As a longtime collector and tattoo expert, I'm frequently confronted with the question, "How do you tell if someone is a good artist?" And while the answer might seem obvious, it's actually a lot trickier than you think. Social media has allowed tattoo artists to manipulate their image to the public and in some cases, tattooers only showcase their work at its "best"—when it's fresh. This presents problems to potential clients, as they might get the wrong idea about what the tattoo could like like when it has healed.
However, a marker of a good artist is someone who shares healed photos of their tattoos to show that their application can stand the tests of time and their clients have a beautiful piece for life. Because while we can all gush over an incredibly executed fresh tattoo, it's the healed piece we've got to live with for the rest of our lives.
I've curated 20 prime examples of healed tattoos from some of the best tattoo artists around the world, whose styles range from color realism to black-and-grey to geometric. Take a look at their superb healed tattoos in the gallery below and let us know your thoughts on posting healed photos to Instagram in the comments section.