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Anyone looking to permanently print art on their body will tell you that the right tattoo artist is worth waiting for. In a report made by Millennial Marketing, 36% of millennials have a tattoo; a number that far succeeds the 10% of those over forty. And with travel on the rise with our same age group, it comes at no surprise that the two often intertwine, or act as a result of each other.

In a previous article about the trend of travel tattoos , we stated "traditional tattoos can often capture the culture and history of a given region, and the artists themselves can be a great source of knowledge and interest as well." But how do you know which traditions, countries, and, ultimately, artists are worthy of a visit?

For those who would travel any distance to get an original work of art from a master tattoo artist, we've compiled our top picks for those worth the wait (and the trip).


Sasha Unisex, Russia

Showcasing a sensational array of colors, Russia's  Sasha Unisex uses geometric lines and patterns to compose beautifully designed plant and animal tattoos. While there are occasions that she tattoos images beyond these categories, nature certainly dominates her expertise. For those who love her work but can't commit to a permanent souvenir, she also sells her own original temporary tattoos through an online store .

Shane Gallagher Coley, Australia

Shane Gallagher Coley from Australia has traveled the world working alongside some of the top tattoo artists in the world. Known for his mandala work, his style borrows inspiration from traditional designs by Polynesian, Maori, and Hawaiian tribes using Blackwork to render the images. His impeccable work is deeply rooted with meaningful symbolism, following the belief that tattooing has a profound effect on the wearer physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Tatooist Sol, Korea

Located at Seoul National University Station, Tatooist Sol uses an alias instead of their real name. Delicate designs are made by using extremely fine lines, meaning this is the artist to see for a tattoo that's either tiny or simplistic. Keep in mind, tattoos are actually illegal in Korea, so if you're particularly vying for a piece of art, you'll need to make contact via the popular messaging app, Kakao Talk.

Tomo Ikarashi, Japan

You don’t have to be a Yakuza to appreciate the traditional Tebori Japanese style. With their time honored tradition of story telling, hand carved images of characters and creatures from classic folklore are nearly brought to life. The images typically have minimal shading that allow for a two dimensional feel, but these days Neo Traditionalists are bringing a new twist to the ancient design.  Japan’s own Tomo Ikarashi is one of these redefining artists, bringing a modern take on the old designs by adding unique depth and color.

Aleksandra Katsan, Ukraine

Watercolor tattoos are making a big splash in the ink community. This new style, which is done without outlines, emulates the look and feel of the brushstroke you would get with an actual watercolor. The images range from impressionistic to abstract, allowing an entire palette of unique inspiration and impressive colors to draw from. The designs of Aleksandra Katsan from Kyiv Ukraine bring an elegant and eccentric quality to this new movement.

Ròbert Pavez, Sweden

Dotwork is an age-old tradition that has been around since tattooing began. The entirety of image, shading and depth is created using the negative space between tiny, delicate dots. Stipple portraits and sacred geometry are the most common forms, but Ròbert Pavez from Sthlm, Sweden brings a new level of mastery to his ornamental originals.

Aleksey Platunov, Russia

Thanks to advancements in technology, tattooists are able to draw lines much more fine than in previous years. In fact, line drawing is officially it's own, new style, featuring delicate details and intricate designs. One such artist known for childlike graphics and whimsical line drawings is Aleksey Platunov from Kirov, Russia. His playful sketch-like designs are drawn freehand as opposed to traced, and sought out by customers from all over the globe.

Volko Merschky and Simone Pfaff, Germany

Trash Polka is a new post-modern style created by Volko Merschky and Simone Pfaff. The images, which are derived by using only black and red ink, layer realistic images with abstract shapes and words. The bold, chaotic pieces are a best done on a large scale, and create a statement full of symbolism and meaning. Though the style is becoming increasingly popular all over Europe, the originators can be found at the Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Würzburg, Germany.

Katie Shocrylas, Canada

Located in beautiful British Columbia, tattoo artist Katie Shocrylas creates impressive, colorful designs in her East Vancouver studio. While her work is predominantly intricate pictures of plants and animals, the vivid hues are what resonate with us most.

Manus Eraña, Spain

The amazing detailed geometric work of Manus Eraña uses mathematical principles found in nature. These shapes have sacred meaning behind their proportions, and the structures are thought to bring a certain vibrational resonance to it.