'Till Death Do You Part

'Till Death Do You Part

Birmingham's tattoo scene, an intro

Choose, choose, choose. We know we say it a lot, but we do mean it. And in terms of industries in Brum making the decisions particularly tough right now, tattooing is right up there. Though paying for the pleasure of getting voluntarily and repeatedly stabbed by a stranger isn't for everyone, if you've always thought about getting a tattoo but didn't know where to start, or are just curious, we've been making nice with the studios leading the ink art charge in Brum right now. Apologies to your bank balance in advance.

When you utter the words “Birmingham” and “tattoo” in the same sentence, humans in the know think of world-renowned Modern Body Art — and they'd be right to. Now in its twentieth year, the Corporation Street cooperative is owned and managed by tattoo artists, meaning it’s crammed with passion and an unwavering dedication to bringing the best possible design work to every piece of body art the team creates. As the first custom only studio in the city, and a spot that attracts guest artists from around the globe, you're probably wasting the huge talent under this roof it it's A.N. Other oriental symbol you're looking for. Though they'd do an acesome job at that, all the experience and an astonishing range of styles is what Modern Body Art is about.

Also up there on the best-of-the-best podium is House of Thieves, which opened in 2015, nestled quietly in the Custard Factory's courtyard but buzzing with some seriously loud work. Run by a husband and wife team and made up of four distinct artists, if you want something truly intense and unreplicable, Robert Ashby’s freaky and beautiful style of black tattooing screams originality and is where we're directing you. With Robert's 30,000+ followers on the 'gram this isn't exactly breaking news, but which ever artist you opt for (we see you Holly AshbyEllie Williams and Elle Donlon), this handsome Digbeth den is taking blackwork, traditional and Japanese imagery to a new, experimental level.

While we're talking about studios at the vibrant, vanguard of the Brum scene, Lucky Rabbit Tattoo Cult is a proper player. You can barely turn a corner in the JQ without hearing a tattoo machine doing its thing, but if there's one place to pay particular attention to, it's this new(ish) kid on the block. Opening two years ago, the twelve artist studio is known for nurturing young talent and artists at the start of their careers. The Spencer Street spot is all for embracing the craziest of subject matters by the horns — no reference, quote or character will be obscure enough for these guys. Unlike London, Bristol and Leeds — all well-established locations for solid traditional designs — Birmingham's tattoo scene doesn’t major on one style but is always fresh and always changing. It's difficult to think of a studio that encapsulates that hungry, edgy mood more than Lucky Rabbit right now.

The kings and queens of this visual feasting are sometimes playing hide and seek in the most unexpected corners of the UK. If you’re drawn to blazing colours and memorable artwork, try Northfield’s Painted Lady Tattoo Parlour at 1 Station Road. For delectable artistry secure an appointment with the legendary Dawnii Fantana (pictured) who heads up the shop and still finds time to commit her designs to canvas, as well as creating forever art like this. Elsewhere outta the thick of the city, Sutton Coldfield’s Dark Horse Collective, King’s Heath’s Seven Foxes and Redditch’s Church Tattoo are more of the right answers.

So select your desired body part, and if you stick to our list, you know that someone top will have your back (or your arm, or your foot).