The first book of its kind, a cutting-edge illustrated survey of 75 contemporary tattoo artists from around the world who are pushing the boundaries of their art form.
Published by Phaidon Tattoo You: A New Generation of Artists is a stunning survey of the world’s most exemplary, innovative, and trailblazing tattoo artists working today. From fine-line and blackwork tattoos to Neo-Traditional and Indigenous practices, the book spans all styles and techniques, celebrating this extraordinary form of self-expression as well as those that pioneer it. An inside look into how artists work today, Tattoo You simultaneously provides glimpses of tattooing’s future as an innovative, accessible, and revolutionary art form.
Across nearly 700 images, this collection showcases 75 groundbreaking artists from around the world who are disrupting, reimagining, and reenergizing tattooing. The book uniquely focuses on artists who began working professionally in the past 10 years, offering fresh insights into the contemporary tattoo industry while also exploring future trends. Each artist entry spans 2–4 pages and includes a selection of images that illustrate their work and practice, accompanied by a short profile that delves into their life, influences, and artistic process. These profiles reflect the seismic shifts that have transformed the industry, whereby artists have become activists, influencers, and revivalists. A testament to these changes, women, nonbinary, and trans artists account for more than two-thirds of the 75 featured tattooers, with LGBT and BIPOC artists significantly represented throughout the book as well.
Tattoo You is expansive in its artistic, stylistic, and technical range. Atlanta artist Debbi Snax tattoos uniquely Black takes on American Traditional designs, offering opportunities for people of color to see themselves represented in tattooing, while Singapore-based Ian Damien’s synthesis of traditional Japanese and geometric tattoos creates an organic flow between his clients and the designs on their skin. Heleena Mistry, based in Leicester, reinterprets traditional Indian folk imagery, while Moko Smith honors and revives the ancient t? moko practices of his Polynesian and Mori ancestors in Auckland. No matter their artistic ethos or cultural practice, these artists prove how revolutionary, empowering, and self-actualizing tattoos can be.
Featured artists were carefully selected by a global panel of tattoo experts. Nominators span top names from a range of backgrounds, including Grace Neutral, one of the UK’s most influential voices
in tattooing, known for her VICE docuseries Needles and Pins; Claudia De Sabe and Valerie Vargas, who are among the most famous and important women tattooers working today; tattoo historian Dr. Matt Lodder and anthropologist Lars Krutak, who have dedicated their lives to the study of tattoos and the people across time who have put needle to skin; and Tann Koga, the founder of Ink the Diaspora, an online platform that celebrates the work of and connects clients to tattooers of color.
An introduction by Alice Snape, the founder and editor of the feminist tattooing publication Things & Ink, further contextualizes the book’s scope. Tracing the connections between these disparate artists, Snape demonstrates how activism, community, and constant innovation have increasingly defined the tattoo industry and the artists that reshape it.
“Tattoos have the power to reflect feelings, politics, beliefs, and communities,”
“What remains constant is the reason people get tattooed, which is to feel at home in their own bodies.”
The book’s design is as thoughtful as its content. At first glance the book resembles an upscale artist’s notebook with marbled paper and a leatherette spine; on closer inspection, the cover image is
a microscopic view of skin that has been tattooed with black ink. The decorative dots on the spine, which are continued as a design element throughout the interior, reflect the various needle groupings tattoo artists use in their practice.
Presented with elegance and care, Tattoo You is aimed at a diverse audience of enthusiasts—not only those who are in the industry or are inked themselves, but also admirers of the artistry and traditions of tattooing.
Tattoo You: A New Generation of Artists, Phaidon Editors, with an introduction by Alice Snape
£39.95, Hardback, Tattoo You BUY HERE
312 pp, 690 colour illustrations. 290 x 214 mm ISBN: 9781838667566
Alice Snape is a freelance writer, editor, and curator, as well as the founder of Things & Ink magazine. An expert and authority on tattoos, she has appeared on Newsnight, ITV news, and BBC Radio, and is the author of Tattoo Street Style (2018). She has also written about tattoos and niche culture for the Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, VICE, Total Tattoo, and other prominent publications.