Tattooing is an intimate process involving trust, which is why many in the LGBTQ community choose to connect with artists who specialize in working with queer persons. As queer individuals, some of us have experienced cultural and interpersonal trauma; trauma which is often stored throughout our bodies, or which may revolve around our bodies, making the process of being tattooed feel extra vulnerable and complicated at times.
Thankfully, queer-friendly spaces within tattooing have been on the rise, thanks to the tight-knit community of LGBTQ+ artists focusing on a culture of consent, body-positivity, and concepts like radical tenderness.
While tattooing’s ancient roots are steeped in the heritage of black and brown indigenous cultures, the western landscape of tattooing has remained predominantly white, male, cisgender, and hetero; historically leaving little space for gender non-conforming artists and clients, as well as persons of color, women, and members of the gay, lesbian and trans community. Thankfully, through the powerful network of support fostered by queer tattooers, and the necessary creation of LGBTQ-owned spaces, many artists and clients who may have otherwise avoided tattooing can now approach shops feeling comfortable and understood.
While there are a great number of non-queer tattoo shops working to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity, many queer individuals have experienced discomfort when immersed in the hyper-masculine, and at times, aggressive culture of certain street shops. These uncomfortable experiences have encouraged LGBTQ studios to focus on atmospheres that feel non-threatening and calm, with artists emphasizing consent and bodily respect, as well as personal warmth.
For some, the shared sense of queerness alone can transform what once felt like a daunting process into a cozy and safe experience to remember. So, if you’re considering an LGBTQ-themed tattoo or searching for a talented queer artist near you, come explore with us as we reveal our top picks for the best LGBTQ tattooers around the world!
Top LGBTQ+ Tattoo Artists in the US
Galen Bryce: Brooklyn, NY
Working out of Williamsburg’s Drip Skull Studios , Galen Bryce has created a palpable buzz as one of New York’s most talented queer tattoo artists. Specializing in tattoos that showcase kink pride, celebrate sexual identities, and endorse body positivity, Galen’s work has long resonated with LGBTQ+ persons interested in their signature style. Combining elements of manga, dark art, and erotica, Galen’s masterful tattoos push gender norms to the side to reveal a queer-positive world dripping with sex appeal and rich with pride.
Read More - ORIGINS: Galen Bryce’s Illustrative Magic
Rio Juniper Wolf: Denver, CO
Rio Juniper Wolf creates warm and whimsical Traditional tattoos equipped with Surrealist accents and brimming with a notion of youthful vibrancy. When they’re not creating Riot GRRL knuckle pieces, flaming church portraits, or adorable fairy-bunny mashups, Rio focuses their attention on activism, working to raise money for trans-positive organizations like Shadow Support Network. Welcoming all skin tones, body types, and gender identities, Rio Juniper Wolf prides themselves on cultivating a tattooing space that feels inclusive, conscious, and safe.
Rick Schenk: Dallas, TX
Black and Grey leather daddies, beefcake’s in bondage, and jaw-dropping Tom of Finland recreations fill the enticing world of queer tattoo artist, Rick Schenk. Tattooing since 2013, Rick enjoys creating all-black pieces spanning the styles of Chicano, Black and Grey Realism, and Fineline. Comfortable working with diverse skin tones and bodies, Rick’s elegant work complements the wearer through impeccable attention to detail and exquisite placement.
Tine DeFiore: New Orleans, LA
When it comes to Black and Grey botanical tattoos, you’d be hard-pressed to find an artist as talented as New Orleans queer tattooer, Tine DeFiore. Focusing on emotive and singular motifs like thorns, palm leaves, and cut-off braids, Tine crafts an elegant world rife with sentiments of sorrow, beauty, evolution, and healing. Working out of a new studio owned alongside partner and tattoo artist Jamie Draven, Tine fosters a welcoming space where people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community can embrace tattooing comfortably.
Top LGBTQ+ Tattoo Artists in Canada
RAT666TAT: Toronto, ON
Renowned queer tattoo artist and owner of Toronto’s Outcast Club Tattoo Shop, Lee (also known by the IG handle, RAT666TAT), is a non-binary tattooer devoted to cultivating safe spaces for POC and the LGBTQ+ community. Known for their broken chain link fence motifs, ethereal Blackwork cherubs, and colorful single-needle creations, Lee is a high-demand tattoo artist for many queer collectors in the Toronto area.
Geri Kramer: Victoria, BC
Geri Kramer’s quirky Traditional tattoos, Blackwork botanical designs, and Surrealist mushroom ladies create a carefree and magical world all their own. Tattooing since 1997, Geri has become a beacon of inspiration within the Trans community, candidly documenting her journey on Instagram, while sharing her thoughts and advice with followers. If you live near Victoria and you’re searching for a talented trans-friendly artist, Geri Kramer is a solid selection.
Ciara Havishya: Calgary, AB
If decorative Blackwork, ancient Indian art, and Ornamental tattoos intrigue you, Calgary’s Ciara Havishya is a queer tattooer you’ll be certain to love. Whether they are composing traditional Trajva tattoos, Fineline floral chest pieces, or charming tiger portraits, Ciara brings an unparalleled level of respect, care, and authenticity to each design.
Charline Bataille: Montreal, QC
Self-described as an oversharing, queer, non-binary artist from Montreal, Charline Bataille’s colorful Surrealist tattoos have made a splash in the LGBTQ+ community. Designs celebrating female empowerment, radical self-acceptance, and whimsical sexuality are the hallmarks of Charline’s body of work. Aiming to annihilate gender norms, support sex workers, and normalize self-love, Charline’s colorful tattoos wear like powerful emblems of solidarity and self-acceptance.
Mr. Lauder: Vancouver, BC
Working in a contemporary and Illustrative style, queer and non-binary tattooer Mr. Lauder crafts refined yet edgy designs depicting male erotica, gay icons, and personal symbols of strength. Looking for an LGBTQ-themed tattoo but not sure what you want? Mr. Lauder offers a wide array of customizable flash centered on homoeroticism, drag culture, and female heroes. For persons of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community in Vancouver, Mr. Lauder offers a safe and inviting space for self-expression and permanent art.
Top LGBTQ+ Tattoo Artists in Europe
Mab Matiere Noire: Brussels, BD
Known for her emotive and hypnotic linework designs, self-taught queer tattoo artist Mab Matiere Noire is changing the landscape of modern tattooing through her bold single needle designs. Rich with elements reminiscent of traditional Asian art and expressionism, Mab creates queer-positive tattoos intended to wear like works of fine art. Dedicated to creating a space of radical tenderness, Mab believes that trust and comfortability are paramount to the queer tattooing experience.
Sara Rosa Corazon: Barcelona, ES
Queer tattoo artist Sara Rosa Corazon is well-known for her smooth Black and Grey tattoos filled with scorpions, chains, Surrealist eyes, and spider webs. For fans of Chicano-style lady heads, butterfly motifs, and barbed wire, you’re in luck as Sara works masterfully with these motifs and more. Interested in a full-color tattoo? Explore Sara’s Illustrative botanical and apothecary pieces, featuring art nouveau accents and nostalgic muted tones.
Ant the Elder: London, GB
If tattoo magick and skin rituals sound enticing to you, Ant the Elder’s esoteric Blackwork tattoos will be certain to capture your heart. Medieval etching style creatures, powerful sigils, and Illustrative botanical pieces are all focal points of Ant’s captivating style. For queer persons in the London area, non-binary tattoo artist Ant provides a safe and inclusive space for lovers of medieval occult tattoos, architectural renaissance pieces, and engraving style deities.
Katie Mcpayne: Paris, FR
Colorful linework designs, innocent and bright illustrations, and motifs speaking to growth and healing are all hallmarks of Katie Mcpayne’s warm signature style. As a black, queer, and non-binary tattooer, Katie is sensitive to the unique needs of these intersecting communities, providing tattoos with a transformational quality, while embracing diversity and fostering an environment of acceptance.
Uve Rivera: Barcelona, ES
Tattooing in both Barcelona and London, celebrated queer tattoo artist Uve Rivera serves high-impact Blackwork, sexy Illustrative designs, and emotive Fineline renderings. Turned on by BDSM, shibari, or erotica? Uve’s elegant and enticing tattoos ooze with sensuality and kink, creating exquisite queer-positive pieces.
Read More - Bold and Blood: Interview with Tattoo Artist Uve
Top LGBTQ Tattoo Artists in Australia
Zero Scar: Melbourne, Victoria
Trans-positive quotes, buff, and sexy leather daddies, and charming Traditional style tattoos are all components of Zero Scar’s upbeat and romantic work. Interested in Old School wildlife tattoos? Zero is also revered for their bright and bold exotic birds, Blackwork insects, and Neo-traditional lizard portraits.
We hope that you enjoyed this list of our top LGBTQIA+ artist picks and that this article helps you on your tattoo journey!
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