Craft, particularly for corrective work. “It’s pretty amazing and all freehand. I have two half-sleeve arm tattoos in Japanese style, one of which is a cover up of a crappy thing I had done when I was younger. I also have an incomplete one that I’m trying to find the time to see Derrick about again. It’s a cover up on my lower leg, where the original looks like I had been hit with a squash ball! Now in progress is a Japanese dragon design covering the whole lower leg.”
263 Tanjong Katong Road Suites
9387 4501 | tattoocraft.tumblr.com
Tattoo-lover Stephen Pollock knew he wanted a black-and-white tattoo, and so shopped around. “It was important I visited as many artists as possible to look at their portfolios and see the quality of their work. Sha’s portfolio was excellent and had many designs similar to the style I was looking for.” Stephen was seriously impressed with the draft design, and spent eight hours in the chair. “You could tell Sha was a master of his craft,” he says, pointing to the pain levels and fast healing process. “I now have a three-quarter sleeve done by Sha and I will definitely be back for more.”
14 Scotts Road, #04-10 Far East Plaza
6734 5910 | inkingme.com
Artist: Jap Loh
Australian Tobias Wilson was introduced to tattooist Jap by some wakeboarding friends. “The design took a long time as it’s a pretty big piece and I wanted to make sure it was something I’d be happy to carry around for the rest of my life. We started with the main elements that I wanted, the sun, water and mountains, and Jap took it from there. He’s constantly travelling, doing tattoo shows, so this took a bit of time to’ing and fro’ing but we got 95% of the way there and then he finished it freehand during the first sitting. Overall it took just under 20 hours in the chair. Jap is an epic artist and I would recommend him to people who are looking for something individual, as he’s more about the art than the price. If you want a sparkly seahorse-unicorn with some Chinese characters then maybe he’s not your guy.”
440 Joo Chiat Place
9002 7096 | facebook.com/kustoms7tattoos/timeline
Steven Rogers (British) was drawn to artist Kash due to his reputation for attention and obsession to detail. “I was told he was not one for rushing his designs or forcing tattoos on people. They said his professionalism and credibility was paramount to his work.” They had two sessions designing the first stages of the tattoo, with many check points over the ensuing sessions to consider the end design. “His tattooing is precise and creative whilst his studio has safety as one of its key selling points. He was accommodating with my schedule and always ensured he wasn’t under pressure to finish quickly on my design to start someone else’s session, a rare attribute for a tattooist. I have recommended several people and they’re all pleased with his work; in addition, I’ve had over 20 people asking where I had mine done. That’s the simplest but most reassuring part and confirms my decision to go to Kash!”
11 Sin Ming Road, Thomson V Two, #B2-09 units 5, 6, 7
6466 3488 | tattoo.sg
Expat Living’s very own Leanda Rathmell has been visiting Galaxy to cover up an old tattoo. “So far they’ve been great with visualizing what I’m after, and they also often have visiting artists from abroad that you can book appointments with in advance.” Oh, and they have two baby hedgehogs you can play with… how arty random is that!
16a Trengganu Street
6222 2182 | galaxytattoo2.wordpress.com
Richard Lay chose Joseph because of the work he’d seen done on his friends, which he felt was outstanding. “He is a very cool guy and easy to chat to. His attention to detail and the intricacy that some of the tattoos have in them is really phenomenal. I’ve seen a lot of work done around the world and his is by far the best I have come across to date. As long as I’m in Asia, regardless of the country, I will fly back to have him do any future work for me.”
2 Haji Lane
6336 5884 | visual-orgasm.com
I finish this with a recommendation for my own tattooist. For myself and my friend’s one and only Singapore tat we were recommended Apple at Familiar Strangers. After plenty of procrastinating and a few glasses of wine we met with the face of the place, Whopper, who listened to our wants (mine a pair of footprints on my wrist, hers a tattoo up her spine of her children’s names in Mandarin). Whopper communicated everything to Apple, who came up with the perfect drafts quickly. We were in and out in a couple of hours, the healing process was fast and we have been very pleased with the results.
20 Upper Circular Road, #01-10, The Riverwalk
Psst! Before you go – want some tips on what NOT to ask for? Check this out…
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.