Traditional Sleeve Tattoo

23 Traditional Tattoo Artists You Should Follow

Traditional Tattoo Artists

American traditional tattoo artists are plentiful, yet each is distinctive and offers something truly unique.

As a tattoo style, American traditional is an instant classic.

It has existed as a popular option for many, many years.

American Traditional Tattoos: A Brief History

Dating back to ancient times, American traditional tattoos have gathered lots of connotations and themes along the way. 

In the early 1900s, the style began to take prominence in America where the likes of circus performers, sailors, and pirates sported them. 

Tattoo design – specifically American traditional – became much more popularized during WW2.

America, along with the rest of the world, has never looked back since.

The Aesthetics Of Traditional Tattoos

American traditional tattoo art is a universal concept today which is only reinforced with the variety of tattoo artists who specialize in its striking style. 

Its main elements include thick black outlines, a limited colour palette consisting mostly of red, green and yellow.

These colors are used in block, making the tattoo 2D – contrasting with the modern style of dimensional shading.

The tattoo approach is very confident and overt, producing instantly recognizable images.

Some describe American traditional as an excessive and exaggerated version of reality.

American traditional tattoo artists teeter between the concept of reality and surreality, experimenting with these definitions in their art. 

Consequently, many American traditional tattoos are seen as highly inventive and original despite being some of the oldest designs. 

American traditional tattoos are not aimed to be realistic.

They are, in their own right, pieces of art and drawing. 

As an established aesthetic, American traditional tattoos have some specific objects which tend to be depicted in their work.

Common objects and imagery include hearts, birds, traditional flower tattoos, daggers, pin-up girls, skull tattoos, and globes.

There is nothing quite as varied and colorful as the American traditional tattoo. 

Best Traditional Tattoo Artists

Below is a series of tattoo artists whose work demonstrates some of the best American traditional tattoo art around today.

  • Samuele Briganti

Based in Florence, Italy, Samuele Briganti currently serves his mesmerizing American traditional style for customers at his tattoo studio Bold Will Hold.

Full of reds and oranges, Briganti’s art is sizzling and fiery.

Many of his designs capture wild animals in motion, washed with sunset colors and rounded off with smooth outlines.

Samuele Briganti's Traditional Tattoo

Tony BLUEARMS is an iconic tattooist based in Oslo, Norway. 

Much of his American traditional work is nautical, involving ships and the sea.

He plays with minimal colour and ignites his tattoos with impressive control of lines and shape.

Admirable within the tattoo community, Tony has a book of his art named Lines of Division.

It features some of his best American traditional tattoo work.

Tony Bluearms' Traditional Tattoo
  • Becca Genne-Bacon 

Residing in New York City, Becca Genne-Bacon currently works her magic at Kings Avenue Tattoo. 

Bouncing between monochrome and colour, Genne-Bacon’s American traditional tattoos are loyal to their origins, yet her brave approach creates some very individual large scale work.

Her work sits on the very cusp though, where she pushes the conventions of the American traditional style and brings in a contemporary approach.

Becca Genne-Bacon's  Traditional Tattoo
  • Dan Santoro

Dan Santoro is a tattooist from Hawley, Pennsylvania. 

As an avid fisher, Santoro integrates this hobby into his American traditional tattoos and focuses on the sea and water creatures especially.

Although some of these fish designs are not traditionally seen in American traditional tattoos, Dan Santoro has masterfully combined the style into it. 

As a result, some of the freshest American traditional art can be seen by this tattooist!

Dan Santoro's Traditional Tattoo
  • Akira Latanzio

Effortlessly cool and collected, Akira Latanzio can be seen influencing the tattoo community in Brooklyn.

His work appreciates and takes influence from the history of American traditional tattoos.

Latanzio tends to work with classic American traditional images such as women, rose tattoos, and devils.

He impressively depicts these in a range of scales and placements. 

Akira Latanzio's Traditional Tattoo
  • Gordon Combs

Currently found in Portland, Oregon at Tattoo Smile, Gordon Combs is a well-respected American traditional tattooist artist.

Tattooing his work all over the body, Combs’ versatility is forever a source of reinvention and brilliance.

From beautifully layered bird wings to roaring tiger tattoos with razor-sharp fans, Gordon Combs injects a wild nature to his American traditional art.

Gordon Combs' Traditional Tattoo
  • Chris Fernandez

Tattooing at Kings Avenue Tattoo, Chris Fernandez is an artist based in New York City but was raised in the sunny skies of Miami. 

Though he has a talent in a varied amount of styles, Fernandez’s specialism is in creating swirling and bold American traditional tattoo work. 

Sometimes his illustration will depict modern takes on the American traditional style, but the old school is always at the center of it all.

Chris Fernandez Traditional Tattoo
  • Steve Boltz

Seen as a legend of current-day American traditional tattooing, Steve Boltz is a big name.

His work is predominantly carried out that the Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn.

Lots of his American traditional work is centered around thick-outlined women whose features are reminiscent of pin-up tattoos and 50’s style. 

Boltz mixes up the images, such as a woman sat on a skull, to create new visions of the genre.

Steve Boltz Traditional Tattoo
  • Dani Queipo

Based in London, England, Dani Queipo is a tattooist who works with color to create beautifully artistic American traditional art.

Queipo currently works at Sang Bleu Tattoo London.

His work is world-renowned for its smooth, perfect completion of traditional images such as women, flower tattoos, and hearts. 

Dani Queipo is an established and high-quality tattooist in American traditional style.

Dani Queipo's Traditional Tattoo
  • Bert Krak

Based in New York City, Bert Krak is part of the group of talented tattooists over at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour.

Bert Krak takes the American traditional tattoo and effortlessly replicates some of the most classic, true-to-history images of the tattoo genre.

Classic approaches are what Krak prefers, and this is evident in his plethora of 40’s-influenced work. 

Bert Krak's Traditional Tattoo
  • Danny G

Danny G is an American traditional tattoo artist based in Houston, Texas. 

His work varies between black-grey and the usual American traditional color selection.

Danny G designs gorgeous images of delicate roses, panther headshots, and pin-up portraits wrapped seductively in snakes. 

His style captures the personality of whatever he is tattooing, creating a curious and thoughtful interpretation of the American traditional tattoo. 

Danny G's Traditional Tattoo
  • Nicholas Adam

Nicholas Adam prides himself on his American traditional characteristics of bold color and classic imagery. 

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Nicholas Adams can be found at Riverside Tattoo. 

Adam especially shows his talent for a steady, clean hand with his large scale American traditional tattoos which are sheer perfection.

Nicholas Adam's Traditional Tattoo
  • Almagro Tattooer

Full of colorful reds and oranges, Almagro Tattooer is an American traditional tattooist with bundles of pride.

Currently based in the Old Town part of Nicosia, Cyprus, Almagro creates breathtaking American traditional designs at the Ermou St. Tattoo Studio.

Common placements for his pieces are on the hands and feet, exhibiting bold and bright tattoos that are made to be seen. 

Almagro's Traditional Tattoo
  • Phil DeAngulo

Phil DeAngulo is a famous tattooist based in Brooklyn, whose American traditional style has infiltrated both the tattoo world and mainstream culture.

Working at Allied Tattoo, DeAngulo has garnered a wealth of attention for his daring interpretations of classic images such as the panther tattoos and the snake.

Aside from the usual animal, Phil DeAngulo also tattoos less conventional images of robots, whilst staying loyal to the bold lines and block color of American traditional tattooing. 

Phil DeAngulo's Traditional Tattoo
  • Gaia Leone

Graceful with an attention to detail, Gaia Leone is a tattooist with a careful eye and an experienced approach based in Turin, Italy.

Leone adopts the American traditional style with undeniable respect for its history but mutes down on the harshness of it.

There is a definite legacy in Leone’s style which is both recognized and interpreted in her way.

Gaia Leone's Traditional Tattoo
  • Joe Tartarotti

Joe Tartarotti is a tattooist based in Milan, Italy.

Although Tartarotti’s style is undoubtedly American traditional, he has adopted a very unusual, individual approach.

His work can be seen to have added detail, fainter lines of definition between the bold shapes and symmetrical patterns.

As a result, Joe Tartarotti creates American traditional tattoo art with dizzying intricacy.

Joe Tartarotti's Traditional Tattoo
  • Moira Ramone

Residing in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Moira Ramone has perfected the art of American traditional tattooing with her imaginative block color work.

Whilst Ramone enjoys drawing the usual birds and women onto the skin of her clients, she comes alive when there is an extra layer to the story.

Many of her American traditional designs incorporate darker aesthetics and combine several images to create one grand American traditional.

Moira Ramone's Traditional Tattoo
  • Pablo Lillo

Pablo Lillo is a respected tattooist based in Barcelona, Italy.

Currently tattooing at Black Rose Tattoo, Lillo takes American traditional skulls, women, and dragons into his main work.

He enjoys using color to his advantage in its conventional block color use.

However, the color palette is a striking mixture of neon greens and oranges which ignite every piece of art. 

Pablo Lillo's Traditional Tattoo
  • Florian Santus

Coming up to nearly a decade in tattooing, Florian Santus is an experienced tattoo artist based in Paris, France. 

He has a flexible approach to American traditional tattooing, offering both black-grey and classic colorwork.

Santus has produced large-scale work on the back of his clients as well as smaller versions as part of a limb or leg sleeve.

Florian Santus' Traditional Tattoo
  • Bobeus

Indulging in the sight of a thick black outline, Bobeus is a tattoo artist with American traditional style in his heart (and art).

Bobeus is based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, where he co-owns the studio True Blue Tattoo.

He specializes in creating tattoo spectacles that are uplifting and feel-good.

Consequently, much of his work is sprinkled with swirling lines and color.

Bobeus' Traditional Tattoo
  • Matt Houston

Based in Vancouver, Canada, tattooist Matt Houston brings back the old school with his series of American traditional tattoo art.

Whilst he incorporates black outlining and bold colors, Houston relishes in the look of darker shades, too.

His tattoos, therefore, are an intriguing take on the American traditional with mysterious and dark connotations.

Matt Houston's Traditional Tattoo
  • Kim-Anh Nguyen

Kim-Anh Nguyen is an American traditional tattooist based in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Nguyen is praised for her clean, experienced approach to the classic designs of American traditional tattoos.

Having traveled across the globe, Kim-Anh Nguyen has included every symbol of the style in her work and as a result, is a trusted name in the tattoo community.

Kim-Anh Nguyen's Traditional Tattoo
  • Jon FTW

Jon FTW is an Australian tattoo artist based in Brisbane.

His art is full of reds and blues, creating sublime American traditional designs that feel forever fresh.

The likes of cherubs and women are reimagined in a mystical light, yet the artistic approach is American traditional through and through.

His work is truly beautiful.

Jon FTW's Traditional Tattoo


With a long and lustrous history, American traditional tattoos have a reputation like no other style in the community.

As the next generation of tattoo artists begin their journeys under the mentoring of these talented artists, there is no sign of the style slowing in popularity and innovation.

All of the artists on the list bring a new wave of inspiration that continues to excite the American traditional tattoo scene. 

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