The streets of Toronto, Canada have exploded onto the tattoo scene over the last decade. Being a huge metropolitan city and a huge tourist destination, it’s not a surprise that quality tattoo shops have thrived, especially on Queen St. where there seem to be more tattoo parlors per block than anything else. With so many varying talents around, it is important to do your research if you are looking to get permanently adorned with body art, and is important to recognize quality as well as reputation. Of course, not every list is comprehensive, but below we’ve provided a crash course into some of the best and brightest tattoo studios in Toronto.
Artist Winson Tsai
Chronic Ink’s inception was an anomaly of sorts. It all started almost by accident when in 2008, manager Ricky Fung was approached by a friend who was selling his tattoo studio. Apprehensive at first, he took advantage of the opportunity after seeing a tattooed female on the front page of Yahoo! Seeing a tattooed person on the front page of a major website was a big deal, and Ricky began his journey into the tattoo industry. It wasn’t without it’s growing pains. People were not rushing to get tattooed in Markham, Canada in 2008; tattoo culture hadn’t really blossomed yet. Everything turned around in 2010 when Ricky Tristen Zhang and Csaba Sipos and Tony Hu wound up attending the Northern Ink Xposure convention. Tristen tattooed a freehand half sleeve on Ricky’s arm and ended up winning tattoo of the day. It was that moment that made Chronic Ink realize what the possibilities could be. Now with two prosperous locations, over thirty collective awards, and a creative, motivated and talented team of artists, Chronic Ink Tattoos has made its mark on Canadian tattoo culture and continue to improve every day.
2. Beesting Tattoo – 348 S, Belle River, ON N0R 1A0 www.beestingtattoo.com
John Wayne got his start in the tattooing business the old-fashioned way, a homemade machine and trial and error. He had always been a designer of sorts, working at a sign company and other odd jobs, but tattooing found him through word of mouth. Having done his first tattoo on himself in 1989 with a sewing needle and some ink, Wayne has come a long way through hard work, perseverance and through paving his own path as an artist. Wayne has won countless awards for his incredible detail in color and photorealism as well as the ability to diversify his style from client to client. His use of saturation and color consistency has lent itself to his emergence as one of the best tattooers in all of Canada.
3. Fabrizio Divari – 1336 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4 www.fabriziodivari.com
Bold lines, vivid colors, unique patterns with splashes of traditionalism, Japanese, modern art, cubism and all creating a style of it’s own, Davari has earned the reputation of being one of the most versatile and interesting tattoo artists in Canada. Completely self taught in painting and the tattoo arts, Divari opened his first studio in 1996, but still travels to various of parts of the world throughout North America and overseas. His main operation is a successful and established parlor in Toronto, Canada.
Located in the art & design district on Queen Street in Toronto, Forever Young Ink is home to some of the best realism tattoo artists in the entire world. With six artists on board, FY Ink can cater to virtually any tattoo demand from any client, but it is the spectacular color realism of Potter and Q that stands out. Outstanding attention to detail, perfect contrast and shadowing, it’s not surprise that these two tattoo masters have gained a worldwide following. The Forever Young Ink mantra echoes the sentiments of cementing a moment, a work of art, an experience, and trapping it in a time capsule because “we’ll always be forever young.”
5. Sinful Inflictions – 108 Dundas Street West, Whitby ON L1N 2L9 www.sinfulinflictions.com
Artist Jason Stieva
5,000 square feet, three floors of studio space, a visit to Sinful Inflictions is a memory in and of itself. Featuring seven diverse, seasoned and award-winning tattoo artists, Sinful Inflictions is probably best known for it’s custom black and grey and religious tattoo work. One of the highlights of Sinful Inflictions is “The Sanctuary”, an elaborate art gallery that hosts exhibits and shows from spring to fall.
Other notable shops in the Toronto area include Barb Brown of Forevermore Tattoos, Jay Stirling of Jay Stirling Tattoos, and Matt Ellis & George Brown of Seven Crowns Tattoos. Hopefully, this brief list gives a little insight into the expansive world of Canada’s tattoo culture. The United States might be spoiled with the quality of art being produced, but our neighbors to the north truly have something unique and world-class to offer to the global tattoo scene.
written by Leo Gomon