9 Most Expensive Tattoo Artists in the World

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Tattoos can be cheap but not if you want the best work from the most prestigious artists. A $100 pinstripe tattoo isn’t going to cut it if you’re looking to get the kind of art that usually lines museum galleries. A lot of the artists on this list are not only famous tattoo shop owners but sculptors, musicians, and filmmakers too.

Continue reading to learn about the 9 most expensive tattoo artists in the world, including the amounts they usually charge and the shops where you can find them.

9. Dr. Woo

Average Price: $200
Born: 1981
Location: West Hollywood, California
Shop: Shamrock Tattoo Parlour
Dr. Woo
photo source: Inked Mag

The Shamrock Tattoo Parlour in West Hollywood is home to one of the most famous tattoo artists in the state, named Dr. Woo (his real name is Brian). His style emphasizes fine-lined, highly detailed art using only one needle. He’s usually booked up for months, even a year in advance.

His famous tattoos include those on Ellie Goulding, Zoe Kravitz, Drake, and Erin Wasson. Dr. Woo is one of nine artists that work at Shamrock, also including the famous Mark Mahoney, an expensive tattoo artist in his own right and Dr. Woo’s mentor.

Did you know?

The artist Mark Mahoney has famously tattooed for Johnny Depp, Tupac, and Sid Vicious. Other famous celebrity clients of the Shamrock Parlour include Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Jared Leto, and Amy Adams.

8. Katherine Von Drachenberg

Average Price: $210/hour
Born: March 8, 1982
Location: Hollywood, California
Shop: High Voltage Tattoo
Katherine Von Drachenberg
photo source: The Famous People

Katherine Von Drachenberg, also known as Kat Von D, is a tattoo artist and model, plus a recording artist. She’s known for her work on two seasons of the TLC reality TV show, Miami Ink, as well as LA Ink, which ran for four seasons from 2007.

She also ran the beauty brand, Kat Von D Beauty, also known as KVD Vegan Beauty.

She became a recording artist in 2021 when she released her album, Love Made Me Do It, which included the well-known single, “Exorcism.” Kat Von D charges around $210 per hour for tattoos.

Did you know?

One of Kat Von D’s most infamous accomplishments is her record-breaking tattoo job on LA Ink in December 2007. She broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most tattoos performed by one artist in a day. She did 400.

7. Jonathan Valena

Average Price: $300/hour
Born: June 10, 1980
Location: New York City, New York
Shop: Moxy Times Square
Jonathan Valena
photo source: Page Six

The tattoo artist Jonathan Valena is better known as JonBoy. He has tattooed for many celebrity clients including Travis Scott, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Zayn Malik. For over 20 years, JonBoy has been tattooing as well as designing clothes.

His signature product line, Coachella, includes shorts, long-sleeve t-shirts, bandanas, and fanny packs.

JonBoy is also the artist famous for tattooing Justin Bieber’s face. He started at Bang Bang Tattoo in NYC owned by Keith Scott McCurdy, who appears later this list.

Did you know?

JonBoy is known as one of the main artists behind the “tiny tattoo” movement, which is now a celebrity art movement all its own.

6. Paul Booth

Average Price: $310/hour
Born: 1968
Location: New York City, New York
Shop: Last Rites Theatre
Paul Booth
photo source: Tatt Mag

Paul Booth is not only a tattoo artist but also a painter, sculptor, musician, and filmmaker. Booth is famous for using black and white tattoo ink and his darkly surrealistic art style. His famous clients have spread his cultish reputation for dark designs throughout the music world.

His celebrity work includes designs for Slipknot, Slayer, Soulfly, Cheeseburger, Mudvayne, and Pantera.

Booth started Last Rites Tattoo Theatre in 1996 in NYC with a bunch of other artists. He’s been expanding it ever since, opening the Last Rites Gallery in 2007, which closed in 2020 due to COVID. A tattoo with Booth costs around $310 per hour.

Did you know?

Booth directed his first film, ArtFusion Experiment, which won the Best Feature Documentary award at The Newport Beach Film Festival in 2007. He also made Paul Booth’s Last Rites: Volume I.

5. Keith Scott McCurdy

Average Price: $400/hour
Born: November 28, 1985
Location: New York City, New York
Shop: Bang Bang NYC
Keith Scott McCurdy
photo source: Page Six

The tattoo artist, Keith Scott McCurdy got his start in his hometown of Pennsylvania. He went on to become one of the most coveted American tattoo artists, founding his studio, Bang Bang NYC in 2013. His second location was opened in 2018 in SoHo.

His celebrity clients include LeBron James, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Cara Delevingne. A tattoo with McCurdy costs on average around $400 per hour.

Did you know?

McCurdy’s memoir, Bang Bang: My Life in Ink, is one of the most well-known life stories in the tattoo industry.

4. Anil Gupta

Average Price: $200 + $450/hour
Born: Unknown
Location: New York City, New York
Shop: Inkline Studio NYC
Anil Gupta
photo source: Heartwork Tattoo Festival

Anil Gupta started tattooing in New York in a time when it was illegal to do so, full of scrappy underground artists paid in cash. Gupta became known as the H.R. Giger of tattoos, favoring a mix of fantasy and horror, of biological and mechanical designs.

Gupta charges $200 for a consultation on the tattoo design and around $450 per hour for the tattoo itself. In the face of a centralizing tattoo art industry, Gupta favors more independent control. Despite his high prices, he advocates the art over the industry.

Did you know?

Gupta can often be seen at The Heartwork Tattoo Festival, which celebrates Indian artists and emphasizes independent tattoo art design.

3. Ami James

Average Price: $500/hour
Born: April 8, 1972
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
Shop: Love Hate Tattoos
Ami James
photo source: Inked Mag

Ami James is an Israeli-American tattoo artist who was born in Egypt (occupied by Israel at the time). James has severe ADD that he vents in his art, which he started as an apprentice at Tattoos By Lou. He now co-owns Love Hate Tattoos in Miami Beach, Florida with Chris Núñez.

James is also the subject of Miami Ink, the TLC reality show, the co-owner of the DeVille fashion brand, and a designer for the RAZR V3 phones by Motorola. His new show, NY Ink, and new studio, Love Hate Social Club in London, are two of James’ newest ambitions. A tattoo with him these days can cost around $500 per hour.

Did you know?

Among James’ other ambitions, he has also run a campaign for PETA known as Ink Not Mink and an online custom tattoo design platform called Tattoodo.

2. Scott Campbell

Average Price: $1,000 + $200/hour
Born: May 13, 1977
Location: New York City, New York
Shop: Scott Campbell Studio
Scott Campbell
photo source: Saved Tattoo

Scott Campbell, an artist based in New York City, has a number of famous celebrity clients including Sting, Robert Downey Jr., Orlando Bloom, and Howard Stern. His first celebrity client was Heath Ledger, for whom he tattooed the now-famous bird that was on the deceased actor’s left forearm.

Campbell showed his work at OHWOW, a gallery for contemporary art. He also collaborated with Marc Jacobs, the creative director of the luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. Together, they designed some high-fashion leather bags for the LV S/S Collection in 2011.

A tattoo with Campbell doesn’t run cheap. It costs $1,000 to get in the chair and an additional $200 per hour.

Did you know?

Campbell started the Whole Glory project in NYC at Milk Studios. His project has shown in galleries around the world, including the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the Convent Garden in London.

1. Don Ed Hardy

Average Price: $1,500
Born: January 1945
Location: San Francisco, California
Shop: Tattoo City
Don Ed Hardy
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The most expensive tattoo artist is Don Ed Hardy. The most expensive tattoo artist is also among the most influential currently living. Hardy was born in Newport Beach, California back in 1945, the same year that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Even at a young age, Ed was all about tattoos, later exhibiting at the Laguna Beach Art Festival and going to school at the San Francisco Art Institute.

His mentors included some famous artists like Samuel Steward and Sailor Jerry Collins. Hardy’s eventual impact on the industry is huge. He turned tattoos from a generalized, flashy statement to a personal, art-driven design industry. Self-expression has always been his goal.

If you can get in the chair now at his famous Tattoo City, don’t expect to get out for less than $1,500.

Did you know?

Hardy is currently retiring and mentoring other artists to pass on his art at Tattoo City. You can check out his work in the five-book series, Tattootime and other publications. He also published a licensed clothing line in the 2000s known as Ku USA.


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