By Isabelle Morin
In recent years, tattoos have become more of a symbol of self-expression and artistic freedom than just a part of cultural tradition. But like the practice and trend of tattooing, tattoos are also timeless and permanent.
So, if you want to avoid regretting your decisions or spending even more on correcting a bad tattoo, then you should only consider the best tattoo shops in Calgary for this job.
Now, finding the perfect design can already be hard enough, so we’re here to help you find the shops that have the best tattoo artists, whether artistic or cosmetic. We also answered FAQs and explained what the best tattoo shop and artist means for us to help you understand the topic more.
Let’s first talk about how much you may spend when getting a tattoo in Calgary.
How Much Do Tattoos Cost in Calgary
If you go into a tattoo shop, they’ll most likely present you with an hourly rate. However, some tattoos may be simple enough to finish in less than an hour, so tattoo shops have a minimum charge.
This table will tell you what to expect for your tattoo services:
|Type of cost||Estimated price range|
We also noted how much you may spend depending on how big the tattoo or the tattooed area will be. Here are such costs:
|Type of tattoo||Estimated costs|
The Best Tattoo Shops and Artists in Calgary
Our list is diverse so that you can choose the best tattoo shop in Calgary that offers your desired art styles. We also tried to suggest at least one tattoo artist from each shop to help you start your portfolio search.
We also tried to make sure that the tattoo shops listed below are compliant with health and sanitation protocols. So, all of these shops use single-use needles or have in-house autoclaves for the sterilization of needles.
1. Gypsy Rose – Nina
|STYLES||Graphic imagery, biomech, portraiture, realism, geometric, dotwork, blackwork, mandalas|
|ADDRESS||3132 26th St. NE #102 Calgary, AB T1Y 6Z1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 275-9844|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Thursday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM|
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Gypsy Rose brands itself as the friendliest Calgary tattoo and piercing shop. This is mainly because it accepts walk-ins and gives back to the community by doing charitable events.
It has seven tattoo artists and two body piercers whom clients can freely choose from when booking their tattoo session. Gypsy Rose even offers consultations with its artists for free and has its portfolio online for everyone to see.
Nina, the shop’s founder, is one of these tattoo artists and is a veteran when it comes to neo-traditional, floral, portrait, and wildlife designs. Her experience can be traced back to as early as 1999.
The tattoo shop also uses single-use needles and never reuses any ink. And while it still uses stainless steel tools, Gypsy Rose also does sterilization with its autoclaves that are tested monthly by the Provincial Lab of Alberta.
However, Gypsy Rose also requires a $120 deposit for each tattoo design, so make sure you get that ready beforehand if you choose them.
Gypsy Rose is recommended by their clients for their detailed aftercare support and friendly vibe. Here are such reviews:
“I had an amazing experience at Gypsy Rose. My tattoo artist was awesome (Naia). She was extremely professional and enthusiastic about my tattoo and took all my feedback and did a super awesome sketch. She made me feel very comfortable during the experience and encouraged me despite me being a wimpy baby. Her line work, shading, and stippling was all perfect and when I saw the tattoo in the mirror I could not help giving her a Covid elbow bump and telling her she killed it! I would highly recommend Naia and Gypsy Rose and I think Naia is on her way to being the next ink master! The place was clean professional and the equipment was excellent and comfortable and the price very reasonable and fair.”—Faazil Kassam
“I’ve been going to see Ryan to get my Inca sleeve done, and he’s been nothing but exceptional. He had great ideas for the design and has been very professional throughout each session. His work so far is amazing; his shading and realism art are very detailed and clean. It’s turned out much better than I anticipated and I’m looking forward to more sessions with him. Highly recommend!”—Josh Portier
2. Eternal Image – John Boletta and Scott Veldhoen
|STYLES||Realism, linework, cartoon, floral, new school, realism, Japanese|
|ADDRESS||1209 10th Ave SE Calgary, AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 228-3958 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:000 PM|
Eternal Image brands itself as the best tattoo shop in Inglewood as it guarantees to tattoo its clients only if they’re 100% satisfied with the presented design. It also guarantees to make its clients comfortable by being conversational and light-handed during the tattoo session.
This shop is home to two tattoo artists, John Boletta and Scott Veldhoen. They differ in expertise and style, but both accept any tattoo size request and deliver eye-catching colours and bold blacks and greys.
John is more focused on black and grey designs showing realism, punk, and floral designs in black and grey. On the other hand, Scott leans more on colourful new school and realist designs.
However, since the pandemic, Eternal Image has been slower in responding to appointment requests. So, expect to wait around 3-5 days before receiving any response from them if you choose Eternal Image.
Customers of Eternal Image love and recommend the shop for its work and people. Read these reviews to gain better insight about the shop:
“Eternal Image is proof of high degree excellence. Scott is top tier. I had brought my ideas to him and his creativity/artistry brought them to fruition. He will not allow you to be tatted unless you are 100% happy. Truly impressive. Monica runs the front room. She is nothing but professional and provides a genuine positive feel to anyone walking through their doors. Amazing and accommodating. All the staff (including John and Dylan) are exceptional and provide a great atmosphere for creativity and fun while getting tattoed.”—Adonis Munoz
“Scott did a half sleeve for me with 3 small cover ups underneath it.. Incredible artist, I gave him FULL creative control on the piece and am super pumped with the finished piece and the entire process. Very clean, welcoming shop. Highly recommended.”—Scott Wearmouth
3. Strange World Tattoo – Paulo Da Butcher
|STYLES||New school, traditional, Japanese, portraits, realism, microblading|
|ADDRESS||5403 Crowchild Trail NW #103, Calgary, AB T3B 4Z1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 282-8181 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
Strange World Tattoo prides itself on having internationally-acclaimed artists as they have attended and won in global tattoo conventions and festivals. This shop also guarantees the highest standard of sterilization practices as it has an autoclave and single-use needles.
With five in-house artists and two others who visit the shop regularly, Strange World Tattoo can project new school, traditional, realist, and portrait designs into its clients’ desired placement.
Among the artists, Paulo is one of the most sought-after, all thanks to his Japanese, traditional, and wildlife designs. He is also described as kind and easy to work with.
By the way, this shop also offers microblading for customers who want a permanent tattoo of their eyebrows.
Aside from its tattoo services, Strange World also does ear and facial piercings. This shop even sells tattoo and piercing gift bags as part of their aftercare support.
Strange World’s appointment scheduling is also conveniently done online, with only a $100 deposit. That said, it still has a strict cancellation policy wherein you need to inform them at least 72 hours before the appointment should you plan to cancel.
Customers have praised Strange World Tattoo for its excellent quality and superb staff and artists. Here are some customer reviews to tell you more:
“I want to share my gratitude for the people who own and work at Strange World.
I’ve spent my share of hours in the shop having a sleeve done by Paolo and it was always a fun and positive atmosphere and experience. They are a family and they treat their customers like family. That’s why so many people keep going back time and time again. My deepest appreciation for being the best tattoo shop in Calgary! I highly recommend and I’m already anticipating my next piece.”—Wyatt Then
“I have had a few tattoos done at Strange World now. All the artists are very skilled in their artwork. They take pride in their work. The place is very clean and they have extremely high standards of hygiene. I would certainly recommend them for your tattoo artistry. Thank you Paulo for today, the tattoo turned out just how I wanted it.”—Julia Bicknell
4. New Dimension Tattoos – Peel
|STYLES||Portraits, wildlife, floral, realism|
|ADDRESS||B2, 808 Edmonton Trail, NE, Calgary, AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403)-719-8099 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
New Dimension is a shop dedicated only to tattoos. It prides itself on its use of single-use tools, from tubes and needles to barrier controls.
While New Dimension only has two artists, Peel and Michele, it can still deliver tattoos of varying styles and complexities. It is an expert when it comes to inking customized, floral, portrait, realism, and wildlife designs that can either be coloured or in greyscale.
This tattoo shop guarantees no consultation and drawing fees, no hidden charges, and minimal fees. Besides, New Dimension is one of the more affordable shops as it only has a minimum charge of $90.
New Dimension also offers numerous payment options since it also requires a deposit before finalizing any scheduled appointments. But you should know, this fee is only good for one drawing and can be lost if you cancel less than 2 days before the appointment.
Additionally, New Dimension has been subject to an issue with the AHS due to its non-compliance with some COVID protocols.
Here are reviews from New Dimensions satisfied customers to tell you what to expect should you choose New Dimensions among the best Calgary tattoo shops:
“I got my first tattoo last weekend from Peel @ New Dimensions. Being it was my first tattoo and my dislike for needles, I was pretty anxious about the whole thing. Well the experience was nothing like I pictured. Peel was AWESOME! He made me feel very comfortable before, during and after while I was getting my tattoo and talked our ear off the whole time with some great stories about the tattoo industry. It was overall a great experience and I’m already thinking about my second tattoo and what I’d get next! Hee hee! Thanks Peel for the experience and for settling my nerves. Really appreciate it and love my tattoo!”—Emilie Tompkins
“Came in from out of town for a few days and they went out of their way to accommodate me. Sarah was super friendly and helpful. The shop was extremely and inviting. Michele did my tat and she did a fabulous job! Will definitely be back again and I highly recommend this tattoo shop!”—Mandy Durdin
5. Ambassador Tattoo – Dan Cameron
|ADDRESS||108-7500 Macleod Trail SW Calgary, AB, T2H 0L9|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 253-9099|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday, Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
Tuesday – Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Ambassador Tattoo may have only been founded recently, but it has nonetheless provided highly artistic tattoos to Calgarians. This tattoo shop has also been praised for its clean and sanitary surroundings.
The shop’s small team was founded by tattoo artist Dan Cameron, who has spent over 15 years practicing the art of tattoos. Despite having such a small team, Ambassador Tat provides a wide range of tattoo styles that you can see for yourself in Dan’s portfolio.
These designs include realistic drawings as well as Japanese tattoos. Ambassador’s designs are anything but economized as its portfolio shows large tattoo designs full of rich colours.
Ambassador Tattoo also prides itself on its silent tattooing techniques and its accommodating artists. Additionally, previous clients have praised its flexible scheduling.
However, this tattoo shop seems to lack a receptionist and so most staff are unavailable to accept calls, especially during tattooing appointments. So, if you want a tattoo shop that can get back to you every time you call, then this might not be it.
With its professional and friendly artists, it’s no wonder why customers like these recommend Ambassador Tattoo:
“AMAZING! We went in as a group getting memorial tattoos and Dan was very accommodating, fun and easy going! The shop is very clean and comfortable. All 5 tattoos turned out perfect! Can’t say enough good things about ambassador tattoo and Dan!”—Whitney Pitze
“This was my first time at Ambassador. They did an incredible job transforming the space into a relaxed and artistic atmosphere. Stephanie is an incredible artist. We reworked the stencil several times before we were both satisfied with the tattoo placement. Every staff member (and client for that matter) was friendly and cheerful. An afternoon well spent!”—Carole Carby
6. Boss Tattoos
|STYLES||Realism, geometric, americana, blackwork, floral, portraiture|
|PORTFOLIO||Check each artist’s page|
|ADDRESS||8 Parkdale Crescent NW, unit 202 (upstairs from the LAZY LOAF)|
1301 10ave SW, unit 201 (upstairs from MONKI)
1003 4515 Macleod Trail SW
1331 9AVE SE
|CONTACT DETAILS||(825) 561-BOSS (2677)|
Now if you’re looking for a recognized shop but don’t want to travel too far for it, then Boss Tattoos may be the shop you need to go to. This tattoo shop has four locations spread out in Calgary alone.
It has locations in Macleod, Parkdale, Inglewood, and Beltline, with the latter three strictly appointments-only. Luckily, those who are having a spontaneous and exciting day can simply walk into the Macleod location for a walk-in inking session.
Each location also has a minimum of seven tattoo artists to cater to several clients at a time. It has this many tattoo artists because Boss Tattoos is a collective tattoo shop.
Their designs range from big and colourful traditional Americanas to smaller floral and geometric prints.
Because of this arrangement, Boss’s tattoo artists also work their very own individual tattoo trades. Thus, their time and attention may be split between Boss Tattoos’ clients and their own, so scheduling and communications may not be the best experience with them.
From simple outlines to complex tattoos, Boss Tattoos can handle just about anything, thanks to its large artist network. Here are more reviews to tell you about what to expect should you choose Boss Tattoos as the best tattoo shop in Calgary:
“Great shop, phenomenal experience full of very talented artists. Got a portrait done on my chest by Saga Anderson, professional, informative and super chill. This artist isn’t just good he is absolute Magic, I couldn’t be happier with my tattoo, would recommend him hands down for anyone looking for a realism tattoo.”—Philip Gibson
“This is a review for JOHN ROBERTS. He’s done both of my sleeves 10 years apart. Love his art work and will refer everyone to see him. On top of being an incredible artist, he’s fun to work with and if you have to spend 6-8 hrs a day with someone its good to be able to laugh and have good conversations. I’ve done both arms in color and they look awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better artist, because it really is art. Left him with some concepts and he whipped up some awesome ideas and we went from there. Even drove over 600 kms round trip to get work done. Will absolutely be back. Thanks Johnny.”—Ethan Kortbeek
7. Kensho Tattoo – Rick “Horioka”
|STYLES||Japanese, Americana, blackwork|
|ADDRESS||#202 320 10th. st. N.W. Calgary AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 454-9500 |
Some tattoo shops also have specialties, which is the case for this next entry. Kensho Tattoo is well-known as one of the best tattoo shops in Calgary for Japanese tattoo designs.
Its leading tattoo artist has extensive experience and practice with the Japanese tattoo legend, Kisaragi. So, clients who really want authentic Japanese tattoos can come to this shop with high expectations.
But Kensho Tattoo also offers more styles as it also has artists who can do Americana and blackwork designs. Despite the grandiosity of these tattoo styles, Kensho Tattoo is accepting of all types of tattoo requests, no matter how big or small.
While Japanese tattoos often have numerous colours, Kensho Tattoo is also still open for black and grey designs.
Customers have also praised Kensho Tattoos for their clean and comforting ambience. Some have even lauded this shop for its fast tattooing.
At Kensho Tattoo, artists are said to be skilled, considerate, and friendly so that the tattoo experience is as comfortable as can be. Here are the statements previous customers have shared:
“Amazing experience for my first tattoo! I brought a rough sketch for a simple design to Kevin, who took it to the next level. He was very understanding about it being my first tattoo and calmed fears. The place was very clean and they use disposable equipment – so it’s always sterile before use. I walked in exploring, and was out the door with my tattoo in less than 1.5 hours!! I was impressed and VERY happy with my tattoo. It wasn’t painful and continues to heal very well 🙂 Thank you Kevin!! I know where to go when I’m ready for more!!”—Shaista Hasham
“Followed Kevin from Immaculate Concepts to Kensho Tattoo. Love his art and such a chill and relaxed person. Will never go elsewhere for ink!” —Pei-chi Chang
8. Hoi Tattoo
|ADDRESS||607 Confluence Way SE East Village Calgary, AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 813-8083 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
Now let’s take a break from all the wild and imaginative tattoo designs and focus on the mixture of facial beauty and artistry. Hoi Tattoo offers scalp and eyebrow tattooing using the latest cosmetic techniques.
When it comes to eyebrow tattoos, Hoi Tattoo offers nano brows and henna brows. It even combines these needling techniques with powder shading to give its clients eyebrows that are permanently on fleek.
As it focuses on making its clients beautiful, Hoi Tattoo also does lash lifts and tints and lip blushes. Aside from facial cosmetics, Hoi Tattoo also helps Calgarians who are having severe hair loss problems with its scalp microblading.
Hoi Tattoo’s commitment to helping people goes beyond its immediate services as it also offers cosmetic tattoo training for those interested.
Since their expertise lies in cosmetic tattooing, don’t expect any coloured art designs here. So if you’re looking for that, then you’d need to find another shop.
Read these reviews from Hoi Tattoo’s clients to know what’s in store for you if you choose them:
“I can’t say enough about Hoi and her talent! She is fantastic, makes you feel comfortable, and delivers beyond expectations. Completely worth the investment. Thanks Hoi, they definitely will compliment my look for the wedding and every other day!”—Jami L
“So glad and lucky that I came to the right place for my scalp micropigmentation! Awesome place, awesome job, awesome Lance the artist!”—Federico C
9. Studio Phi Tattoo – Dustin Poole
|STYLES||Japanese, art nouveau, blackwork, geometric, classic neo traditional, Americana|
|ADDRESS||217 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A4|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 277-4449|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Sunday: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM|
Studio Phi Tattoos is an expert of numerous tattoo styles, from overwhelmingly big classic traditional and art nouveau styles to simple yet clean geometric and blackwork designs.
It also accepts requests for cover-ups, custom, and walk-in tattoo requests, but at a limit due to the current health restrictions.
The founder of this shop, Dustin Poole, has a passion and experience in graffiti art. With his talent, he makes Studio Phi Tattoos a suitable tattoo shop for those who want to put lots of ideas and elements into one big tattoo design.
Studio Phi’s large team of three also has a cosmetic tattoo expert. So, those who want designs on their body and permanent makeup on their face may treat Studio Phi as a one-stop-shop for all their inking needs.
This tattoo shop has also been praised for its clean and sanitized studio, along with its staff that strictly follows health protocols.
Aside from tattoo services, Studio Phi also has products with tattoo designs for sale.
Customers have also praised Studio Phi for its accommodating staff. Here are such reviews to tell you more:
“I’ve had the pleasure of getting tattooed by each of the artists, Dustin, Kent, and Alex Zgud who did my most recent piece. Absolutely love the atmosphere, relaxed and not pretentious. They all smile and that makes a world of difference to me, they understand the value of customer service and the impact of getting a work of meaningful art tattooed on your permanently. Can’t recommend them enough!”—Dario Hudon
“I highly recommend Chad! Great artist, perfect customer service and of course above all, great at tattooing. This was the quickest and least painful tattoo I’ve ever had despite it being one of the biggest I’ve gotten. Will definitely go back to Chad if and when I get another tattoo!”—Ashleigh Boyd
10. Fox and the Machine Tattoo – Chris Spence
|STYLES||Realism, floral, blackwork, doted, neo-traditional, black and grey, custom|
|ADDRESS||#11 2030 – 11 Street SE Calgary, AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 452-8750|
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
Fox and the Machine bring to life high-quality designs while still keeping in mind what the client wants. To achieve such a feat, this tattoo shop conducts one-on-one consultations where they exchange creative juices with their clients.
Because it focuses more on what clients want, Fox and the Machine mainly offers custom designs. Its team gains inspiration from signature tattoo styles like realism, floral, blackwork, doted, and traditional.
But what sets Fox and the Machine apart is that it makes the entire tattooing process comfortable. First, it provides comfort by giving refreshments even before the procedure.
Next, its tattoo stations have multimedia options so customers can opt to either listen to music or watch their comfort movies and shows. Lastly, Fox and the Machine provides an aftercare package so clients can make the healing process the best.
The only bad thing we could find about this shop is its location. So, should you choose this tattoo shop, make sure you follow the instructions for finding it carefully and patiently.
Because of the different ways it makes customer experience smooth and relaxing, Fox and the Machine Tattoo has gained numerous 5-star reviews such as these:
“The owner Dean was absolutely a pleasure to talk with and very personable. Asked us if we wanted coffee or water and ensured us that the artist was on his way (we arrived before opening time). Thereafter the artist (Chris Spence) took over and was very welcoming. He did an amazing job on the tattoo that was requested. He adjusted and changed the tattoo to the liking. There was not a single spec of feeling uncomfortable.”—Regino Zapata
“Very clean and professional shop. Very characteristic building the shop is in, and right by an awesome coffee shop. I got three tattoos in one go with Leah, and she treated me with care and professionalism the whole time. They are gorgeous and amazing tattoos. I was in their space for hours, and felt right at home the whole time. I will definitely be coming again soon!”— Bianca Dayrit
11. Robot House Tattoo – John Roberts
|STYLES||Portraiture, realism, new school|
|ADDRESS||8 Parkdale Crescent NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3T8|
|CONTACT DETAILS||[email protected]|
Robot House Tattoo is another shop offering custom tattoos to Calgarians. Its owner, John Roberts, has a degree in fine arts and has been honing his craft for over three decades.
With his years of expertise and background, John has won numerous awards for his tattoo art, paintings, and sketches. John’s designs are derived from realism, new school, and portrait styles.
With such inspirations, Robot House Tattoo offers high-value custom designs for its clients. John simply asks his clients for their vision and does the creative process himself, occasionally asking his clients for collaborative input and feedback.
To ensure that he provides only high-quality tattoos, he only accepts a limited amount of requests every quarter of the year. That said, you may have to fight over a spot with other potential customers when booking with this tattoo shop.
Because of its owner’s background in fine arts, Robot House Tattoo is pretty well-known for its unique designs and the high-value pieces it delivers. Here are some more reviews to tell you more:
“I have several tattoos (including two sleeves) by John Roberts and can attest to his artistic talent, welcoming/collaborative approach, and perhaps most importantly, his focus on professionalism and customer service above all- something that is relatively rare in the industry. I would recommend him to anyone in a heartbeat.”—Cory Smith
“Amazing experience! Fair prices, great designs and really professional artists (John Roberts was our tattoo artist).”—Emilie Boucher
12. An Tattoo Inc. – Chiwon An
|STYLES||Japanese and Asian style, black and grey, realism|
|ADDRESS||102 7 Street SW Calgary, AB T2P 5N7|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Fill out the contact form for tattoo inquiries and appointments|
|OPERATING HOURS||Contact for more details|
Among the best tattoo shops in Calgary, An Tattoo is well-known for being an expert in black and grey and Asian designs. Each of its tattoo artists has its own specialty but they all ink creative and realistic designs.
Two of the shop’s artists, Sunyul Irezumi and Chiwon An, carry a heavy influence from Asian art thanks to their time in South Korea. On the other hand, the other artist, Lindsey Percentile, focuses more on black and grey realism.
The tattoo shop encourages clients to schedule their appointments via email so they can also send pictures or sketches for reference. They also do in-person consultations to allow a better flow of ideas between artist and customer.
But don’t get too excited, even if you’re already above 18 years old. That’s because An Tattoo accepts limited tattoo requests and ink only for those who are at least 20 years old.
Customers revere An Tattoos for its dedication and talents. Here are customer reviews to tell you more about this tattoo shop:
“Amazing! I can’t say enough good things about my experience with Chiwon at An Tattoo. Everything about the process, from the original consult to completing three sessions on my sleeve, exceeded my expectations. Professionalism, cleanliness, and most importantly the extremely high quality of the tattoo work were all amazing. The vibe in the shop really complimented the experience, with the décor of masks/artwork and the music playing helping to pass the time. I would highly recommend Chiwon/An Tattoo and am already thinking of what to get done next here!”—Lance Dunn
“Chiwon did an amazing tattoo for me! I am a long time tattoo collector and the piece he did is by far my favourite. Clean shop and very professional. I will definitely return for more work and recommend this shop to anyone looking for a great artist in Calgary.”—Erica Cyr
13. Human Kanvas – Chris Stout
|STYLES||Traditional, realism, watercolor, tribal, new school, neo-traditional, Japanese, blackwork, illustrative, Chicano, stick poke, typography, floral, geometric|
|ADDRESS||#323 – 2555 32 ST NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 7J6|
#5 – 100 Anderson Rd SE, Calgary, AB T2J 3V1
#106, 960 Yankee Valley BLVD SE Airdrie, AB T4A 2E4
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 291-4295|
Human Kanvas is yet another tattoo shop that’s a collection of different local artists from Calgary and Airdrie. It has a total of 16 tattoo artists, six of which are based in Calgary.
With a lot of artists, it can thus cater to an assortment of desired tattoo styles, including traditional, realism, new school, typography, and geometric. Each artist has a distinct style, which is why Human Kanvas also encourages its customers to choose an artist before appointments.
Human Kanvas also has guest artists at times. Among its artists, Chris Stout is one of the most well-reviewed thanks to her eye for detail, expertise in tribal and geometric designs, and tattooing awards.
Another great thing about Human Kanvas is that it accepts group bookings, by the way. So, those looking forward to an inking during bachelorette parties may benefit from this shop.
But all of these benefits come at a price because Human Kanvas’s hourly rates and deposits are above average. Its hefty prices are also exclusive of the fees associated with disposable tools and are non-refundable in case of cancellation.
Check out these reviews to know what makes customers continue to choose Human Kanvas:
“My first tattoo from Chris at this shop. Made me feel comfortable and relaxed during. Went back to see Chris for a second tattoo a month later, followed by 2 tattoos from Aaron. 4 out of 9 of my current tattoos are from here and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks!!”
“I came in looking to add a little pizazz to a tired tattoo. Chris Stout was eager to help me and did an amazing job. More than what I expected. My tattoo looks fresh and amazing again. Highly recommended”—Graham Keith
14. Skull and Lotus Tattoo – Jasper and Lisa
|STYLES||Outlines, black and grey, realism, cartoon, floral, wildlife|
|ADDRESS||102-5824 2 St SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0H2|
|OPERATING HOURS||Wednesday – Saturday: 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM |
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Now, if you want a conveniently located tattoo shop, then Skull and Lotus Tattoo near Chinook Mall may be a suitable option for you. This tattoo shop has seven artists whose designs range from simple outlines to bolder black and grey designs.
The standout artist, based on the shop’s clients we heard from, is Jasper. Jasper is well-known for her neat and simple yet elegant black and grey designs.
The best thing about this shop is that its tattoo artists are constantly making designs and displaying these artworks online. So, Calgarians deciding on a tattoo design can simply pick one from Skull and Lotus’s ‘Up for Grabs’ designs.
After choosing a design, clients can then send their deposits and Skull and Lotus will then schedule their appointment. During the appointment, the tattoo shop guarantees to use only disposable materials.
Aside from inking designs on the skin, Skull and Lotus Tattoo also prints designs on shirts, bags, and masks. So, those who want to get artistic merchandise can also benefit from this tattoo shop.
Skull and Lotus Tattoo is also known for its excellent customer service throughout the process, from the actual tattoo session to touch-up sessions. Here are reviews that have the same thoughts:
“It was my first time getting a tattoo here, and it will definitely not be my last! Jasper was my tattoo artist, and they were even able to take me a little early so I could fill out paperwork and make sure everything was all good. Once the tattoo is healed, I will absolutely post photos! I cannot praise Jasper enough, they have gone above and beyond to provide me with the best care and information.”—Jillian Hussey
“Lisa is the sweetest! She did my first tattoo around 1.5 years ago and she was so incredibly patient and kind. I came in for a touch up today and she was just as amazing. Her art is beautiful and she went out of her way to make sure it was the piece I wanted. She also made sure to squeeze me in for an appointment. The shop is so cool too and has such a sweet and welcoming atmosphere! Would highly recommend paying them a visit :)”—Garland Chan
15. Leaves with Ink – Leaves Dyer Nick Nebula
|STYLES||Black and grey, realism, floral, Japanese|
|ADDRESS||815 1st Street SW Calgary, AB, Canada T2P 1N3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(587) 215-9008 | [email protected]|
|OPERATING HOURS||Always open|
Black and grey designs are also an undying trend in the tattoo industry, and that’s exactly what Leaves with Ink provides. As an expert in monochrome designs, this shop also offers tattoo customization.
This shop welcomes everyone, from first-time tattoo customers who still have incoherent ideas to those in need of covering up an old and poorly-done tattoo. Aside from being accommodating, Leaves with Ink is also known for its calming demeanour with clients.
Because it only has a small team, it also guarantees flexible scheduling – hence the ‘always open’ operating hours. Additionally, Leaves with Ink is also well-known for inking properly and professionally but also fastly and efficiently.
Despite focusing only on black and grey tattoo designs, Leaves with Ink still plays with colours when it comes to the paintings on canvas it sells.
Leaves with Ink’s accommodating atmosphere is certainly what customers like the most about the shop. Here are reviews that echo such comment:
“Leaves is easy going, very honest and creative guy. I walked in with a list of things I wanted incorporated into my first tattoo and no real direction on how it was to be done. 2 other artists turned me down but after a 20 minute sit down with Leaves, all he said was “Give me 3 days” haha. Now I have this beautiful work of art I will cherish. (photo is of tattoo still in the works)”—Cody Corkin
“Was in town for a funeral – NEEDED my first ink (in memoriam) and to get it while I was “home”. With short notice, Leaves slipped me in before my flight out. And delivered the perfect tat. Started with an internet vision, and he modified per desires and added amazing texture. Good guy, good talent. Everything I could ask for of the experience. Thanks a ton, Leaves! I’ll never forget my first. ;)”—Blake Watters
16. Cinnamon Girl – Jody Stoski
|STYLES||Cosmetic and paramedical tattooing|
|ADDRESS||#208 – 4616 Valiant Dr NW Calgary, AB T3A0X9|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM|
This next entry is yet another clinic offering cosmetic tattooing. Cinnamon Girl is one of the go-to clinics for permanent makeup like eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip tattoos.
Their tattoo strokes are precise and natural-looking, thus making their services applicable for those with alopecia and other hair loss issues. It even has colour boost services to make sure the results match your natural hair colour.
Additionally, Cinnamon Girl combines micropigmentation with microneedling to camouflage surgical and acne scars, stretch marks, and even radiation markers acquired from cancer treatment.
But you should know, permanent makeup is an expensive treatment and getting it from Cinnamon Girl is no different.
Again, Cinnamon Girl is purely for cosmetic tattoos. So, you’ll have to find another shop if you’re looking for artistic skin designs.
Read these reviews to learn more about what makes Cinnamon Girl among the top places with the best tattooists in town:
“I originally had my brows tattooed by Jody in 2016. Ive had them retouched every 2 years since. I love the artistry of my brow shape. And best yet, no more plucking, drawing and redrawing my brows, waking up with something missing every morning and truly feeling more beautiful. Thank you for sharing your talent Jody! The women working in your office are so very professional, kind and fun! See you in 2023!!!””—Dianne Versuchuere
“Expensive? Yes. Worth every single penny? YES. Jody is a talented Artist who operates in a bright sterile environment. I trusted her with both the design and color of my eyebrows, just before I went through chemotherapy. Her work kept me confident through my treatment and I continually receive compliments on my brows, often having to point out that they are not ‘real’. Colette is the goddess at reception who runs front-of-house, and is always wonderful to chat with. HIGHLY reccomended.”—Sarah Radomsky
17. 9 Element Tattoo – Jim Tran
|STYLES||Asian, floral, ornamental, anime, mandalas|
|PORTFOLIO||https://www.9element.com/9team (select artist)|
|ADDRESS||#41 3131 27th Street NE Calgary, AB, T1Y 0B3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403)-454-9930 |
If you want to display your favourite characters from your games, anime, or cartoons, then 9 Element Tattoo Studio may be a good addition to your shortlist. This tattoo shop has three in-house tattoo artists, one of which is an expert in bringing anime and gaming characters to life.
Jim, the artist who does the character designs, is also responsible for other coloured tattoo styles such as Japanese and floral. On the other hand, the two other artists Steph and Connie are more focused on small and simple yet elegant black and grey designs.
9 Element Tattoo Studio also provides more than just admirable tattoo designs because it also delivers excellent customer services. It does so by following the health protocols, sanitizing and cleaning the station, and accommodating design ideas and references.
Another great thing about this tattoo shop is that its required deposits are transferable to another person. So, while it does have strict cancelling policies, you can still make use of your deposit by giving it to another person.
However, you should know that this tattoo shop only accepts payments made in cash.
Here are some reviews from 9 Element’s satisfied customers to give you more details about the shop:
“Steph had an appointment time open up and I was able to nab it and claim one of her super cute flash pieces! The shop itself was very clean and beautiful, and all the staff seemed very friendly. Steph herself is so cute and patient, and she seems to genuinely love what she does. She was very quick and efficient with my tattoo, but it didn’t feel rushed or sloppy at all. My overall experience was relaxed and pleasant and I can’t wait to come back! I would love to get another tattoo from Steph, and also the shop’s owner Jim (his art looks amazing as well).”—Leah Roy
“Every time I come here I have an amazing experience. Everyone is always so nice and welcoming! My tattoo by Jim looks amazing and everyday I get stopped by people asking where I’ve gotten it done. I can’t wait to get more from him, and I’m looking forward to Getting pieces by Connie as well. Everyone here is so talented! Jim is very gentle and very easy to talk to as well which makes the whole experience phenomenal! 😌”—Cynthia Yu
18. Atticus Tattoo
|STYLES||Japanese, Americana, realism, black and grey, old school, neo-traditional, sacred geometry, Dharma, neotraditional, anime, script, watercolour, pets|
|PORTFOLIO||Choose an artist here|
|ADDRESS||618 1 Ave NE, Calgary, AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 719-6661 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM |
Thursday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Atticus Tattoo’s main priority is client comfort and satisfaction so it promises only the best services. It stays true to this priority by having a welcoming reception staff, offering flexible scheduling, and maintaining a clean and sanitary space.
Additionally, Atticus Tattoo offers free consultations and drawings so long as these tasks last up to 30 minutes only. This tattoo shop is open for walk-ins and custom tattoos as it has a big team of eleven experienced tattoo artists.
It also eases its clients’ worries of overcrowding by providing individual working stations for each tattoo artist.
Among its artists, Cam is well-reviewed for his Americana and Japanese designs. Kaylie, an artist who likes a little bit of every style, is also sought after for her small yet striking tattoo designs.
But this shop isn’t just a place to get tattoos. Atticus Tattoo also has q-switched laser equipment for those in need of tattoo removal services.
However, this shop’s customer services are not perfect as we’ve also found numerous complaints regarding long waiting times and sudden appointment changes. Some previous clients have also shared discontent over the shop’s poor accountability.
Read these reviews to know more about why clients view Atticus Tattoo as the best tattoo shop in Calgary:
“They say you always remember your first time… Cam was both gentle and attentive to my needs. In all honesty, Atticus created a great first tattoo experience for me. The reception staff were friendly and informative. Cam was very patient and answered all my silly questions with sincerity. There was a bit of a misunderstanding regarding tattoo design through email, but Cam was very accommodating and was happy to adjust during the face-face consultation. The establishment is very well kept, clean, and welcoming. 10/10 recommend. Thank you Atticus Team!”—Bryan Michaels
“Kaylie was absolutely fantastic!! Her ability to accommodate and communicate with her clients is amazing. She was very patient and understanding in which made me feel very comfortable, she is very talented and in what she does. I am in love with my tattoo and the design. I will definitely be back. Blake is also awesome!!”—Roni Sandrusi
19. Calibre Tattoo – Tea Phan
|STYLES||Floral, ornamental, sparkling unique pieces|
|ADDRESS||1528 9th Ave SE, Room 3020 Calgary, AB T2G 0T7|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(587) 896-8799 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM|
If you want bold, bright, and high-contrast colours for your tattoo, then Calibre Tattoo may be a suitable option for you. This private tattoo studio is home to artist Tea Phan.
At a young age, Tea has been active in the creative arts. Nowadays, she uses her talents to enhance and highlight a body part by inking floral, ornamental, and other designs on the skin.
Additionally, Calibre Tattoo provides access to Netflix and Spotify at their tattoo stations so clients can relax while getting inked.
Another great thing about Calibre Tattoo is that it also offers free virtual consultations. So, clients can finalize all necessary details with their tattoo artist without going out of their homes.
Because Calibre Tattoo only has one tattoo artist, it can thus guarantee flexible scheduling for tattooing sessions. That said, you’ll also have to wait longer when Calibre Tattoo has already received numerous scheduling requests.
Apart from all the qualities we’ve already shared, Calibre Tattoo is also known for its smooth and calm tattooing process. Here are reviews that have said so:
“I visited Tea in February for my lower abdomen piece and I have never met such a sweet, lovely, professional, and talented artist! She’s incredible. She walked me through the process, let me know everything I needed to, and kept me calm during the process. T made it very easy to relax and tune out the tattooing pain! Besides feeling right at home, she also did a phenomenal job taking my idea and transforming it into a piece of beauty I take pride in on my body. I can’t thank her enough for the gorgeous piece I have now! Highly recommend. If I could give 6/5 stars, I would. ☺️”—Cassidy Heathcote
“Sent her an idea and came to a customized version of it. One of a kind. Comfortable and as pain free as a tattoo can get 😂. Can’t wait to do my next one”—Adam McDow
20. Addictive Ink Tattoo and Piercing – Colin Ditchfield
|STYLES||Black and grey horror, realism, portrait and animal, large work, neo-traditional, dot work,|
|ADDRESS||117 Main St NW, Airdrie, AB T4B 0R3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 948-5518 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM|
Addictive Ink Tattoo and Piercing is an expert when it comes to realistic tattoos, all thanks to its four specialized tattoo artists. Colin, the tattoo studio’s owner, and Cass specialize in black and grey tattoos of portraits, animals, and other realistic themes.
But the tattoo shop also does coloured tattoos, thanks to the expertise of its three other artists who lean more on coloured designs. These artists also offer tattoo designs ranging from neo-traditional to dotwork.
These artists focus on customizing and designing complex tattoos but they are also open for walk-in customers.
With all of its services, Addictive Ink Tattoo has also won numerous awards. Additionally, Addictive Ink Tattoo is also a large shop of 5000-sqft so clients can have their personalized and breathable space while getting inked.
Despite all these positive qualities, Addictive Ink Tattoo still lacks the accessibility that other tattoo shops may have. This is because this tattoo shop is located outside of the city.
Read these reviews to know what to expect should you choose Addictive Ink as your tattoo shop:
“Only place I’d go for ink. Everyone in the shop is great and Colin and Cass are both talented artists and great people. The shop has a family vibe and they do everything they can to make you comfortable and relaxed when you walk in. In terms of the quality of the tattoos and hygiene they are 10/10. Colin did my upper arm and it looked better than I even pictured it. Very hygienic and you will see that the moment you walk in. Look no further, you’ve found your new go-to tattoo place!”—Ahad Qayamali
“I actually chose this place at the tattoo convention in Calgary, and boy, am I glad I did! Addictive Ink is awesome and I have no complaints at all. As a first-timer, Kailey made me feel super comfortable and was very honest and straightforward about everything. She’s super friendly and lovely. My mom and I both got tattoos and we’re both pleased with the results. Definitely coming back here if I get another tattoo!”—Grace O’Neil
21. Inktender Studio – Josh Lamoureux
|STYLES||Biomech, illustrative, and realism|
|ADDRESS||1802 1 St NW, #202 Calgary, AB T2M 2T2|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 971-6699 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM|
Inktender Studio may be among the younger tattoo shops in Calgary, but its owner and tattoo artist have been in the industry for a long. Josh Lamoureux started tattooing in 2008, with a special focus on biomechanical and realism styles.
While most of his work involves large tattoo designs that span numerous sessions, Josh is still open to inking all tattoo sizes, no matter how small or big.
Inktender also has two other tattoo artists, Johnny and Jimmy, who each have their strengths and specialties.
But no matter who clients choose among these three artists, they’re bound to expect an overall pleasant experience because of Inktender’s clean stations and multiple entertainment options.
But since Inktender is a private tattoo studio, tattoo sessions are only by appointment. So, make sure you let its staff know about your intentions before you visit this tattoo shop.
Read these reviews who found Inktender to be the best tattoo shop in Calgary for large scale pieces:
“Josh is just awesome in so many ways! Beyond patient, even when clients are a bit difficult, and always 100% professional. He worked on a large thigh piece for me which covers scarring that I have in the area. He was very respectful in his inquires for photos of the artwork and the scarring. He designed an amazing piece that flows so perfectly with the shape of my leg and covers the scarring beautifully. The detail in his work in absolutely incredible and his overall skill is outstanding. 5-7 hours of tattooing and my pain levels were never too much to handle. He’s very gentle and checks in often to make sure the client is doing okay.”—Faith Ristola
“A master at his craft. 2nd time spending a few hours in his chair and loved every minute of it minus the pain. But loved seeing the progress and results. His shading and colouring skills are what brought me in a couple years ago and I’ll be back to get my mosaic owl coloured. Above the quality of his work the studio is clean and sterile. Can’t wait to see the hockey them Reno’s come together! Thank you Josh!”—Trent Pattison
22. Little Witch Tattoo – Raven Wrathmore
|STYLES||Realism, portraiture, black and grey, neo-traditional|
|CONTACT DETAILS||[email protected]|
If you’re still deciding whether to get a realist or a neo-traditional black and grey tattoo, then Little Witch Tattoo may be of help. This tattoo shop uses only vegan-friendly and biodegradable ink while still making sure each tattoo is bold and bright in colour.
Little Witch Tattoo is home to an award-winning tattoo artist, Raven Wrathmore. She accommodates custom requests and draws inspiration from realism, illustrative, and neo-traditional designs.
Aside from artistic tattoos, Little Witch Tattoo is also open for illustration commissions. Additionally, it’s also preparing to launch its cosmetic tattooing services so that clients who want permanent makeup can also benefit from the shop’s services.
However, you should also know that Little Witch Tattoo is more of a travelling tattoo studio so that it only has limited appointment slots. Additionally, consistent no-shows are blacklisted.
That said, you’d have to watch out for their next locations before you book an appointment with this tattoo shop.
Common Tattoo Styles
Here are the common tattoo styles and a short description to help you describe your desired styles to your tattoo artists:
- Realism features designs that look much like photographs of nature, wildlife, and even real people. It can also cover 3D tattoo styles.
- Traditional is all about bold colours and thick lines that usually paint a picture of roses, lady heads, anchors, and significant historical symbols.
- Japanese style features creatures and sceneries from Asian mythology and folklore. These are often colourful and big tattoos.
- Tribal designs show patterns from cultural traditions from around the world. Polynesian, Norse, Samoan, and Celtic tattoos are the most common types of this tattoo style.
- New school ranges from popular aesthetics to wacky designs and caricatures. It also features bright or bold colours to match such comic designs.
- Neo-traditional,like its name suggests, is a combination of new school and traditional designs. So, it looks like colourful caricatures of traditional symbols.
- Biomechanical is all about wires, gears, and metal pieces that look as if you have robotic and mechanical parts underneath your skin.
- Wildlife usually features flowers, sceneries, animals, and even the atmosphere.
What Makes the Best Tattoo Shop and Tattoo Artist
1. Style expertise
The best tattoo shops in Calgary are those with artists who are experts in the specific tattoo style you have in mind. So, check out their portfolio and see if their previous work matches your vision.
Designs and tattoo trends come and go. So, the more your artist is dedicated to their art, they are also more likely to adapt to new style trends and techniques.
Professionals should have nothing less than crisp and straight lines so take note of this factor when browsing a shop’s portfolio. Incorporating saturated colours and contrast are also skills a tattoo artist should have.
Pictures of both right-after and post-healing pictures to show how their previous designs came to be would also be useful. Tattoos from good artists are still fully filled even after healing.
Just watch out for shops and artists whose portfolios only contain common and small tattoos or copied designs. A portfolio showing scarring in the tattoos is also a huge red flag and may be an indication that they’re still beginning or are still practicing without enough training.
3. Honesty and other morals
The best tattoo artist should also be honest and straightforward. They should be able to give clients advice when it comes to choosing the proper placement of their tattoos.
A moral tattoo artist should also refuse drugged or intoxicated clients. This helps prevent spur-of-the-moment decisions.
4. Sanitary practices
The most important factor to consider is a tattoo shop’s sanitary and hygienic practices.
The shop should have single-use equipment. If they don’t, then their staff must at least sterilize and disinfect their equipment before catering to the next clients.
Additionally, the artists should wash their hands before and wear gloves during the tattooing proper. They should also use different cloth or plastic covers for each client to avoid contamination.
Your chosen tattoo shop should also use disposable ink caps to avoid contamination of ink bottles.
Another way to rule out bad and unsanitary shops is by asking to see their recent public health inspection report. Tattoos are much like surface cosmetic surgeries, so they should have the approval of medical institutions like the Alberta Health Service (AHS).
Frequently Asked Questions about Tattoos
We hope our list of the best tattoo shops in Calgary helps you find a tattoo artist to bring your tattoo dreams and ideas to tangible reality. Just make sure you check their portfolio first so you choose an expert in the type of design you desire.
Do you know any other tattoo shops that you deem worthy of being a part of this list? If so, you can always share your recommendations with us so we can also help other Calgarians.
Tattooing requires strict aftercare so that the ink stays for long and your skin avoids any conditions. If you need help with taking care of your skin, you should consult both the best tattoo artist and the best dermatologists in Calgary.