The last few years have seen a boom of tattoo parlours around Reykjavík. In fact, there’s now so many that we literally don’t have the space to feature them all here, which we sincerely apologise for. That said, here’s a diverse selection of what the Reykjavík tattoo scene has to offer. (Email that GV ink to email@example.com)
This classic shop caters to all styles, with a roster of artists that serve up everything from realism to new-school and more, all done beautifully. We’d particularly recommend the hand-poked pieces by Habba (@habbanerotattoo), Reykjavík’s resident witch-stave-runic genius. Not only are they gorgeously ornate in that straight-out-of-800-AD-way, but they might save you from evil spirits.
First off, this Reykjavík tattoo studio no doubt has the best view of any in the city so we’d love to offer to switch offices with them. Second off, this is another place that runs the gamut of styles beautifully. It’s notably a great place for nerds, as they have a dedicated artist Joel (@geeks_ink) who does, as you could guess, geeky shit.
For illustrative, watercolour and similarly bright and ethereal works, head to White Hill. The one and only Marlena (@marlena_sweet_hell, formerly of Sweet Hell) is a master of this stuff, who you can trust to give you jewel-eyed animals surrounding by flowing pastel clouds or other enchanting things like that. That said, we’d particularly like to compliment Hrefna Maria (@haria_art) on the gothy blackwork she’s got going on. As an (internally) goth magazine, her devotion to the darker arts must be celebrated (sullenly).
Located next to Kringlan, Bleksmiðjan is another Reykjavík tattoo fan favourite. Ingi (@bleksmidjan.ingi) is a go-to for colour-realism, which you don’t see a ton of in this country. Also, notably, Bleksmiðjan has some amazing piercing people (@bleksmidjan.piercing) who can do everything from smilies to dermals. No word as to whether or not they can install a $24 million pink diamond in our forehead, though.
Runner-up for our Best of Reykjavík 2020 award for Hidden Gem, Street Rats Tattoo is the personal playground of Kristófer, a.k.a. Sleepofer Tattoo (@sleepofertattoo). He does that sort of full-on thick traditional shit that never goes out of style. Think naked ladies, skulls, snakes and spiderwebs. You know, devil-may-care things that make you look cool.
Hamraborg 14a, Kópavogur
A really, really, really good place for old school. Actually, the artists there do everything well, but their old school is particularly *chef’s kiss*. In my experience, people who like Black Kross are weirdly culty about it—like they only get tattooed there and go a lot and just really love it—so watch out, they might be putting something in the ink. (For legal reasons, that’s a joke.)
Another Reyjavík tattoo parlour that does most styles and does them really well. That said, Balli’s (@balliiagnars) got some particularly stellar neotraditional and Deborah Lilja (@treespirits.tattoo) just started serving up some anime stuff which we—an office stacked to the brim with untranslated manga—love. We must also shout out the black and grey work of Emii Dun (@emii.dun.tattoos), who has tattooed the author of this article many times. No favouritism here, folks.
The one. The only. No doubt a downtown institution by this point, Reykjavík Ink is a tried-and-true locale that has been serving the local community faithfully for 13 lucky years. Pro-tip: They get really fantastic guest artists, so keep an eye on their Instagram to see who’s coming over.
Apollo Ink is probably the number one place for black and grey realism in Reykjavík, considering most of the artists here specialise in it and just do it really fucking well. Adrian Chou’s (@adrian.chou.art) surrealist take on the style is particularly trippy, but seriously, Jesus Christ, everyone here is just really good ain’t they? Isn’t realism supposed to be super hard? Where did they find these people?
Great location. Classic team. Takes walk-ins daily. That’s kind of like the golden trio for a good ole’ tattoo parlour, yeah? If you need an even sweeter deal, they are also now offering 20% off big black and grey arm pieces for March. So you really have no excuse do you? I mean it’s downtown for God’s sake.
Also Check Out:
– Aura Reykjavík: The new studio on the block. We’re excited to see what 2021 holds for them.
– Ritual Tattoo: Another great bunch that seems to get some truly unique guest artists.
– After 6 Tattoos: Kind of a supergroup tattoo collective in Reykjavík featuring @uglybrothers, @sleeplessinrvk, @mottandi and @kocane_wayne. Message on Instagram to talk about your groundbreaking ideas.
– Other various Instagrams to follow: @thorst1tattoo, @hopingnopolice and wow there are so many people right now please don’t be sad if we forgot anyone.
Note: Anyone who gets a Grapevine tattoo gets a free year subscription to the Grapevine and an article dedicated to them. We’d prefer it in that blackwork-with-red-lines we know you’re lusting after right now. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for designs.
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