From anchor tatts to masterful black and grey portrait, traditional old school Americana, pin-up girls and neo traditional; it’s clear many among us see our bodies as a blank canvas.
With the help of some well-respected and very well-inked people in the business, we’re pointing you in the direction of 11 of the best tattooists on the Gold Coast for when you’re ready to make your next life-long commitment.
Any tatted-up Gold Coaster worth their ink knows the story of Paul Braniff. In 1985, this local pioneer set up the Coast’s first ever tattoo studio, Borderline (near the “border”) in Kirra, and is admired for passing the baton along to his star apprentices, several of which have gone on to open their own studios. Paul moved Borderline from Kirra to Coolangatta and then Burleigh before opening his flagship studio SkinFX in Surfers Paradise. Sadly, the legend passed in 2016, so SkinFX (together with three additional studios) are now in the capable hands of Paul’s sons, Luke and Ben who’ve both been tattooing since the mid 90s. No list of the best tattooists on the Gold Coast would be complete without SkinFX and a nod to the Braniff family.
383 Tattoo Studio
383 Tattoo Studio is a clear fave among the best tattooists on the Gold Coast. Their talented team of artists focus on custom creations rather than flash, and have all the style bases covered. Whether it be Pommie Paul for Japanese or colour portraits, Franck for realism or black and grey portraits, Nixx whose speciality is Chicano or realistic cars (intriguing, right?), or Robin’s colour explosions, you’ll walk away stoked with your new piece of body art.
Loco Tattoo is a much-loved tattoo studio amongst Gold Coast ink addicts. With a team of award- winning artists (we’re looking at you Shaun Bones), that specialise in all kinds of styles, you’re guaranteed to find an artist here that can give you want you want, no matter how wacky or wild your design concept is. From grey-wash realistic portraits to full colour neo-traditional pieces, Loco Tattoo does it all. Check out their Instagram for some serious tat inspo, and you’ll be booking in ASAP.
On graduating some 20 years ago, apprentice Tim Ebbels bought Borderline Tattoo from Paul Braniff and made it his own. Today, this Burleigh Heads institution is home to a handful of rad artists, including Tim himself and his gifted partners in crime Quail, Raul, Dan Tatz, and Jessicat. So you can rest assured that you’re in safe and steady hands when getting buzzed at Burleigh’s Borderline.
Whiskey Lane Tattoo Co.
Hidden away in a non-descript Robina shopping plaza, Whiskey Lane has made a name as the go-to for those seeking traditional ol’ school Americana ink work. Recreating a vintage American-style tattoo parlour, eclectic frames lining the studio walls are filled with hand-painted flash by the in-house artists, so slide on in and take your pick! Whiskey Lane is also well known for their bi-annual “flash days” (on their birthday in November as well as a Sailor Jerry Day) when any pickings off the day’s flash sheet can be inked for just $50.
Good Vibrationz Tatatau
Renowned for its intricate and detailed mehndi work and cultural pieces, Good Vibrationz Tatatau is the first Polynesian owned and operated tattoo studio on the Gold Coast. Whether you’re after a traditional Maori piece or something a little different, like geometric mandala or a freehand ornamental lotus, the talented artists at Good Vibrationz will work with you to create your dream tattoo. They also specialise in coverups, so if you’ve got a tat that needs fixing up, this is the studio for you.
GBH Tattoo Studio
For some truly mind-blowing portraits and oh so intricate black and white pieces cruise into GBH. While walk ins are welcome, if you’re after something special from stand-out ink master Drew Apicture who specialises in black and grey realism and shading, you’ll want to book in. Drew often runs a one-year wait list for appointments, which we reckon can only be a good thing. As you’ve got that ink forever, after a year of patiently waiting and thinking about your decision, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re ready to live with it.
Bony Marony’s Tattoo
This boutique tattoo studio boasts an expert team of award-winning artists that can give you just about any tattoo you can think of. Each of their artists has a unique tattooing style, so whether you’re after a realistic portrait, a colourful cartoon, or some small and minimalistic fine line work, the good folks at Bony Marony’s will hook you up with whatever it is you’re after. All you’ve got to do is sit through it.
This triple threat tattoo parlour/barber/menswear store is championed by an inventive team of artists who splash their creativity on both your skin and their signature in-house label, Blackmarket Collective. Tattooists Z Banger and Nashy Gunz are just two of the resident guns, both specialising in black and grey realism. So, swing into this gent’s one-stop shop for an ink consultation and leave with a slick short back and sides from the barber plus new kicks or custom-printed threads from the clothing apparel corner.
Storm The Gates
These guys claim to be the Gold Coast’s ‘only real local studio’, which seems like a big statement, but once you walk in and feel the relaxed atmosphere for yourself, you can understand where they’re coming from. Each and every tattoo artist that works at Storm The Gates has a real passion for what they do, and it shows through their flawless tattoo work. Everything from large detailed sleeves to small delicate pieces, the talented artists at Storm The Gates can do just about anything. Hit up their Instagram @stormthegatestattoo to see what all the fuss is about.
Alfred Street Tattoo
If you’re looking for something a little quirky or unique, then this is the studio for you. Alfred Street Tattoo boasts a team of talented young artists, each one with their own unique style and method. Their sought-after artists include Alexis Hepburn, whose folksy creations are attracting tattoo fanatics from around the globe. So, whether it’s a fine delicate flower, a full chest piece, or a detailed skull you’re after, Alfred Street Tattoo will make sure you leave the studio with a beautiful and unique tattoo that you can be proud of.
The Coast is bursting with creative locals. Check out our round up of the best GC-based illustrators and artists.
Image Credit: Stocksy