Exceptional tattoo parlors and Melrose Avenue have gone hand-in-hand for decades, waaaaaay before tattoos weren’t something you hid from your parents. Tattoos are where art and alt culture met, and both thrive on Melrose today. We continue to boast the world’s best shops, and they boast the world’s best artists.
We’ve collected a sampling of the great ink work happening at each location. If this inspires you to get some fresh work done, you might be wondering which shop is best for you. Every tattoo parlor on Melrose is legit, clean, and sterile. The resident artists are world-class AND visiting artists make a point to work on Melrose so always check the shops’ socials.
Our pro tip: visit each, check out the portfolios, chat up the artists, and ultimately realize you’ve got enough real estate to get a piece at each.
Alexa Corral at Bamboo Tattoo is a young artist with the talent of an old inker. Her recent Star Wars piece, featuring a fierce Imperial Pilot in the foreground and a troop movement in the background, looks like a dang Lucasfilms storyboard! Alexa brings fantasy to life and life to fantasy with her work. See more from Alexa and other artists on Instagram at @alexatattoos and @bambootattoohollywood.
7664 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Some cameras can’t take a picture as clean and clear as the lines on this tattoo. Black Anchor resident artist Jim Sylvia’s work is insanely precise and it’s impossible to overstate how important precision is, especially for the long-term beauty of a tattoo. Better yet, his vibrant color choices are on point. Jim’s work is on IG @jimsylviatattoo and the shop’s work is @blackanchorworldwide.
7460 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Creating at one of Melrose’s preeminent shops (Body Electric just celebrated 25 years here) implies a particular competence and authority which shows in Martin Kelly’s art. His line work is no joke, which is imperative when you’re reliant on only black ink. The result is stunning. There’s more to love on IG @martinkellytattoo and check out the shop @bodyelectrictattoo.
7274 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
While they may be new to the Melrose community, the women at Fifth Sun Studio are tapping into the oldest energies in the universe to create spiritual, reverent art for their clients. Sacred imagery is a specialty, and clearly black & grey, geometric, and the oft-problematic solid black are no challenge here. See more work from both artists @steff.rojas3 and @delphififthsun on Instagram.
FIFTH SUN STUDIO
646 North Fuller, Los Angeles 90036
The sign of a true pro is style-mixing that looks flawless and gorgeous. Hirotake Mano blends two great techniques – water color and solid black – expertly. When it’s said that the body is a canvas, this is almost a literal example of using your skin to showcase a beautiful work of art. Take a look on Instagram for Hiro’s work @hiro_gt8attoo and go to @generation8tattoo for more of the team’s work.
7216 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Technique is obviously important when it comes to selecting a tattoo artist, but everything starts with art. Isa Verri at Golden Daggers infuses her work with retro charm and whimsy, and while she can go dark, there’s still a sweetness to the piece. She definitely has a trademarked look that you can see more of on Instagram @isaverri and check out the shop’s art feed @goldendaggers.
GOLDEN DAGGERS TATTOOS
7704 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Traditional tattoos are awesome for being just that: traditional. The old school themes and style can be made fresh again, and Daniel Ward at High Seas Tattoo is the guy to do it. The requisite trade color palette gets a tweak from shading, and the iconic imagery all plays together uniquely. More of Daniel’s work is on IG @danielfward and more of the shop’s work is @highseastattooparlor.
HIGH SEAS TATTOO
7522 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
A portrait can be one of the most intimate and stress-inducing options for a tattoo. We’ve all seen misrepresentations and no one wants to live with that. No fear if you go to Dean Berton at Melrose Tattoo. His particular “splatter” technique is unique and so attractive, and his reproductions are impeccable. Enjoy more of Dean’s incredible work on Instagram @deanberton.
7661 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Big canvas pieces take a lot of time, and often multiple sessions. They take some money. And they take some patience. And when they’re done by Radiant Ink’s resident artist Tony Ramirez, the “holy s*&t” factor is high. If you’re going to make this worth-it commitment, make it with the best. Go to Instagram and see more of Tony’s work @tonyramireztattoo and the shop’s feed @radiantinklab.
RADIANT INK LAB
7365 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046
Lettering poses two challenges: precision and spelling. Worry about neither by going to Zara Solava at Through Your Skin for your quotes, names, and mantras. Her impeccable lettering will not only look beautiful from the time you leave the chair, it will age well. More of Zara’s work is on Instagram
@opal_tattoo and see more of the studio’s great work @throughyourskin.
THROUGH YOUR SKIN
73753 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046