7 Top tattoo artists in l.a. laist

When it comes to getting tattooed, there’s no shortage of artists to choose from in Los Angeles – we’re one of the most tattooed cities in the world. With such an enormous wealth of talent at our disposal, it’s tough trying to figure out the good from the great. We’ve managed to round up seven of the city’s tried-and-true standouts, each one boasting a highly-regarded reputation, faithful clients, and solid turnout of work again and again. Be forewarned though: This list is not for the cheap, nor is it for those on the search for cute matching “BFF” tattoos.

After 11 years at Spotlight Tattoo, Bryan Burk left the famed shop on Melrose to open his own private studio. That concept was soon ditched when Burk found himself opening up his shop, located in the heart of Los Feliz, to the public in 2010.


You can find him at Dark Horse designing and tattooing American Traditional and Japanese works of art on a slew of very happy, very satisfied, and very colorful customers.

As a child, Julie Becker hated her art class. These days, Becker boasts a diverse portfolio (including a former career in modeling) and an interest in a range of styles. Working out of a private studio, she custom designs all of her pieces with the shape and movement of your body in mind. With clean, fluid lines and a love of all things aesthetically pleasing, she’ll bring a feminine sensibility to even the most hardcore of tattoos.

If you ever want to sound like you know what you’re talking about when it comes to tattooing, name drop Eddy. Actually, don’t do that, that’s a douche move. Growing up, all Eddy Deutsche ever wanted to do was tattoo, so much so that he hand poked his first tattoo – on himself – when he was 12 years old. Talk about a badass in the making. He continued to practice on himself and his friends until he was old enough for an apprenticeship. Now, some 25+ years and thousands of tattoos later, he inks by appointment only at a private studio in Los Angeles.

Looking at his artwork, you’d never know Christopher Conn Askew never received any formal art training. His aesthetic is traditional, with a vintage, fantastical, and occasionally dark vibe – not necessarily gothic, but if Edgar Allan Poe were alive today, it’s safe to say he’d get tattooed by Chris Conn. When he retired from tattooing to focus on his painting back in 2006, the tattoo world shed a collective tear. Late last year, Askew announced his (limited) return, much to the delight of anyone in the know. Get in with him before he decides to retire permanently.

If you want a tattoo with any sort of Japanese influence, look no further than Jiro Yaguchi. While skilled in using a tattoo gun, Jiro Yaguchi’s true talents lie in the machine-free "tebori," or hand poke, method, especially when rendering color. He’s also a big fan of adhering to traditional “Irezumi” design rules, in which certain flowers/elements/animals are matched together. The quality and thought put into his work will have your tattoo looking like a watercolor painting, leaving behind vivid, striking hues and a cohesive color story.

Marco Cerretelli has perhaps the most romantic background on this list: he was born and raised in Florence, Italy, where he graduated from the Academy of Art; he studied under the oldest living Italian tattoo artist, Maurizio Fiorini; his first gun was made from a Walkman, a toothbrush, and a pen. That’s a rich back story for an artist in LA, one that he translates into his work. With his penchant for the delicate and the details, being one of Cerretelli’s human canvases is nothing short of an honor.

Broken Art Tattoo is purposely hard to find, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it remodeled basement in a building set back from the street, as to avoid drunken fools coming in for ill-advised tattoos. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon it, you’ll find the owner and the number one artist on this list. Jeremy Swan is surprisingly both humble and kind, and has a personality that puts you at ease whether it’s your first tattoo or your fiftieth. But what really matters is his skill: his style is hyper traditional, with a belief in "clean lines, black shading and solid color, embellished with west coast fine line details." What that means for you is exceptional line work, a design and color layout to compliment your vision and your body, and a piece of permanent art you’ll be proud and excited to show off. He’s also really, really adept at cover-ups; chances are that if he can’t find a way to conceal your Spring Break ’99 tramp stamp, no one can.