15 Highest Tattoo Artists | 2021

highest paid tattoo artist in the world
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Tattooing is one of the oldest art forms known. It involves creating permanent or temporary words, symbols, or images on the skin. The art is performed by piercing the skin with a small needle, through which, ink is injected into the skin.

Therefore, this article contains the highest-paid tattoo artists.

Is tattooing a good career?

Taking up a field that is not preferred by many, takes a lot of courage and dedication.

However, if you enjoy drawing on people’s skin especially and are good at it, pursuing a career in tattooing would be a good one for you. You must ensure you are skilled at this before making up your mind to pursue this.

With dedication and the necessary skills, you can become one of the highest-paid tattoo artists in the world. 

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Do tattoo artists get paid well?

Tattoo artists have made a name for themselves by charging incredibly high prices for their work.

Granted, tattoo artists price their services based on many things, including their popularity, years of experience, or the complexity or the uniqueness of their tattoo designs.

How much do tattoo artists make?

Tattoo artists make a reasonable amount of money because they do everything ranging from infinity symbols on fingers to stunning full-body designs.

The amount of money you would earn depends on your skill and expertise.

The highest-paid tattoo artists earn up to $500 per hour and in a year, could be counting in millions. 

How to become a tattoo artist? 

Learn How to Draw- This is the first and one of the most important steps to take while pursuing a career as a tattoo artist.

The key to a great tattoo begins with your visually appealing drawing skills and illustration techniques.

1. Get an Art Education-

If you’re serious about a career in tattooing, it’s important to seek out opportunities to become a well-rounded artist.

It’s important to be realistic about your financial situation and to assess your skills as an artist so you can make a decision about whether to pursue a traditional art degree, training at a master tattoo institute, classes at a community college, or the self-taught route.

The bottom line is, the more time you spend developing your skills, the better artist you will be.

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2. Establish Basic Design-

While considered by many to be a less traditional art form, tattooing still encompasses all the basic tools of design.

It’s important that you have a robust knowledge of how different design elements work together and how they impact each other, regardless of whether you choose to obtain an education or go the self-taught route.

3. Build a Portfolio-

An art portfolio is by far one of the most important tools in a tattoo artist’s belt. It allows prospective mentors to quickly look at your best work, so they can decide if your particular art style is what they’re looking for in an apprentice.

How you put your portfolio together impacts the impression it has on your potential mentors, so make sure it looks really good

4. Work with an Established Tattoo Artist-

By working with an experienced tattoo artist, you get hands-on experience on most things you would need on your journey to starting your own career.

5. Get Licensed-

You’ve made it! You’re educated, skilled, and experienced, and you’re ready to start tattooing on your own.

6. Buy Your Own Tattoo Equipment-

Each tattoo artist tends to have equipment preferences. Perhaps you like a particular style of tattoo gun, or you need to use nitrile gloves instead of latex due to an allergy.

Usually, tattoo shops require an artist to furnish their own supplies, so you’ll want to invest a few basics to start out with, growing your collection as you gain more experience.

Start your own career- At this point, you must have already drafted a plan as to how you should go from here. Don’t hesitate to be different.

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Who are the 15 highest paid tattoo artists in the world?

These are the highest paid tattoo artists in the world.

  • Ed Hardy
  • Scott Campbell.
  • Ami James.
  • Anil Gupta.
  • Bang Bang.
  • Paul Booth
  • Kat Von D.
  • Jonathan Valena (JonBoy)
  • Brandon Bond.
  • Keith Underwood.
  • Nikko Hurtado
  • Dave Tedder
  • Bob Tyrrell.
  • Mike Rubendall.
  • Oliver Peck

1. Ed Hardy- –

Not only is Ed Hardy the highest paid tattoo artist in the world, but he is also the most loaded with an estimated net worth of $250 million.

The artist is aged 70 years today, and although he has retired from tattooing, an hour with him costs around $2,500 if you can convince him to work on your skin.

He still owns a tattoo parlor in San Francisco called Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City.

Ed took his work very seriously and even attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking.

2. Scott Campbell-

Scott Campbell, one of the most amazing and highest paid tattoo artists the world knows charges $2000 for an hour, and an additional $200 for any hour on top of it.

Though he should be best known for his absolutely breathtaking art, Scott Campbell is largely known for his exorbitant fees. 

3. Ami James-

For each tattoo session with Ami James, you will be charged $500 per hour. Ami James is the face of tattoo reality TV shows, Miami Ink and NY Ink.

He co-owns the tattoo parlors which are the sets of the shows themselves, Love Hate Tattoos (Miami), and Wooster Street Social Club (New York).

He is one of the highest paid tattoo artists in the world.

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4. Anil Gupta-

For a tattoo session with Anil, you will be charged $450 per hour. Anil Gupta is known for his realistic portraits.

He has also done a lot of tribal-inspired tattoos. He once tattooed Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings. The result was amazing. His skill in patterns and designs is over the moon.

His tattoo studio Inkline Studio is in Manhattan, New York.

Anil’s work is as good as his price and that’s why he is one of the highest paid tattoo artist in the world.

5. Bang Bang-

Bang Bang’s real name is Keith McCurdy. He owns and operates his own tattoo shop, Bang Bang.

He charges $400 per hour of his time as he is one of the highest paid tattoo artists in the world. His name started to skyrocket as he worked on several big names in the movie, music, and sports industry.

As it is mentioned on his official website, Bang Bang has tattooed Rihanna in the tropics, Lebron James in his basement, Cara Delevingne on a roof, Katy Perry in Stockholm’s Abba Museum, and Justin Bieber.

6. Paul Booth-

Paul Booth, one of the highest paid tattoo artists began his tattooing journey very early in his life. He even did his tattoos. He particularly likes dark and horrifying artworks.

Paul is credited with advancing a style that looks extremely textured, something he achieves through experimentation and the use of a multi-layered tattooing style.

He charges $310 for an hour.

7. Kat Von D-

Kat Von D is popular not just among tattoo enthusiasts, but also to the whole entertainment industry.

She is not just a tattoo artist. She also stars her own TV show, recorded some songs, poses for some fashion, wrote some books, and runs her own cosmetic business.

For one hour of tattoo session with Kat Von D, you will be charged at least $200. This price varies depending on what kind of tattoo you have in mind.

She is one of the very enthusiastic and highest paid tattoo artists. 

8. Jonathan Valena (JonBoy)-

Jonathan was previously a youth minister at Hillsong. He is popular for being the artist behind the tattoos on Justin Bieber’s face.

JonBoy has also worked with celebrities like Hailey, Kendall Jenner, Travis Scott, and Zayn Malik. He charges $300 per hour.

9. Brandon Bond-

Brandon charges $210 for every hour from his clients. He has worked hard and dedicated himself to become one of the most successful tattoo artists in the world.

His shops in Atlanta ‘All or Nothing Tattoo’ and ‘Anti Art Elite’ have gained much popularity in the country. Apart from his shops he also holds a company that from where you can get tattoo-related products.

From books to movies, clothes to arts you name them and Bond has them. One may get anything required to get educated about the tattoo art from Bond’s company.

With a minimum charge of $200, Bond works fast and gives the result in about two hours, making him get $400 in every session.

He is ranked #9 in the list of highest-paid tattoo artists.

10. Keith Underwood-

Keith is known for his American street shop styles which is the golden era of American tattoo artwork.  To get one of this tattoos inked on your skin by Keith, you should go with at least $200 in your pocket.

He is one of the highest paid tattoo artists. Keith Underwood (right) learned this artwork from the late Mike Malone (left) which was a legend and one of the world’s best.

11. Nikko Hurtado-

Nikko Hurtado shares the same specialty in tattoo artwork with Bob Tyrrell. They are both into portraiture.

While Bob specializes in black and gray artwork, Nikko chooses the colored one. Nikko has his own tattoo show, the Black Anchor Collective in California. He charges $150 per hour.

12. Dave Tedder- –

Dave worked as a piercer in South Carolina before turning into a tattoo artist.

First, he traveled to Florida, where he learned more about professional tattooing, and his career took off from there. He charges $150 for an hour.

13. Bob Tyrrell-

Bob Tyrrell has his awesome work tattooing the body is well known all over the world. Owing to his popularity he gets $150 per hour, the rate he has fixed. His tattoos are full of works of art that look realistic and amuse people.

They look just like an animated objects. The clarity he gave in his black and gray portrays are worth pondering upon.

Being in the business of tattooing since the age of 34, undoubtedly he has a lot of things in store.

14. Mike Rubendall-

Mike Rubendall has set his fee as $130 per hour. Mike’s favorites tattoos are of Japanese origin and he favors making them the most which are inspired by the cultures of East.

This is the reason why he can be seen doing a lot of koi fish. Even cherry blossoms are also in his tattoos. He prefers making horror and neo-traditional tattoos. 

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15. Oliver Peck-

Oliver Peck was first tattooed when he was only 19 years of age. He is known for his old-school-style tattoos.

While we are surrounded by many shadow-depth tattoos with amazing details, Oliver stays with his true style: simple and bold colorful graphic.

To get one of these old-school tattoos, you have to book Oliver at the Elm Street Tattoo, Dallas, Texas. This shop is owned and operated by many tattooists.

For a one-hour session with Oliver, you will be charged $100.

FAQs on the highest paid tattoo artist

Do I need an education to pursue a career in tattooing?

No formal education is required to be a tattoo artist. 

What should I consider when pursuing a career as a tattoo artist?

 It’s essential that you focus on improving your drawing skills and illustration techniques before you even think about designing tattoos or attempting to practice tattooing.

How do I know I am ready to become a tattoo artist?

When you have taken all the necessary steps and gotten the skills needed, you are ready to become a tattoo artist.

How do I become one of the highest-paid tattoo artists?

By being a professional and doing what everyone else is doing, differently.

Can a female be a tattoo artist?

Absolutely. Art is not gender-selective.

Conclusion

Good tattoos are not cheap. While it’s not universally true that a cheap tattoo is not good, it’s a safe bet that an artist who doesn’t charge much isn’t giving much value.

Building a reputation as an artist takes years, and building both the general artistic skill and the specific tattoo skill takes even longer. 

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