Do you know about American traditional tattoo artists? I’m asking such a question because tattoos have become an integral part of our culture, serving as an expression of individuality and personal style.

Among the myriad tattoo styles, one stands out as an instant classic: traditional American tattoos. These iconic designs have stood the test of time, captivating generations with their bold lines, limited color palette, and timeless imagery. 

In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history, characteristics, and rise of American traditional tattoo artists and introduce you to some of the best artists in the industry today.

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What is American Traditional Tattoo Art?

Traditional tattoo art is deeply rooted in American history and culture. Its distinctive features include strong black outlines, a limited color palette of predominantly red, green, and yellow, and a confident, instantly recognizable aesthetic. 

Unlike modern tattoo styles focusing on dimensional shading, traditional American tattoos embrace a 2D look, adding to their bold and eye-catching appeal.

Think of it as an exaggerated, larger-than-life version of reality, where the line between the real and surreal blurs, resulting in highly inventive and original designs.

The History of American Traditional Tattoos

To truly appreciate American traditional tattoo art, we must travel back to the early 1900s when this style began to gain prominence in America. During this era, circus performers, sailors, and even pirates proudly sported these distinctive tattoos. 

However, in World War II, the popularity of tattooing, specifically American traditional tattoos, skyrocketed. The tattoos became symbols of courage, loyalty, and camaraderie among soldiers, forever cementing their place in American culture.

Characteristics of American Traditional Tattoo Artists

American traditional tattoo artists possess unique skills and qualities that set them apart. 

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They are masters of clean lines, solid colors, and well-balanced designs. With their expertise in traditional tattoo motifs like anchors, roses, eagles, and pin-up girls, they breathe life into the classic imagery that defines American traditional tattoos. 

Their ability to walk the fine line between reality and surreality, constantly pushing the boundaries of their art, makes them true visionaries.

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The Rise of American Traditional Tattoo Artists Today

While traditional American tattoos have deep roots in history, they are experiencing a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Modern tattoo artists have embraced this classic style, infusing it with their unique twists and interpretations. 

Today, traditional American tattoos are not limited to sailors or soldiers; they have become sought-after by people from all walks of life. The boldness, richness, and timeless appeal of traditional American tattoos continue to captivate tattoo enthusiasts around the globe.

Finding the Right American Traditional Tattoo Artist

If you’re inspired to get an American traditional tattoo of your own, finding the right artist who can bring your vision to life is essential. Start by researching local tattoo studios and reading reviews from their clients. 

Take the time to explore artists’ portfolios to ensure their style aligns with your preferences. Remember, communication is key. Schedule a consultation to discuss your design ideas and establish a comfortable working relationship with the artist. This collaborative process will help create a tattoo you’ll cherish forever.

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Famous American Traditional Tattoo Artists

Now, let’s take a moment to spotlight some brilliant American traditional tattoo artists who have made their mark in the industry. These artists have perfected the art of traditional American tattoos and left an indelible impact on the WorldWorld of tattooing. Let’s dive into their unique styles and contributions:

Samuele Briganti

Based in Florence, Italy, Samuele Briganti is a mesmerizing artist who wields his tattoo machine at the renowned Bold Will Hold tattoo studio. With fiery reds and oranges, Briganti’s art exudes passion and intensity. His designs often feature wild animals in motion, washed with the warm colors of a stunning sunset. Each piece is adorned with smooth outlines, creating a harmonious balance between strength and grace.


Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Tony BLUEARMS is an iconic tattooist known for his nautical-themed American traditional work. With minimal color and impeccable control of lines and shapes, Tony brings ships and the sea to life on the skin. His artistry has garnered admiration within the tattoo community, and his book, “Lines of Division,” showcases some of his best American traditional tattoo work.

Becca Genne-Bacon

Residing in the vibrant city of New York, Becca Genne-Bacon practices her magic at Kings Avenue Tattoo. Her traditional American tattoos oscillate between monochrome and color, remaining true to their roots while incorporating a contemporary twist. Becca’s work pushes the boundaries of the traditional style, resulting in truly unique and striking large-scale tattoos.

Dan Santoro

Hailing from Hawley, Pennsylvania, Dan Santoro is a talented tattooist who finds inspiration in his love for fishing. His traditional American tattoos depict the sea and its captivating creatures, even incorporating fish not traditionally seen in this style. Santoro’s ability to blend the classic American traditional aesthetic with his innovative ideas has produced fresh and exciting tattoo art.

Akira Latanzio

Influencing the tattoo community from the bustling streets of Brooklyn, Akira Latanzio pays homage to the history of traditional American tattoos in his art. His work often features classic American traditional images such as women, roses, and devils. With an impressive range of scales and placements, Akira breathes new life into these timeless motifs, captivating the imagination with every stroke.

Gordon Combs

Based in Portland, Oregon, Gordon Combs is a highly respected American traditional tattoo artist currently tattooing at Tattoo Smile. Combs showcases his versatility by creating stunning tattoos all over the body. From beautifully layered bird wings to roaring tiger tattoos with razor-sharp fans, his art injects a wild, untamed nature into American traditional designs.

Chris Fernandez

Tattooing at Kings Avenue Tattoo, Chris Fernandez is an artist with a special talent for creating swirling and bold American traditional tattoos. While he occasionally incorporates modern elements into his illustrations, the heart of his work remains deeply rooted in the traditional style. His tattoos celebrate the old-school aesthetic, capturing the essence of traditional American tattoos with every piece.

Steve Boltz

Considered a legend in the WorldWorld of American traditional tattooing, Steve Boltz is a name that resonates throughout the industry. Tattooing predominantly at the Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn, Boltz’s work often revolves around thick-outlined women reminiscent of pin-up tattoos and 50’s style. By mixing images creatively, such as a woman sitting on a skull, he creates new and captivating visions within the genre.

Dani Queipo

Based in London, England, Dani Queipo is an established tattooist renowned for his skillful use of color in creating beautifully artistic American traditional tattoos. Working at Sang Bleu Tattoo London, Queipo’s artistry shines through in his smooth, perfectly executed traditional images of women, flower tattoos, and hearts. His dedication to the American traditional style is evident in every vibrant piece he creates.

Bert Krak

Part of the talented tattooists at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in New York City, Bert Krak is known for his ability to replicate classic, true-to-history images of the American traditional genre. With a preference for classic approaches and many 40s-inspired works, Krak’s tattoos transport you to a bygone era. Each piece reflects his unwavering dedication to preserving the essence of American traditional tattoo art.

Danny G

Hailing from Houston, Texas, Danny G is an American traditional tattoo artist who skillfully transitions between black-gray and the traditional color selection. His designs encompass delicate roses, panther headshots, and seductive pin-up portraits entwined with serpents. Danny G’s style captures the essence and personality of his subjects, offering a thought-provoking and curious interpretation of American traditional tattoos.

Nicholas Adam

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Nicholas Adam prides himself on his bold use of color and classic imagery in his traditional American tattoos. Tattooing at Riverside Tattoo, Adam showcases his talent for steady, clean lines with larger-scale pieces that are sheer perfection. His artistry brings traditional images to life with vibrant, eye-catching colors, offering a fresh take on timeless designs.

Almagro Tattooer

With a passion for vibrant colors and artistic expression, Almagro Tattooer is an American traditional tattooist based in the Old Town of Nicosia, Cyprus. At Ermou St. Tattoo Studio, Almagro creates breathtaking American traditional designs that demand attention. His bold and bright tattoos, often placed on his hands and feet, showcase the beauty and diversity of the American traditional style.

Phil DeAngulo

Phil DeAngulo, a famous tattooist based in Brooklyn, has made his mark in the tattoo world and mainstream culture with his daring interpretations of classic American traditional images. Working at Allied Tattoo, DeAngulo’s artistry extends beyond traditional animal motifs to encompass unconventional designs like robots while remaining true to the bold lines and block color that define American traditional tattooing.

Gaia Leone

Hailing from Turin, Italy, Gaia Leone is a graceful tattooist with an impeccable eye for detail. Embracing the American traditional style, Leone adds her unique touch by softening the harshness of the style. Her artistic legacy shines through in each carefully crafted tattoo, combining a deep respect for tradition with her interpretation.

Joe Tartarotti

Based in Milan, Italy, Joe Tartarotti is an American traditional tattooist with an unconventional approach. While his style remains rooted in traditional American tattooing, he adds extra detail and intricate lines to his work, creating a mesmerizing sense of complexity. Joe Tartarotti’s American traditional tattoos captivate the eye with their dizzying intricacy, revealing a whole new dimension to the classic style.

Moira Ramone

Residing in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Moira Ramone is an artist who infuses American traditional tattooing with her imaginative block color work. While she appreciates and skillfully executes the usual motifs of birds and women, Moira truly shines when she adds an extra layer to the story. Her traditional American designs often incorporate darker aesthetics and combine multiple images into one grand tattoo, providing a unique and captivating twist on the genre.

Pablo Lillo

Based in Barcelona, Italy, Pablo Lillo is a respected tattooist who brings his flair to traditional American skulls, women, and dragons. While he embraces the classic color-blocking approach, Lillo’s color palette is a striking mixture of neon greens and oranges that ignites each piece. His tattoos truly capture the essence of American traditional art, offering an unforgettable visual experience.

Florian Santus

With nearly a decade of experience in tattooing, Florian Santus is an accomplished artist based in Paris, France. He brings a flexible approach to traditional American tattooing, offering black-gray and classic colorwork. Santus’s artistry shines through in his large-scale tattoos, whether adorning the back or as part of a limb or leg sleeve. His work combines classic American traditional imagery with his unique creative vision, resulting in striking and captivating designs.


Indulging in the allure of thick black outlines, Bobeus is a tattoo artist who pours his heart and artistry into American traditional style. Co-owning the True Blue Tattoo studio in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Bobeus creates uplifting and feel-good tattoo spectacles. With swirling lines and vibrant colors, his tattoos are a feast for the eyes, celebrating the beauty and diversity of American traditional art.

Matt Houston

Bringing the old-school aesthetic to Vancouver, Canada, tattooist Matt Houston showcases his traditional American tattoo art series. Houston incorporates bold black outlining and striking colors, infusing his tattoos with darker shades for a touch of mystery. His designs offer an intriguing take on the traditional American style, resonating with those who appreciate classic and enigmatic elements.

Kim-Anh Nguyen

Kim-Anh Nguyen, an American traditional tattooist based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, is praised for her clean and experienced approach to classic designs. Having traveled the WorldWorld, Nguyen incorporates every symbol of the American traditional style into her work, establishing herself as a trusted name in the tattoo community. Her skillful execution of vibrant, traditional images of women, flower tattoos, and hearts makes her an exceptional artist in the American traditional style.


Jon FTW is an Australian tattoo artist making waves in Brisbane with his American traditional tattoo art. His creations feature a stunning blend of reds and blues, breathing life into sublime, fresh designs. Whether it’s cherubs or women reimagined with a mystical touch, Jon FTW’s art remains true to the heart of American traditional tattooing, capturing the imagination with every stroke.


American traditional tattoos possess a rich and lustrous history unmatched by any other tattoo style. As the next generation of tattoo artists embarks on their artistic journeys, guided by the legacy of these talented individuals, the popularity and innovation of American traditional tattoos continue to soar.

Whether captivated by the bold lines and limited color palette or drawn to the timeless imagery, American traditional tattoo art offers a truly captivating and ever-evolving world of creativity.

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It’s time to embrace American traditional tattoo art’s beauty, individuality, and everlasting appeal. Get ready to make your mark!

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