The Raddest Tattoos From Around The World

Photo: Via @beanieseagull/Instagram.
Tattoos are one of the unique beauty categories that marries artistry, cultural significance, technique, and sentimental meaning. So, naturally, there’s a lot more to body ink than the coolest new looks to hit Instagram or the red carpet. However, that doesn't mean the industry is free of trends — far from it. And these trends are different in every part of the world.

We sought to discover what designs people are etching on their bodies — from Toronto to Thailand. Click ahead to see work from some of the world’s most regarded artists — and the ink they've been offering up this past year. But beware: If you didn't want to get a tattoo before, you'll definitely be convinced this time. (And maybe you’ll even get a vacation out of it.)
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Photo: Via @Evantattoo/Instagram.
New York City

The Artist To Follow: Donghwan "Evan" Kim

The Trend To Know: Smooth, delicate details and thin line work

West 4 Tattoo is a go-to for celebs and in-the-know locals alike. As far as en vogue styles and patterns go, it's the expert artists here, like Kim, who know what's up. But set aside celeb-inspired ink for now, because Kim tells us that most requests skew personal in this shop. He says that when clients come to West 4, they're looking for something special and specific. Shop vibes vary, and so does the kind of tattoo you'll get there, based on each artist — but there are some universals.
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Photo: Via @Evantattoo/Instagram.
West 4 Tattoo has made a name for itself thanks to the simple designs, including smooth, delicate details fitted with perfect lines.
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Photo: Via @Evantattoo/Instagram.
"Our shop has become known for minimalism, so people come looking for certain artists [who are experts in the style]," Kim explains. (Like Kim or JonBoy.) It doesn't matter what the art itself is — the client will most likely come in with a request for a minimal approach, whether it's a floral piece or lettering.
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Photo: Via @curtmontgomerytattoos/Instagram.
Toronto, Canada

The Artist To Follow: Curt Montgomery

The Trend To Know: The basic bones of a shape done in a heavy outline

When it comes to tattoo inspiration in Toronto, it's less about intricacy and more about the simple, basic bones of the design taking center stage. We're not surprised Montgomery prefers a minimalistic style — it's the main technique shown on his social media, the marketing tool he uses to get most of his new clients, he says.
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Photo: Via @curtmontgomerytattoos/Instagram.
Montgomery has perfected his heavy, black-line look over the past two years. "I realized I liked leaving out the black [shading] more," he says. If you're a fan of popular artists in London, the technique might look familiar: "When I started following Madame Buraka and Emily Johnson, I began working with a lot of trial-and-error on the line work."

For Montgomery's clients, aesthetics trumps sentiment, too. "I did a coffee cup on somebody, then it became a thing," he explains, adding a few more trendy looks: "The girls licking the popsicles, hand folding flowers." These "less abrasive" pieces are appealing, Montgomery says, because they take up a small area of the body and it's less of an investment, compared to other styles that take more time and surface area to complete. Read: They're more affordable and faster.
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Photo: Via @curtmontgomerytattoos/Instagram.
Thigh tats are hot right now — even singer Halsey got this recent tattoo from Montgomery. "Lately it's been the upper thigh, ribs, or back of the arm. It really depends on what the piece is," he tells us.
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Photo: Via @nathalybonilla/Instagram.
Chicago, Illinois

The Artist To Follow: Nathaly Bonilla

The Trend To Know: Geometric shapes, precise lines, and dot work

Fly on over to Chicago and visit Nathaly Bonilla for some sentimental designs. Unlike what you might be seeing elsewhere, these tattoos almost always come with meaningful intentions. "I define my work [as] 'tattoos made with feeling,'" she explains. The illustrations are of seemingly simple things, like flowers, animals, and anything nature-related. Who knew Chicago was so soft?
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Photo: Via @nathalybonilla/Instagram.
When it comes to line work, people know what they want. "Geometric tattoos, precise lines, and dot work," which she defines as "lineal, clean work," are the hottest requests.
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Photo: Via @nathalybonilla/Instagram.
Tiny, minimalist tattoos are universally popular, but that doesn't mean they're less sentimental than their more intricate counterparts. Most of her clients are looking for something minimal that holds major meaning, she says. Bonilla adds that although they have a backstory, a lot are still seen as aesthetic pieces. "Tattoos are closer to art now more than ever," Bonilla says.
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Photo: Via @beanieseagull/Instagram.
Los Angeles

The Artist To Follow: Sean Arnold

The Trend To Know: Organic, nature-inspired shapes and "naked-line styles"

There's nothing veteran L.A.-based artist Sean Arnold hasn't seen. The latest in SoCal tattoo trends? It's all about nature. Similar to artists in Chi-town, Arnold feels his appointments are getting in touch with their "spiritual roots," asking for arrows, natural designs, and ancient symbols.

According to Arnold, this trend is heavily contrasted by something a bit harsher. "There's a tougher industrial wave coming through. Chains and barbed wires seem to be a common theme," he says. And it's not just for aesthetic purposes. "[The trend] lends itself to the dark oppressiveness of living in society, or even in urban environments... The two styles are split between nature and the manmade world."
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Photo: Via @beanieseagull/Instagram.
What's more, there seems to be a major common thread between these cities: "Naked-line styles" and "playing with minimalism" are still huge in L.A., he says.

The artwork is much more "graceful and airy" than it was years ago, says Arnold. And compared to tats that are considered traditionally popular in America — those with a saturated color palette or realistic details — the appeal may be chocked up to how graceful the artwork is. "[This style] gives the tattoo more space to breathe," he says. "I think the client is looking to get something not so heavy and a little more towards the delicate side of the spectrum."
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Photo: Via @beanieseagull/Instagram.
Arnold says that no matter what the design is, or the trend it falls into, there's always a deeper meaning behind the intention. But what about the pure desire for a great piece of body art? He says it's still a transformation you're undergoing, so you're now a piece of the art itself. Talk about deep.
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Photo: Via @dustyduza/Instagram.
Paris, France

The Artist To Follow: Dusty Brasseur

The Trend To Know: Dot work and watercolor-meets-fine-line work

In the city we typically look to for effortless style, easy-breezy lifestyle tips, and low-maintenance everything, the inked trends include plenty of unexpected color. These designs, illustrated by Brasseur, replicate the classic watercolor style blended with fine-line work. Not shockingly, it seems as though the Parisians are setting another trend to look out for, intertwining popular minimalism with playful color.
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Photo: Via @dustyduza/Instagram.
Don't expect to head to Paris and see inspiring quotes all over peoples' bodies. Brasseur's clients are looking for animals, like birds and wolves, or infinity signs.
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Photo: Via @dustyduza/Instagram.
Brasseur says that as far as frequent requests go, there isn't a real evident pattern. "Times change and ideas of tattoos [do, too]," she says.
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Photo: Via @rebecca_vincent_tattoo/Instagram.
London

The Artist To Follow: Rebecca Vincent

The Trend To Know: Heavy blackwork in organic designs

For Vincent's clients, dainty, fine lines are not on the brain — it's all about heavy blackwork. This technique isn't timely by any means, but Vincent finds that surface covered in bold, black ink works well for her clientele. She adds that trends come and go, but there's constant influence between artists, so the next big trend is anyone's guess.

As far as what Londoners crave, she says there's no real unity. "London is so big, with so many different people, and the quality of tattoo artists is very high, so there are many styles here." Pinning down one popular trend is nearly impossible, she explains.
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Photo: Via @rebecca_vincent_tattoo/Instagram.
As you scroll through this Londoner's Instagram, you'll be met with vines, flowers, and bouquets of every arrangement imaginable. Vincent says this is a favorite of hers and her clients. "I've been doing flowers for about two years now. I don't think the demand for them will ever go [away]."
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Photo: Via @rebecca_vincent_tattoo/Instagram.
"I adore tattooing beautiful flowers on bare arms," she says. "It looks so pretty, and 90% of the time people are getting them for decoration."
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Photo: Via @pokeeeeeeeoh/Instagram.
Malmö, Sweden

The Artist To Follow: Pokeeeeeeeoh

The Trend To Know: Feminist messages done in thin lines and dot work

The Swedes are not searching for thick lines, but you can bet they're looking for bold statements. "The feminist movement in Sweden is really gaining momentum at the moment, so a large chunk of the tattoos I do relate to gender equality in some way," the artist behind the Instagram account Pokeeeeeeeoh tells us. (They prefer to remain semi-anonymous outside the shop.)

These inked moments don't necessarily have to be big sentiments. Pokeeeeeeeoh explains that a lot of people ask for something more subtle that still insinuates a feminist statement.
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Photo: Via @pokeeeeeeeoh/Instagram.
Shading is passé in this Sweden shop. And when it comes to the highly demanded style? The finest lines and lack of color are it.
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Photo: Via @pokeeeeeeeoh/Instagram.
Most of Pokeeeeeeeoh's clients just want something that looks nice: "Tattoos are either aesthetic and decorative or they have some social commentary, rather than emotional meaning."
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Photo: Via @ajannookanpai.eng/Instagram.
Pathum Thani, Thailand

The Artist To Follow: Ajarn Noo Kanpai

The Trend To Know: Intricate and deeply sentimental in the classic Thai technique

The practice of Thai tattoos, known as "sak yant,” is deeply meaningful and rooted in ancient history. Sak means tattoo and yant means sacred scripture, and they’re often created by Buddhist monks.

"For hundreds of years, Thai and Khmer warriors were renowned and feared for the magical marking tattoos. Today, sak yants are deeply believed by Thai people as a form of protection and blessing," Kanpai's team tells us. So it's not just about aesthetic here — the ink runs far deeper than what's on-trend.
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Photo: Venturelli/Getty Images.
You've most likely seen Ajarn Noo Kanpai's work before (see: Cara Delevingne and Angelina Jolie's tats). For Thai people, these tattoos are believed to bring "luck, success, blessings, protection, love, and more," the team tells us.

For Westerners, it can be along the same lines, even if cultural traditions vary. "It can range from people seeking spirituality and enlightenment, tattoo lovers seeking the traditional artwork of the world's best sak yant master, and even adventure travelers looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience," the team says. Whatever your reason, it’s important to respect the practice and give credit where credit is due.
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Photo: Via @ajannookanpai.eng/Instagram.
"Traditionally, they're created with a sacred stick, or piece of bamboo, with a thin needle attached. [It] is dipped in holy ink and carefully poked into the disciple's skin by the Master's hands," they explain. Those with low pain tolerances, beware.

The end results are incredibly intricate and beautiful — but the process is a bit of a bumpy road. Read: Hundreds of thousands of precise pokes penetrate the skin with ink by the artist. During the process, Kanpai will chant mantras, or prayers, to bless the person, which is believed to enhance every blessing engrained within the tattoo.

Once the design is complete, the process isn't over. Another prayer ritual will be performed to solidify the protection of the blessing.
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Photo: Via @theboldfox/Instagram.
Singapore

The Artist To Follow: Julian Chia

The Trend To Know: It's not a "trend," but clients still visit the country for the ancient practice of sak yant.

People flock to Singapore for neo-traditional tattoos that combine black lines with bright spectrums of color, and even 3-D elements. Chia tells us that he mixes a modern aesthetic and shading techniques with traditional designs.

There's plenty of color, but minimalism has migrated to his shop, too — albeit, it's not as simple as, say, in Sweden or New York.
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Photo: Via @theboldfox/Instagram.
The combination of shading and color gives this look a unique finish that many clients request.
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Photo: Via @theboldfox/Instagram.
Locals go for what the artists do best: large designs with enough color to add something a minimalist piece may not.
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