A guide to Antwerp’s tattoo scene
No pain, no gain. Tattoos are a painful and permanent form of art. The tattoo scene in Antwerp is big and has expanded like crazy over the years. It seems as if there are tattoo shops around every corner. Are you planning on getting a badass tattoo? Then, definitely keep on reading, because our This is Antwerp local Anella listed some of her favorite and unique Antwerp ink masters, just for you.
Brabo’s Hand was founded ten years ago by tattooists Younes and Tomas: “We are well known for American traditional and old school tattoos. It’s important to us that our tattoos have a strong personal touch.” The enormous backpieces from Brabo’s Hand are an absolute pleasure for the eye. However, Brabo’s Hand is more than ink and needles. These men also have a passion for hair. Brabo’s Hand barber shop is only two minutes away from the tattoo shop. Ain’t nobody got time for bad hair days.
Address: Korte Koepoortstraat 10, Antwerp
Antwerp is full of tattoo talent. That’s for sure. Literally one block further is another awesome tattoo studio. Glorybound excels in so many different styles. From realism to neo-traditional and from old school to blackwork, these tattoos are all true diamonds. Trust us, the pain will be worth it.
Address: Wolstraat 6, Antwerp
Eddy was one of the pioneers in the Antwerp tattoo scene. In 1980, he opened Tattoo Eddy, one of the first tattoo shops in Antwerp. Many years later, tattoo Eddy is still going strong. It’s obvious that the ‘tattoo gene’ runs through the family, because Eddy’s son, Levi, also became a tattoo artist. Levi now is the proud owner of Tattoo Eddy. Father and son turn their passion for tattoos into permanent artworks on their client’s bodies.
Address: Falconplein 15, Antwerp
Strange Love is owned by Alia Kina (Poke Fiction). Alia exclusively tattoos hand poke. Hand poked tattoos bring you back to basics since it’s a non-electric way of tattooing with just a needle and ink. Good news! It’s often said that hand poke hurts less than tattoos who are created by a machine.
Alia grew up in Russia and became intrigued by Russian criminal tattoos. Alia: “When I was 18-years old, I went to Russia to write a thesis about Russian criminal tattoos. I looked up the different meanings behind these tattoos, photographed and filmed criminals and bought all books I could find on the subject. Right now in my own tattoo studio, I draw a lot of inspiration from these types of tattoos. Russian criminal tattoos might look a bit aggressive, so I always add a really personal and feminine touch to it.”
Strange Love is a semi-private studio. You can enter the tattoo studio via Black and Yellow coffee bar where they serve coffee. You could always grab a delicious coffee after a heavy tattoo session.
Address: Nassaustraat 7, Antwerp
Vinnie Stones has a big name in the tattoo community. Vinnie has been tattooing for twenty years already and achieved important things in his tattoo career. He even was a judge on Ink Master, a television show where tattoo artists from all over Belgium and the Netherlands compete for the title of Ink Master. The winner will be the best tattooist of Belgium and the Netherlands.
About seven years ago, he opened his shop in the Kammenstraat in Antwerp. The team exists out of really experienced tattoo artists with an eye for authenticity and quality. At SinSin, you can get whatever tattoo style you want.
Address: Kammenstraat 63, Antwerpen
Heart of Oak is a relatively new tattoo studio, but has already managed to find its way up in Antwerp’s tattoo scene. Gil Guerra opened his studio about one and a half year ago and it has been a success ever since.
Gil’s love for tattooing already started when he was a teenager: “When I was 14-years old, I designed tattoos for my sister’s friends and they would get them tattooed at our local tattoo shop. It even came to the point where the owner of the tattoo shop gave me a little percentage because I created so much tattoo designs.”
Heart of Oak really masters in traditional and blackwork tattoos. It’s clear that Antwerp is the place to be for traditional tattoos.
Address: Aalmoezenierstraat 4, Antwerpen
Eddy Prickstick is an illustrator who also hand pokes tattoos. Eddy is known for his ‘ignorant’ tattoo style. When you hear the term ‘ignorant tattoo’, you probably won’t think about it in a positive way. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Ignorant tattoos are cartoon-like and often humorous . Eddy proofs that less is more with his simplistic, yet very strong tattoos.
Dennis Tyfus is an artist, musician and radio maker from Antwerp. Have you ever been told that you should think out of the box? Well, that’s exactly what Dennis Tyfus is all about. He is quite a different breed when it comes to tattooing. In 2014, Dennis started doing ‘No Choice Tattoos’. As a client, the only thing that you can decide is the placement and the size of the tattoo. Dennis will improvise the tattoo in the heat of the moment. Will it be a tiger? Or will it be a girl? You’ll never know!
Text and pics by Anella Sepp