Top 10 Celebrity Tattoo Artists in LA
Who does the best celebrity ink? Let’s look at the top tattoo shops in LA that are leaving their marks on famous folks.
His real name is Mark Machado, but most people know the Mexican-American tattoo guru as Mister Cartoon, famed, as you might have guessed, for cartoon art. At his studio in Downtown LA Machado and his partner, photographer Estevan Oriol, also house a collection of classic cars and motorcycles. It's appointment only and pay by the piece. Celebrities who sport Mister Cartoon ink include Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and 50 Cent.
Kat Von D
Even if you're not into tattoos you may know Kat Von D, star of the reality TV show LA Ink, as well as a model, musician, and author. The tattoo art of Kat, whose full name is Katherine Von Drachenberg, is influenced by LA's Chicano culture with vibrant colors and Latino influences like Day of the Dead skulls. Her tattoo shop, High Voltage in West Hollywood, has inked a ton of Hollywood A-listers. Just a few of Kat's customers include Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Mary J. Blige.
One of America's premier tattoo artists, Mark Mahoney has been creating body art for over four decades, many of those from his storied Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard. Johnny Depp has been a client for years, telling The Hollywood Reporter Mahoney is "amongst the finest tattoo artists to have ever plied the trade...He’s my brother." The long list of stars who have Mark Mahoney tattoos includes Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and David Beckham.
Known for creating incredibly detailed and realistic tattoos, Doctor Woo, aka Brian Woo, learned his craft as an apprentice to Mark Mahoney. And struck out on his own, setting up the space Hideaway at Studio X on Hollywood Boulevard. Some of Doctor Woo's famous works include dragons on Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, a palm tree for Zoë Kravitz, and NBA star Blake Griffin's cityscape. Drake, Tony Hawk, and Hailey Bieber are also adorned with Doctor Woo art.
Deutsche says he did his first tattoo at the age of twelve, inking his friends even before his first apprenticeship. Decades later he's still at it, creating colorful designs from a private studio in LA. One of Eddy Deutsche’s better-known creations is a garter with a gun around the leg of Margaret Cho.
Daniel J. Winter
Tattooing under the name Winter Stone, Daniel J. Winter began his art career as an "imagineer" at Disney. Winter's trademark body art uses fine lines to create sharp, delicate images, often with roses that spiral around fingers and necks—and down the back of Lady Gaga. Mandy Moore chose the outline of a mountain on her foot. Winter's other celebrity clients include Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, Miley Cyrus, and Bella Thorne.
East LA-native Chente Rios is famous for inking black-and-grey portraits at his East Hollywood shop Under The Gun Tattoo Company. Notably he did the Native American logo of the Stratford Cullitons Canadian ice hockey team on Justin Bieber. Chente began his work with Bic pens during a short stint in a California Prison in the mid-90s when he was 19 years old.
Famed for tribal tattoos and hand-painted Americana and Japanese designs, Paul Timman plies his body art on the Sunset Strip; the Wall Street Journal dubbed Timman the "Rembrandt of Sunset Strip." Some of Timman's better-known creations include a cross on Ben Affleck's arm, a dragon on Angelina Jolie's back, and her ex Billy Bob Thornton's magic mushroom tattoo.
Owner of the California Dream Tattoo shop in Sherman Oaks, Romeo Lacoste got a surge of stardom as a contestant on the reality competition show Best Ink. He's since amassed a huge roster of celebrity clients, including YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul, who has a sword design created by Lacoste on his back. Other celebs with Romeo's art on their bodies include Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Kendrick Lamar.
Known from the TV shows L.A. Ink and Ink Master, Nikko Hurtado is beloved for creating body art with bold colors and stunning realism. Working out of the Black Anchor Collective in Hesperia, Hurtado decorated Amber Rose with an image of Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, and the iconic “Hollywood” sign. Other celebs with Hurtado's art include Cheryl Cole, JWoww, and Vanessa Bryant.
You’ll probably never be able to live like an A-list celebrity. But some of the best LA tattoo artists can make you look as if you do.Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.