Tuesday, 2 February 2016

10 designers and their awesome tattoos

10 designers and their awesome tattoos



Get some inspiration from these awesome tattoos, as each owner explains the story behind theirs and what makes it special.

These awesome tattoos will inspire you to get your own ink done – find out more about the designers and the stories behind them.

Whether it starts as the ultimate showcase of a favourite artist's work or is motivated by something deeply personal and meaningful, many creatives don't stop at their first tattoo. Getting inked often becomes a compulsion, transforming dull skin into a walking work of art. And there's one thing on which the vast majority of designers we've spoken to agree: respect the artistic flair of the guy with the needle.


Whether they're inking a design you've given them, interpreting your brief in their own way or cooking you up something entirely from scratch, they're called tattoo artists for a reason. And we're inspired by them too, using tattoo fonts and or checking out other inspiring tattoo designs. So have a look at these awesome tattoos decorating designers bodies, and find out who was the artist behind them.



01. Sara Blake





"I never intended on being a very tattooed person," smiles freelance illustrator/designer Sara Blake, who's now pretty comprehensively covered. "I started with a small one on my shoulder, and it grew from there. I like things you have to suffer for in order to earn." Blake has forged an artistic relationship with Steve Boltz at Smith Street Studio, having some earlier tattoos removed since working with him. "His brief is pretty simple: I give him a body part, an animal subject matter and the rest is up to him," she shrugs.

Tattoo artist:



Steve Boltz, Smith Street Tattoo, Brooklyn, New York, USA




02. Ryan Carson




"The tattoo is for my wife, Gillian," explains Ryan Carson, web designer, entrepreneur and CEO of Treehouse. Colorado-born Carson recently moved back to the States from Bath, England, where he'd lived with his wife for many years. "The Lion and Unicorn are from the British Passport and the Teacup symbolizes England, as she's from St. Helens, UK," he adds 
Tattoo artist:

Kirsten Holliday, Portland, Oregon



03. Steven Bonner




"I wanted something timeless," says designer and illustrator Steven Bonner of his impressive tattoo. "So I chose two things that have consistently appealed to me all my life: birds and skulls. I like black and grey, and trusted my tattoo artist to do something great, as he's a brilliant illustrator with a great style. Done in around 10 hours."

Tattoo artist:

Marcus, Custom Ink, Glasgow


04. James O'Connell




After admiring the fine detail in the Hokusai Great Wave at an exhibition, O'Connell, a designer at Dinosaur, decided to get an oriental sleeve tattoo. "The whole idea is to make the elements big so that they can be recognised from distance, so I decided to go for a couple of lilies surrounded by those famous waves and a couple of koi carp," he explains. The artist drew straight onto his arm with pen for an hour before the inking began – and the work took around 35 hours in total.

Tattoo artist:


Danny Rossiter, Studio 81, Manchester, UK


05. Dustin Hostetler




After graduating from high school, illustrator, artist, curator and publisher Dustin Hostetler opted to get a colour wheel tattooed on his wrist to represent his commitment to the arts. "As my life moved forward as a graphic designer, getting arrows tattooed made perfect sense," he suggests. "To me, the arrow is the perfect representation of a distilled graphic design image. For the most part, I've basically just said, 'Draw me some arrows, and fit them on my body', and they do it."

Tattoo artists:

Mike Giant, San Francisco, USA

JK5, Daredevil Tattoo, New York, USA


06. Elizabeth Carey Smith





Over the years, graphic designer and typographer Carey Smith has covered her body with 26 tiny letters: "I didn't start off thinking I'd get the whole alphabet," she admits. "I got the first one (j) on a whim, then the next few (g, a, q) without thinking much about it." It grew from there: every time she drew a letter frequently, it was inked onto her. "It's the most uneconomical way of getting tattooed ever," she smiles. "You pay by the hour, and these little letters take about seven minutes each."

Tattoo artist:


Stephanie Tamez, New York Adorned, New York, USA


07. Ryan Sievert




Before he was old enough to get tattooed, designer, illustrator and photographer Ryan Sievert opted for piercings instead: "That was the best thing I could have done," he believes. "By the time I was old enough to get any work done, I knew I was too picky to settle on a tattoo that wouldn't make me cringe later on." He and his younger sister got matching tattoos, based on how they settled fights when they were younger – and most of his others also have family ties of some description.

Tattoo artists:

Typographic tattoos: Chito, Revolution Tattoo, Chicago, USA

Flowers and bird: Tim Biedron, Pioneer Tattoo, Chicago, USA


08. Chuck Anderson





Rather than attaching overly deep meaning to his tattoos, creative director Chuck Anderson has more of an aesthetic attraction: "I just love black-and-grey tattooing," he shrugs. His right arm sleeve is a montage of natural imagery, such as orchids, mountains, clouds and birds. The left arm includes his wife's name, 'Holly Giovanna'; a pair of cherubs; and a small 'NP' for NoPattern. "In some case I came with an exact plan, but for the big stuff I let the artists take my general idea, and do what they wanted," he explains.

Tattoo artists:

Right forearm to wrist: David Allen, Chicago, USA

Lines and birds on right arm: Rich Kocis, Peace of Art Tattoo, Chicago, USA


09. Gavin Strange





It's no surprise that Gavin Strange's calf tattoo reflects his self-confessed obsession with bikes: "The ship wheel represents both being by the water here in beautiful Bristol, and riding bicycles in general," explains the senior designer at Aardman Digital. His friend, accomplished tattoo illustrator Ollie Munden, designed it following a late-night iChat – and also crafted a pair of Mexican sugar skulls for the tops of his feet. "Most of my tattoos are hidden, and I thought, what better place to have a surprising bit of ink than on top of my feet?" grins Strange.

Tattoo artist:

Justin Cota, Mantra Tattoo Studio, Cheltenham, UK

Designed by Ollie Munden


10. Brian Carley





Executive creative director Carley's first tattoo was inspired by the artist Dave McKean, who used to create the cover art for the comic book series Sandman. "I'm a bit of a nerd," he shrugs. The Saatchi & Saatchi creative director prefers to give the man with the needle relative free rein: "I'm not a tattoo artist: I don't understand all the idiosyncrasies of the art form, so I don't assume that I know what's best," he reasons. "I'm confident that the artist I'm paying will do the best job possible."

Tattoo artist:


Three Kings Tattoo, Brooklyn, New York, USA


For More Read:  Creative Bloq

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