Whenever people ask me how many tattoos I have, I always say I stopped counting after two dozen. But I always like to keep an eye out for my next addition, and there are plenty of incredible tattoo artists in San Diego who specialize in different styles. Here are 10 of the most talented and unique artists to check out.
Courtesy of Meg Knobel
Outdoor Traditions Tattoo
Outdoor Traditions Tattoo opened in 2023 with an emphasis on nature and the outdoors (duh, it’s literally in the name). Knobel specializes in bold linework, which is ideal for ornamental pieces, flash, floral designs, and landscapes. Feeling lucky? The shop also offers a “get what you get” random flash for $150 or $250—adventurous inkers only. Follow Knobel and the shop on Instagram at @megknobel and @outdoortraditionstattoo.
13789 Campo Road A, Jamul
Courtesy of Phil Hatchet-Yau
Tahiti Felix’s Master Tattoo Parlor & Museum
San Diego’s oldest tattoo parlor is anything but old-fashioned. Hatchet-Yau blends early tattoo culture with a modern hand, featuring lots of black line work and pops of color to make your new addition look fresh for years. With more than a decade of professional tattooing under his belt, his work remains some of the most coveted in the city. Check him out at @philhatchetyau or @mastertattoo1949.
924 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter
Courtesy of Kyler Suchey
Mead lovers might recognize Suchey’s work from Lost Cause Meadery labels, but real devotees can get his same style inked on their body at Allegory Tattoo. There, Suchey creates intricate illustrative linework that’s both eerie and timeless. If you’re interested in fantasy, metal, witchcraft, or the macabre, give Suchey a call or peruse his portfolio at @kylersuchey or @allegorytattoo.
4085 Pacific Highway, Suite 105B, Old Town
Courtesy of American Tattoo
The artist lineup at American Tattoo reads like a Who’s Who of tattooing, but Caudle sits comfortably on top of the list. With nearly 30 years of tattooing under his belt, his wide range of stylistic ability means he can bring any idea into reality with ease, from colorful large-scale Japanese-inspired pieces to black and white portraits, American traditional sleeves, and more. Follow him at @micahcaudle or @americantattoovista.
125 Hanes Place, Vista
Courtesy of Madison Couvillion
Wolf & Shadow Tattoo Collective
Tattooing used to be a boy’s club, and still feels that way in a lot of places. But people like Couvillion are helping to transform elitist tattoo culture into a more inclusive environment for people of all gender expressions, body shape, and skin color. Plus, their work is dope AF. Check them out at @satellitefully or head to @wolfandshadowtattooco for your next bright, fun, and unique addition.
3434 University Avenue, Corridor
Courtesy of Aidan Monahan
Big Trouble Tattoo
Alongside other big names at Big Trouble Tattoo, Monahan is regarded as one of the most talented artists in the region with a style that’s as unique as it is kawaii. From fantastical beasts to pop culture, his cartoony style adds a bright splash of joy to all bodies. Follow him at @aidanmonahan and check out the shop’s other artists at @bigtroubletattoo.
4020 30th Street, North Park
Courtesy of Shanti Anderson
The Tattoo Temple
For those in search of fine line work, look no further than Anderson. Hailing from Australia, she’s been designing and inking delicate, but breathtaking pieces for nearly a decade, emphasizing imagery steeped in nature, magic, and the great beyond. If you have a far-out idea that’s beyond this world, Anderson is the artist for you. Her work is on Instagram at @seawitchtattoos and @thetattoo_temple.
3919 Fourth Avenue, Suite A, Hillcrest
Courtesy of Chelstine Clibourne
Clibourne’s tattoos range from traditional to eclectic, psychedelic to traditional, but the thing they all have in common is their stunning quality. Come ready with an idea, but be open to collaboration with an artist who clearly knows what she’s doing. Browse her work at @threeseastattoo and peep @454_tattoo if you’re in the market for a piercing, since the shop offers both services.
454 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
Courtesy of Briana Robinson
Robinson opened Buju in 2011, quickly making a name for herself with her recognizable pressed flower style that transforms bodies into gardens. Feeling inspired? Pop into Buju during Walk-In Wednesdays to see who’s available. Robinson’s work is at @briana_buju_tattoo, and the rest of the shop is at @buju_tattoo.
914 W Washington Street, Mission Hills
Courtesy of James Tran
Full Circle Tattoo
Surrealist designs and anime panels make up the bulk of Tran’s portfolio. His grainy, unsettling style straddles that line between genius and madness, but exists in a space wholly his. Full Circle Tattoo (@fullcircletattoo) has two locations, so be sure to contact the University Heights spot to book with @visualamor.
1817 Adams Avenue, University Heights