9 extraordinary tattoos from around the world

Tattoos have become the ultimate fashion statement. Barely a week goes by without an actor, pop star, sport star or model making headlines with new body art. Ink always starts a conversation, whether it’s British TV and radio presenter Maya Jama’s tiny new ankle tattoo, a spontaneous decision made in the fog of a hangover; or US rapper Chrisean Rock’s widely criticised face tattoo of her ex-boyfriend Blueface to protest against his incarceration.

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Choosing a tattoo today is radically different from 20 years ago, with tattoo tourists now flocking to talented artists with huge online followings and celebrity endorsements. “The binders of flash sheets [drawings of tattoo designs] that were once discovered only by word-of-mouth recommendations in the waiting rooms of tattoo shops have found a new home on Instagram to be consumed by anyone around the world,” writes Alice Snape, editor of Things & Ink magazine, in a new book Tattoo You – A New Generation of Artists, published by Phaidon.

The book brings together 75 of the world’s most innovative tattoo artists, and launches just before the UK’s Brighton Tattoo Convention (24-25 February), a mecca for international tattoo talent. The book describes itself as “a celebration and a snapshot of a new generation of tattooing, showcasing diverse artists, styles and bodies”, and reveals a world where tattooing functions much like clothes, helping people “to feel at home in their own bodies”.

Today, designs are more varied, and often more detailed, as tools and tastes have evolved; and women, trans and non-binary artists of a range of cultures now take up space in what was once a predominantly white male profession. From reclaiming flesh scarred by surgery, to promoting the culture of marginalised groups, the tattoo artist of today responds to society’s evolving needs. As Snape writes in the book: “Tattooing is a way to hold power in a world that often feels like it is spiralling out of control.” Here are nine extraordinary changemakers:

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