Whether it’s anchor tatts and wooden schooners that give instant legitimacy to your pirate beard, a masterful black and grey portrait, traditional old school Americana, Sailor Jerry flash, pin-up girls with perfectly formed lips and
breasts thighs, bright and bold colour, or 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 peeps in the biz, we’re pointing you in the direction of seven of the best tattooists on the Gold Coast for when you’re ready to make your next life-long commitment.
SkinFX | Surfers Paradise
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 (selling Borderline as it’s known today to apprentice Tim Ebbels), before opening his flagship studio SkinFX in Surfers Paradise. Sadly, the legend passed earlier this year, 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.
Where: 21/15 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
383 Tattoo Studio | Broadbeach
Recently merging with Universal and relocating to fresh new digs in Broadbeach, 383 Tattoo Studio is a clear fave among the best tattooists on the Gold Coast. 383’s 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 383’s current guest artist from Italy, Paolo Murtas who’s a genius with both colour and black and grey realism.
Where: 7/2723 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
Borderline Tattoo | Burleigh Heads
On graduating some 14 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 Brooklyn. So you can rest assured that you’re in safe and steady hands when getting buzzed at Burleigh’s Borderline.
Where: 1716 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Whiskey Lane Tattoo Co. | Robina
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.
Where: 361 Robina Parkway, Robina
The Tattoo Shop | Burleigh Heads
The Tattoo Shop in Burleigh Heads is another solid contender among the best tattoo studios on the Gold Coast, largely thanks to stand-out ink master Drew Apicture (aka @da_ink) who specialises in black and grey realism and shading. Drew often runs a one-year wait list for appointments, which we reckon can only be a good thing. As you’ve got dat ink forever, so 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.
Where: 1/1740 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Blackmarket Collective | Robina
This triple threat tattoo parlour cum barber cum menswear store—believed to be the first of its kind in Australia to combine all three—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 Josh Sara and David Nash 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.
Where: Shop 1A, 76 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina
Immortal Ink | Burleigh Heads
We have a soft spot for Immortal Ink ‘cause it’s a thriving female-owned and run parlour in a testosterone-fuelled and male-dominated space. Owned by artist Ebany Angel, who takes advantage of her woman’s touch specialising in fine line work and watercolour (including the prettiest swallows we’ve ever seen—check out her online portfolio). Ladies, if you’re thinking of taking the plunge, Ebany is your gal. Though for those who prefer to be man-handled by dudes (in the nicest possible way) there are a couple of talented fellas on the team too. Fun fact: Immortal’s very own neo traditional artist Giorgia Mae appears on hit TV show, Bondi Ink though on occasion makes guest spot appearances at home to service her dedicated GC client base.
Where: Shop 1/1969 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Do you have a gun tattoo artist who you feel deserves recognition among the best tattooists on the Gold Coast? Tell us in the comments.
Photo Credit: Janneke Storm