London 2012- Five Tattooers To Watch

It’s almost here! Arguably the biggest event in the tattoo fan’s calendar, the London Tattoo Convention, is around the corner. Appointments with the fantastic line-up of talented artists will be filling up fast because the quality is exceptionally high this year. However, if you want to get some work done on the weekend of the 29th, and you’re still undecided about which artist to choose, here are my picks of five really exciting artists. Please note, there are many other fabulous and underrated artists on the list, so you really need to do your own research, but here is a little taster of what to expect. Better move fast though if you want a slot at the convention – in their studios these guys have got waiting lists as long as your arm…

Alex de Pase

Italian tattooist Alex de Pase does some of the most stunning realism I have ever seen. He specialises in portraits and says he wants to “free the tattoo from traditional and classical icons”, which have characterised tattooing so far in its evolution. Alex is already a star in the tattoo world, and with good reason. His work is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible in tattooing. Get in quick if you want to wear an original piece of Alex de Pase artwork on your hide (pardon the rhino pun).

Matteo Pasqualin

Matteo Pasqualin works out of Matteo Tattoos in Italy, creating beautiful, nuanced black and grey tattoos. The level of detail in his work is so incredible – look at this London street scene, it is just ridiculously good. No question that Matteo is going to be a strong presence in the tattoo world for years to come.


Xoil is a really talented artist based at Needles Side Tattoo in the French Alps. He uses black and red ink to create those striking, drippy, splattery, cross hatched tattoos defined as ‘graphic’ or ‘photoshop’. These instantly recognisable tattoos are something akin to the gorgeous work coming out of Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Germany. I love this style and I predict it will be absolutely massive in years to come.

Laura Juan

Laura Juan is a Spanish tattoo artist based in Madrid who specialises in realistic portraits, and her stuff is just sublime. Laura has been tattooing for 15 years, taking inspiration from classical Spanish painters and tattoo greats such as Robert Hernandez. Having interviewed her, I can also attest that she is a lovely person, so all the more reason to go and visit her at the London Convention.


Bugs is an artist of the old school with 25 years of experience under his belt. He is a household name in tattooing, and has inspired many of the artists working today. The former owner of Evil from the Needle in Camden before he passed it to Jeff Ortega, Bugs specialises in cubism and abstract art, making use of a very wide colour palette. Bugs works out of Los Angeles at the moment but is a regular on the convention circuit. However, his highly style of tattooing is so unusual that there will no doubt be a very long queue at the London convention to get some work by this seriously outstanding artist.

My name is Hannah Smith and I am a regular contributor to Tattoo Revolution Magazine, and now I blog for Tattoosday UK, as long as you dear readers don’t run me out of town! I am on the hunt for ideas for future blog posts so please send me your pics, news, views, whatever to or hannah_fran_ink

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