10 celebrity fave tattoo artists – from Matt Damon’s Mr. K to HK’s Gabe Shum


When Angelina Jolie’s tattoo artist Mr. K posted a teaser pic of her latest tattoo, with the middle fingers blurred out, fans were quick to jump to the comments section to claim it was a “F** you” reference to her ex-husband, Brad Pitt.

The post went viral, leading the tattoo artist who shared the pic to jump in and shut down the rumours by responding with a comment saying the tat is “nothing related to Brad Pitt”. He also shared a new photo, with Jolie’s fingers un-blurred to reveal his work, and captioned an apology for any confusion and “stress” that may have been inflicted on Jolie as a result of the speculation.

But Mr. K is no nobody. In fact, he’s very much a somebody, especially in the world of tattoo artists, where he too is considered a celebrity with close to a million followers on Instagram alone. Here are 10 of the most trusted tattoo artists beloved by A-listers, that you can book too (if you’re lucky).

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1. Mr. K

Mr. K shows off his work on Matt Damon’s body in January. Photo: @mr.k_tattoo/Instagram

Besides Jolie, Mr. K has worked with clients such as Doja Cat, Sophie Turner, Liam Hemsworth, Rita Ora and Matt Damon, to name a few. The Seoul native studied at Parsons School of Design before pursuing his career as a tattoo artist. You can find him at New York City’s Bang Bang tattoo studio, where his single-needle works and intricate micro-style draws crowds from all over.

2. Kevin Paul

Kevin Paul has worked with Harry Styles. Photo: @carolineandco_photography/Instagram

Harry Styles has over 50 tattoos on his body, so it’s hardly surprising to hear that he has multiple tattoo artists on the go.

One of his speculated-about tats is his “17 Black” one, inked by Kevin Paul, who was referred to Styles by pal Ed Sheeran. According to GQ, Paul explained the meaning of the tattoo once and for all, saying: “Basically, Harry lost money gambling – I think it was in Australia – and he lost it on 17 black.”

Styles also has an “Olivia” tattoo, which is likely to be a tribute to his ex-girlfriend Olivia Wilde, the controversial director behind Don’t Worry Darling. It’s unclear which artist did this inking.

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3. Gabe Shum

Gabe Shum, a tattoo artist, poses for a photo at his studio in To Kwa Wan. Photo: Thomas Yau

Those in Asia are likely to pay a visit to Gabe Shum, a popular celebrity tattoo artist and founder at Hong Kong’s Freedom Tattoo.

Former England captain David Beckham shows his tattoo after he was asked to by students at Peking University during his visit to Beijing in March 2013. Photo: Reuters
Some of his top clientele include David Beckham and LeBron James.

4. Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy

Rihanna and Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy show off their tattoos. Photo: @bangbangnyc/Instagram

Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy has garnered a huge following over the years thanks to his long list of happy celebrity clientele.

From recognisable designs on the bodies of everyone from Rihanna to Justin Bieber, McCurdy has inked a number of iconic tats over the years, and boasts nearly 2.5 million followers on Instagram.

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5. Jon Boy

Jon Boy has inked everyone from Kendall Jenner to Drake. Photo: @jonboytattoo/Instagram
Known for his delicate tattoo artwork, Jon Boy is the go-to guy for models including Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, and rapper Drake.

With a studio in the heart of New York, the odd Hollywood celeb likes to pay him a visit too, like Drew Barrymore.

6. Dr. Woo

Dr. Woo is a famous LA-based tattooist. Photo: @_dr_woo_/Instagram

Dubbed “LA’s most sought-after tattooist” on his website, Brian Woo, aka Dr. Woo’s hyperrealistic creations have made him a hit among A-listers such as Miley Cyrus and Bella Hadid, who have both opted for his services in the past, according to Vogue.

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7. Mark Mahoney

Mark Mahoney is one of America’s OG tattoo artists. Photo: @markmahoney_ssc/Instagram
This famous 66-year-old American tattoo artist is said to be the founding father of black and grey art with a single needle. In fact, in 2017, The Hollywood Reporter even gave him the title of “high priest of Hollywood tattoo artists” thanks to his close relationships with A-list clients. The source added that Johnny Depp calls him “brother” and other fans include Adele, Lana Del Rey and Angelina Jolie.

8. Mike DeVries

With over 200,000 fans on Instagram, DeVries has become a hit among celebrities looking to get inked up, with Sylvester Stallone seeking out his skills for his colourful portrait tattoos.

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9. Jonathan Shaw

Tattoo lover Johnny Depp trusts Jonathan Shaw to do his inks. Photo: @jonathanshawworks/Instagram

Shaw reportedly founded New York City’s oldest tattoo shop, Fun City Tattoo, in 1976, before tattooing was even legal in the city. Time and legacy have been on his side, as he’s attracted the likes of Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, Demi Lovato and Iggy Pop, according to Paper Mag.

10. Scott Campbell

Tattoo artist Scott Campbell with legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk. Photo: @scottcampbell/Instagram

This New York-based tattoo artist swapped out his career as a biochemist to learn the art of inking, according to his bio. He has since made a name for himself, after working with famous faces including Orlando Bloom, Penélope Cruz and the late Heath Ledger, and now owns and operates his parlour, Saved Tattoo, in Brooklyn.


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