While the industry is largely defined by individual artists, shops play a huge role in shaping tattoo culture. Tattoo shops allow artists of all styles and backgrounds to come together under one roof and exchange ideas. They're built on the relationship between masters and rookies, allowing new talent to develop through the mentorship of longtime tattooers. But, they're often overlooked by the industry at large and it's time we payed homage to the top shops themselves. We've narrowed down our top 15 shops from around the world and its time you took a peek at who stands out on top. Whether you're in California or New York, Melbourne or Liverpool, Philadelphia or Grand Junction—these shops are top notch. Take a look at our list below and let us know what you think about our picks in the comments section on Facebook.
BANG BANG NYC is New York City's premiere shop for micro and fine-line tattooing. BANG BANG is home to owner Bang Bang and artists Lazer Liz, Anatole, Kristi Walls, Keith 'Dez' Hernandez, Drag Ink, Mr. K, Oscar Akermo, Hector Daniels, Michelle Santana, Trudy, Turan, Maksim Yalovik and Okan Nuckun.
Black Anchor Collective is one of the top shops in California. Owned by Nikko Hurtado, artists Cheeseburger Champion, Carlos Rojas, Mat Hurtado, Saint Matthew, Aric Taylor, Umbrella Face, Jim Sylvia, Hilmar, Camila Rocha and Ricardo R17 work there.
Salem's top gothic shop, Black Veil Studio is co-owned by Ryan and Matthew Murray.
Artists Anrijs Straume, Nick Baldwin, Rachel Baldwin and Hollie Pryce operate Bold as Brass Tattoo in Liverpool, U.K.
Owned by John Stuart, Boss Tattoo Collective is one of Calgary's finest shops. You can find Saga Anderson, John Roberts, Scott Ford, Erin Belley, Amy Jilliane, Yvonne Koprnicky, Peter Loyoza, Rebecca Rouge, Whitney Thompson, Anthony Ashman, Sarah Wilson, Emily Clare and Autumn Dancer working there.
Located in Chateauguay, Quebec, Deathless Tattoos employs Tyler Hoare, Arielle Gagnon, Melina Wa, Remi Potter and Steve Beaulieu.
In the heart of Grand Junction, Colorado, Elysium Studios is owned by Arlo DiCristina. Artists Adam Torrez, Dmitry Vision, Jacob Sheffield, Jeffery Johnson and Seth Jordan are residents.
Empire is a private studio located in Melbourne, Australia. Matt Curzon, Jake Danielson, Bobby Dunbar, Amy Unalome, Elric Gordon and Chantelle Thong are resident artists.
Grit N Glory is the rock-and-roll spot for NYC tattoo art. It is owned by Megan Massacre and its resident artists are Ruben Barahona, Nikki Simpson, Joice Wang, Alisha Gory, Janice Danger, Heather Hellion, Cavan Infante, Giorgia Mae and Travis Ross.
Inkology is an elite guest artist driven shop in Midtown Manhattan. Its resident artists include Marek Pawlik, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, TeeJ Poole, Brandon Herrera and Lisette Martinez.
Last Rites is a gothic shop that is owned and operated by horror tattoo master Paul Booth. Their resident artists include Logan Aguilar, Jose Contreras, Yomico Moreno and Darwun Enriquez.
North of Winter is a tattoo studio in Manchester, U.K. that was opened by Sam Barber. Its resident artists include Jak Connolly, Jordan Oterski, Dom Brown, Char Small, Karolina Czekaj and Helen Warren.
The Arts Corporation is a realism tattoo studio in Montréal, Canada that is operated by Luka Lajoie, Michael Cloutier, Joshua Ricard and Jimmy Leclerc.
The Raven and the Wolves is located in Long Beach, California and its resident artists include Carlos Torres, Alan Padilla, Joey Zazueta, Sergio Sanchez, Deran Hall and Kasper.
The Séance Tattoo Parlor of Philadelphia, PA is owned by horror artist Paul Acker and its resident artists include Danny Lepore, Paul Marino, Koty Nyman, Buz Hasson and Matthew Greskiewicz.