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Best of 2015: Top 13 Breakthrough Tattoo Artists

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

As the years go by, tattooing has become an increasingly popular way to express yourself. In 2012, a poll found that 21% of adults had at least one tattoo. For people that are between the ages of 18 to 29, that number is closer to 40%. This form of body art is more than a passing fad, and as a result, tattooists and clients alike are getting really creative with their techniques and imagery.

From watercolor-style paintings to graceful abstract structures to cubist-inspired portraits, the range of tattoos in 2015 was stunning and it's thanks to the incredible tattooists that have emerged, sharing their stunning work through social media. If this year was any indication, we're sure 2016 will be just as inspiring.

Check out some of the most creative breakout tattoo artists of 2015, below.

Continuous Line Portrait by Mo Ganji 

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Tattoo artist Mo Ganji makes a strong visual impact with a relatively simple drawing style. Opting for bold lines and stippled dots, the Berlin-based creative produces a single, elegant image that gracefully flows across the skin. He does this with a single line that you can trace from the beginning of the drawing to its end.

Read more: Linear Tattoos Use One Continuous Line to Leave a Beautifully Bold Impact

Vintage-Inspired Animal Portraits by Pony Reinhardt

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Pony Reinhardt's naturalistic tattoos are rich in detail and visual texture, incorporating elements of the natural world that are reminiscent of vintage engravings. Although they recall times past, Reinhardt adds a modern twist to her imagery with creative mashups of animal portraits, woodsy scenes, and strawberry patches.

Read more: Nature-Inspired Tattoos Combine Vintage-Style Etchings of Fauna and Flora

Watercolor Tiger by Jason Adelinia

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Artist Jason Adelinia creates colorful tattoos that celebrate nature and wildlife. Completed in a watercolor style, this tiger portrait recalls the carefree fluidity of work produced with a paintbrush rather than tattoo machine. Pigment appears in drips and splotches rather than rigid lines, adding elements of abstraction to an otherwise realistic rendering.

Read more: Vibrant Tattoos Capture Carefree Fluidity of Watercolor Paintings

Architectural Diptych by Thieves of Tower

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Thieves of Tower is an artistic collaboration between tattooist Houston Patton and creative director Dagny Fox. Together, they crafted this intricate landscape scene that spans the back of a client's' legs. The visual style references Medieval woodcuts and engraving, and it's intended to take us “back to a time of darkened beauty.”

Read more: Stunning Diptych Tattoos Form Landscapes Across the Backs of Legs

Cross Stitch Portraits by Eva Krbdk

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Turkish tattooer Eva Krbdk combines craft and body art with a unique blend of “cross stitch” tattoos. The intricate designs are composed of small, x-shaped “stitches” that together, produce three pop culture-inspired portraits. This goes against traditional tattooing practices that favor dark, solid outlines, and instead uses color and a repeated shape to imply form.

Read more: Unique Tattoos Created in the Style of Cross-Stitch Embroidery

Glitch Hedgehog by Lesha Lauz

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Russian artist Lesha Lauz, aka Alexey, produces unique tattoos that will strike a chord with anyone who has ever used a computer. Here, he depicts a colorful hedgehog and obscures part of its portrait with tiny squares, effectively creating a “glitch.” The otherwise clear image has “loaded” incorrectly–typically a frustrating experience. With this tattoo, however, it reads as an adorable and play nod to the digital phenomena.

Read more: Animal Tattoos Obscured with Colorful Glitches by Lesha Lauz

Exquisite Scientific Tattoo by Luciano Del Fabro

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Luciano Del Fabro employs a minimalist aesthetic to depict the subtle beauty of the natural world. This carefully-etched tree was completed using black ink and countless stippled dots, which gives it a three-dimensional feel. The delicate marks, coupled with an incredible attention to detail, evoke the feeling of old engravings or scientific drawings.

Read more: Nature-Inspired Tattoos Made of Thousands of Tiny Dots Mimic Scientific Drawings

Look-Alike Cat Portrait by Sol Tattoo

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Meaningful tattoos come in all shapes and sizes. Sol Tattoo in Seoul, South Korea permanently adorned their client's skin with a portrait of their cat, recreating its defining markings and features. This look-alike tattoo is small in size, which allows the wearer to discreetly take their furry friend wherever they go.

Read more: Cat Tattoos May Be the Cutest Way to Break the Law in South Korea

Radiating Ornamental Design by Jessica Kinzer

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Jessica Kinzer has a gift for producing beautiful tattoos. Although she has only been practicing since 2014, she shows an incredible talent for etching elegant, meticulous designs that are reminiscent of mandalas. This half-sleeve piece also features flourishes and fine dotwork that diverges from a central point. Here, the result is artwork that's as bold as it is complex.

Read more: Meticulously Elegant Tattoos Created with Thousands of Intricate Dots

Channeling Pablo Picasso by Peter Aurisch

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Tattooist Peter Aurisch translates Pablo Picasso's iconic cubist style into colorful body art. Like the famed artistic movement, Aurisch dissembles shapes and reassembles them into an abstracted composition, representing multiple viewpoints at the same time. These designs are further distorted by the body, as the image wraps around the arm and wrist. This is not an issue for the Aurisch, however–his work is strikingly clear with bold lines and bright pigment, making it instantly readable and eye catching.

Read more: Stunningly Colorful Cubist Tattoos Inspired by Picasso

Surreal Nature Fused with Geometry by Okan Ukun

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Istanbul-based artist Okan Ukun fuses bold geometric shapes with naturalistic subjects, crafted in a minimalist style that favors symbolism rather than literal scenes. Using a combination of flat and realistic styles, Ukun's tattoos are open-ended and perfect for personal interpretation.

Read more:Artist Combines Naturalism with Geometry to Create Beautifully Surreal Tattoos

Flowing Linear Design by Chaim Machlev

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Tattoos by Chaim Machlev flow from one end of the body to the other. The Berlin-based artist uses intricate, crisscrossing lines to form twisted, structural designs that are both elegant and mesmerizing. This incredible piece wouldn't have been possible had Machlev not followed his passion–in 2012, he quit his job in IT to be a tattoo artist and hasn't looked back since.

Read more: Linear Designs of Minimalist Tattoos Gracefully Flow Across Bodies

Floral Tattoos on a Breast Cancer Survivor by David Allen

breakthrough tattoo artists 2015 tattoos body art best of

Artist David Allen works with a special kind of client to perform an unusual type of tattooing request–he works with women who have survived breast cancer and covers their scars with blooming floral pieces. Through this unique tattoo, he turned a painful, life-altering situation into something permanently beautiful.

Read more: Tattoo Artist Beautifully Conceals Scars of Breast Cancer Survivors

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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