top of page


A new age of tattoos is underway and it's changing the way in which we understand the individualism that has been apparent in the culture for so long. Putting permanent art on your body has always been a give and take. You traded the personalization of the artistic style for the exemplification of meaning. A client often conformed the symbolic representation of an idea to fit into a pre-existing tattoo style. However, we have entered a time in which we are seeing the scales of personalization teeter, indicating the momentum is now leaning to unique art instead of unique sentiment.

Sources: Tattoo Stylist, Authority Tattoo, Allure

For the longest time tattoos could easily be categorized into distinct styles much like how you could categorize traditional art movements. Clients often went to a shop that specialized in replicating the style they wanted most, with experts in styles like traditional style, realism, and fine-line style finding success in their adaptability to client requests for decades. When a client looked for an artist, they studied the technique of the artist, not the creativity. It was the goal of an artist to be able to replicate a photo or stylize concept in a commonly accepted format. It seemed as if tattoo art was nothing more than a contest to become the best at imitation, and straying away from the imitation of the styles was a fatal mistake.

Now what we are seeing is a new movement away from the established styles, and towards unique artists. This new movement allows the individual to become an art collector, covering their body like a gallery wall of all their favorite artists. Instead of opting for the tried-and-true styles, people are seeking artists who remain true to their own distinct style. Bodies have moved from a place to display sentimentality to become a place to display your artistic preferences.

Source: PrettySkinStickers, Eden Kalif, Babooshka

This is where we find this movement growing, and the shift to people that seek art that stands out from the styles we have seen time and time again. Embodying this movement, we find artists like Caleb Blansett, Eden Kalif, and Babooshka.

Caleb Blansett plays with the body in a masterful way, turning it into his canvas. Blansett combines his signature bold flowers with delicate art and words, making bodies resemble a scribbled in notebook. His style is uniquely his own, but one could point to elements of neo-expressionism in his work. In an era where it seems like every small gallery in New York contains someone knocking off Basquiat, it makes sense to why people are drawn to Blansett's work. You could hardly point to any influence from typical tattoo styles, and his art stand out as a centerpiece on one's skin gallery.

Source: PrettySkinStickers

Eden Kalif is a unique artist showing us stylized characters, reminiscent of ignorant style tattoos, but with enough flair that it is uniquely his own. His art plays with form in a free-flowing way, making sense out of purposefully wobbly lines in the same way Frédéric Bruly Bouabré does. Some works feel as if they're shaky versions of Keith Haring's bold pop art style. Others stray away from the bold lines, depicting similar characters in a more fine-line style.

Kalif hardly ever uses shading, and instead opts for allowing the negative space to do as much as the heavy lifting as the lines. There is a childlike simplicity to the art that draws people in a similar way that Blansett's pieces do. Collectors wear Kalif's work in many ways, his art can be small accent pieces or take up large real estate on the skin becoming main attractions in one's tattoo aggregation.

Source: Eden Kalif

In another realm of individualistic art, we find Babooshka creating unique nasty little creatures that take residence on your body. These creatures feel like mature versions of characters you might meet in a Maurice Sendak book, blending together surrealist shapes with an American cartoonist style. An expert at creating simultaneously off-putting but captivating creatures, a piece from Babooshka is sure to stand out on your skin. Babooshka shows us it is possible to find huge success in the tattoo world by sticking to your own style, and that people will continue to seek out uniqueness.

Source: Babooshka

What we learn by looking at artists such as these three, is that people are drawn to what they have not seen before. Individualism has taken many shapes in tattoo culture. Once used to define someone's sub-cultural identity, tattoos have since evolved to become a regular expression of the self. What we recognize in these changing habits is that people want new ways to express themselves. People do not want a tattoo that just shows they love their family; they want a piece representative of that feeling that also captures their aesthetic singularity.

This admiration of the artistic style of a tattoo artist has begun to trump choosing a preexisting style and conforming your idea to it. It is a shift not only in tattoos, but in art appreciation as a whole. In the past you bought a piece from an artist to hang on the wall in your foyer, today you choose to wear an artist on your skin. The modern-day art collector no longer fills their home with rare, exclusive pieces, they instead decorate their body, simultaneously making the skin a canvas and a gallery to display their favorite artists.

Join the Club

Join our email list and get access to specials deals exclusive to our subscribers.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page