Moko Smith, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Image courtesy the artist  / Vanessa Green

Tattoo You introduces the artists turning the body into an art gallery

Almost a third of Americans and a quarter of Brits have a tattoo - our new book celebrates the artists who turned a subculture into popular culture

Walk down any high street in any city of the world and you'll doubtless be enthralled by the visual art on show. We’re not talking about billboards or bus ads but bodies. Human bodies.Nearly a third of all Americans and a quarter of Brits have at least one tattoo somewhere on their body, making for an industry that is currently worth nearly $3 billion globally.

Far from being a sub-culture tattoos are popular culture writ large – quite literally – and growing larger by the day. But contemporary tattooing would not be such a lucrative and innovative art form if it weren’t for the artists who are transforming the industry.

asdf Ange Deadbirdflying, Melbourne, Australia. Image courtesy the artist Our new book,Tattoo You: A New Generation of Artists, celebrates these transformations, showcasing 75 of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming tattoo artists in a startling illustrated survey.

The book is a visual slice of the industry, reflecting what is happening in the tattoo world right now by featuring recently established artists who began working professionally in the past 10 years, disrupting, re-energizing and making radical changes over those years.

In common with some of our other nominator-led books, such as Prime: Art’s Next Generation, the artists included in Tattoo You have been curated by a global panel of established tattoo artists and experts, a first in the field.

asdf Simon Ban, Brooklyn, New York United States. Image courtesy the artist / Giovanni Cardenas

Nominators include top names from a range of backgrounds such as: Grace Neutral, one of the UK’s most influential voices in tattooing, known for her VICE docuseries Needles and Pins; Claudia De Sabe and Valerie Vargas, two of the most famous and important women tattooers working today; tattoo historian Dr. Matt Lodder and anthropologist Lars Krutak, who have dedicated their lives to the study of tattoos and the people across time who have put needle to skin; and, Tann Koga, the founder of Ink the Diaspora, an online platform that celebrates the work of tattooers of color.

Each artist entry includes a selection of images that illustrate their work and practice—nearly 700 in total—along with a short profile contributed by writers within the industry delving into their lives, influences, and artistic processes.

asdf Mars Hobrecker, New York, New York, United States. Image courtesy the artist

These profiles reflect the recent shifts in the tattoo world, where artists have become activists and influencers, and have helped revive previous traditions and tropes. Women, non-binary, and trans artists account for more than two-thirds of the 75 tattooers featured in the book.

asdf Ian Damien, Singapore. Image courtesy the artist / George Bates (@gthephotographer)

The introduction, written by Alice Snape, an authority on contemporary tattooing and the founder and editor of the feminist tattooing publication Things & Ink, explores the links and history that connect the diverse artists who are a part of this new generation.

asdf Michael Rasetti, Rome, Italy. Image courtesy the artist While there are dozens of books on the history of tattoos or specific artists and studios,Tattoo You takes a fresh look at today’s artists who are pushing the boundaries of their practice, focusing on the diversity of styles and artists at work.

From minimal, blackwork, and Neo-Traditional tattoos, to stick-and-poke and cultural and Indigenous practices, the book spans all artistic approaches and techniques, offering an inside look into how artists across the world work today, while simultaneously providing glimpses of the industry’s future as a more innovative, accessible, and revolutionary art form.

asdf Obsidian Bellis, Chicago, Illinois, United States. Image courtesy the artist / Yasmin Panjwani

As you'd expect, the book is a design masterpiece in itself. At first glance it resembles an up-scale artist’s notebook with marbled paper and a leatherette spine. But it is also a clever take on tattooing: the cover image is a microscopic view of skin that has been tattooed with black ink. Meanwhile, the decorative dots on the spine, which are continued as a design element throughout the interior, reflect the various needle groupings tattoo artists use in their practice. Take a closer look, and buy a copy of Tattoo You: A New Generation of Artists here.