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Christian Koch
Interview by: Christian Koch Tuesday 10 September 2019
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15 of the best: Black and Grey Tattoo Artists

Some of the world’s most talented monochrome mavericks will be appearing at this September’s London Tattoo Convention. Want a terrifying 3D banshee? A pristine geometric pattern or a cursive signature scrawled on your arm? Whatever black & grey design you’re craving, you’ll be able to find some ink inspiration here…  

1. ELIOT KOHEK, France

Whether it’s gruesome skulls, gnarling beasts or HR Giger-inspired biomechanical inkwork, the 3D renderings from this French artist are so realistic, they look as if they’ll jump from the skin any minute to attack you. A true master of the macabre, Eliot’s deservedly popular too: he’s got a huge (506k) Instagram following.

2. VICTOR PORTUGAL, Poland

Victor isn’t Portuguese at all, but a Uruguayan working in Krakow, Poland. Specialises in the type of surreal, Dante-esque imagery likely to make those of a nervous disposition break into a cold sweat should they stare at it for too long. 

3. INAL BERSEKOV, Belgium

The favoured tattooist of rapper Drake, the handiwork of this Belgian artist has even featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. His USP? Intricate portraits of pop culture icons (Drake opted for a tattoo of Denzel Washington’s face). Seek him out if you want to pay bodily homage to any of your heroes… 

4. LYDIA MADRID, Spain

If this talented young Spanish tattooist has a motif, it’s portraying women as never-seen-before superheroes caught in a moment of melancholia. A glittering future awaits; check out her eBook: Black Feels Good. 

5. JONDIX, UK

The owner of London’s endlessly creative Seven Doors studio may not be travelling far for this year’s convention, but his mesmerising fusion of Eastern influences, knotty geometric patterns and painstaking dotwork is world-famous.  

6. CARL GRACE, USA

Carl’s monochromatic masterpieces have won all manner of fans in his native US. He’ll be jetting across the Atlantic to showcase his brilliant demonic freehand art to eager enthusiasts this September. 

7. STEFANO ALCANTARA, USA

The Florida studio of this Peruvian tattoo superstar is popular with celebrities and locals alike. His hyper-realistic artworks include everything from Inca warriors to divine religious iconography and beyond…

8. BRIGANTE, Italy

Hailing from Italy, Brigantetattoo is one of the most innovative lettering artists in Europe. Think cursive calligraphy that’s both stylish and instantly recognisable. 

9. MUMIA, Denmark

Effortlessly cool Copenhagen-based artist who sucks you into his vortex of dark-hued dreamscapes via a combination of detailed design and impressive illusion of depth. Expect cadaverous skulls, eerie lady heads and portentous cathedrals galore. 

10. CARLOS FABRA, Spain

The charcoal-like cartoon pastiches of this Barcelona artist manage to give wholesome Disney characters, Manga icons and even Homer Simpson a semblance of being slightly… disreputable. All somewhat apt, given black & grey style is believed to have originated in prisons. 

11. MATTEO PASQUALIN, Italy

Superb Italian artist whose creations exude so much tattoo vérité, they look like black and white photographs grafted onto the skin. Recent commissions include a series of dressed animals (think dogs in military attire), plus portraits of Johnny Cash, Ayrton Senna and erm… Hugh Laurie.

12. YARSON, UK

This Polish tattooist operating from an Aberdeen studio has only been working for six years, but has already acquired a unique black & grey style, plus an impressive series of portraits spanning Eminem, Pink (and somewhat inevitably) Aberdeen FC footballing legends.

13. MATTHEW JAMES, UK

Operating from his Bristol studio, this painter/tattooist produces murky masterpieces that are beautiful as they are sinister. 

14. DAVID HOANG, Canada

Talented Canadian artist who’ll be showcasing his trademark geishas, female samurais, fierce tigers and Hannya-inspired works at this year’s Convention.

15. JUSTIN BURNOUT, UK

Based at his private studio Ghost House in Nottingham, UK, Justin is a master of fine line black and grey work. With a nod to Chicano imagery, his tattoos feature meticulously detailed roses, religious iconography and stylish script.

Meet all of these artists and over 400 more at the UK's biggest and best-loved tattoo convention. Advance tickets are now on sale - get yours today!