Best Calgary Tattoo Places – Hidden Gems

Best Calgary Tattoo Places - Hidden Gems

Many are drawn to Calgary’s bustling tattoo scene, but few are aware of the hidden gems that lie beneath the surface. We will uncover some of the city’s best-kept secrets for tattoo enthusiasts looking to get inked in Calgary. From underground tattoo parlors with world-renowned artists to unique shops that cater to every style, this guide will showcase the diverse and vibrant tattoo culture that thrives in this Canadian city. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-timer, prepare to be amazed by the hidden treasures waiting to be discovered and some of the best Calgary tattoo places.

1. Bushido Tattoo Calgary

Bushido, situated in the heart of Calgary on the bustling 17th Avenue, stands as a beacon of tattoo artistry, blending traditional motifs with modern techniques. The studio, known for its meticulous attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship, has garnered a loyal following.

  • Location: 218 17th Ave SE, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Known for both traditional and contemporary designs, Bushido offers a clean and professional environment. Their artists excel in custom tattoos, ensuring each piece is unique.
  • Why Visit: With a reputation for high-quality artwork and strict hygiene standards, Bushido is a top choice for first-timers and tattoo enthusiasts alike.

They specialize in a wide array of tattoo styles, but it is particularly renowned for its expertise in both traditional Japanese and contemporary designs. The artists here excel in creating vibrant, intricate pieces that range from full-body suits to smaller, detailed works. The studio also offers services in realism, geometric patterns, and custom script, making it a versatile choice for various tattoo preferences.

Bushido was established in the fall of 2000 and is renowned for offering professional custom tattoos in a clean, safe, sterile environment that adheres to Alberta Health Services regulations. The studio is known for its fun and friendly atmosphere, ensuring a welcoming experience for all clients.


2. Eternal Image Tattoo

Eternal Image Tattoo, located in historic Inglewood, Calgary, boasts two full-time artists, Scott Veldhoen and John Boletta. Each artist specializes in custom tattooing and brings their own unique style to the studio.

Interested parties are encouraged to either call or visit the Calgary tattoo shop to schedule a consultation, make an appointment, or inquire about walk-in availability.

The shop is situated on the south side of 10th Avenue SE, a short distance from local landmarks like Crown Surplus and The National Hotel.

  • Location: 1209 10 Ave SE, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Specializing in realistic tattoos, Eternal Image Tattoo boasts some of the best portrait tattoo artists in the city.
  • Why Visit: If you’re looking for a lifelike portrait or intricate details, this is the place. Their artists are skilled in creating realistic shadows and textures.



3. Gypsy Rose Tattoos

Gypsy Rose was established in March 2006 by Nina Gremo, starting with two Calgary tattoo artists and one piercer. Over the years, the studio has expanded and relocated to a more central location, now employing a team of 14 staff members. They offer tattoos and body piercing services both by appointment and for walk-ins, provided that clients present valid government-issued ID.

Nina Gremo, the founder of Gypsy Rose, began her career at the historic Canadian tattoo studio, Way Cool – Queen Street in Toronto, in 1999. Having worked both locally and internationally, she combines the best practices she has learned to shape the unique offerings at Gypsy Rose.


  • Location: 3132 26th St NE, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Offers a wide range of styles, from traditional to modern tattoos. They are also known for their vibrant color work.
  • Why Visit: Gypsy Rose provides a welcoming atmosphere and is great for custom designs. The artists here take the time to make sure you’re satisfied with the design before inking.

Since its inception, Gypsy Rose has actively engaged in community service, organizing several successful charitable events. The studio has raised nearly $15,000 for the Calgary Food Bank, in addition to donating over three tonnes of food and toiletries. They have also contributed more than $12,000 to the Calgary Women’s Shelter, ARF, and the Calgary Humane Society.


4. Human Kanvas

Human Kanvas is a prominent tattoo and piercing studio with locations in both Calgary and Airdrie, Alberta. Founded by Brandi Lee in 2001, the studio prides itself on providing a safe and friendly environment for both first-time and experienced clients. The studio’s mission is to help clients acquire unique pieces of art, offering personalized and thoughtful service throughout the tattooing and piercing process.

The studio boasts a collective of talented and experienced artists and piercers ready to craft the perfect tattoo or body modification to suit any style. Human Kanvas is known for its professional and creative approach, emphasizing client satisfaction and artistry.

  • Specialty: Known for creative designs and excellent customer service. Human Kanvas offers a variety of tattoo styles, including watercolor and abstract.
  • Why Visit: Their diverse team of artists means you can find someone who perfectly matches your style preferences.

Human Kanvas has four convenient locations:

  1. Sunridge, Calgary: 323 – 2555 32 ST NE, Calgary, AB
  2. Beacon Hill, Calgary: 108 – 11740 Sarcee Trail NW, Calgary, AB
  3. Yankee Valley, Airdrie: 106 – 960 Yankee Valley Blvd SE, Airdrie, AB
  4. First Ave, Airdrie: 100 – 124 First Ave NE, Airdrie, AB

Human Kanvas is committed to artistic excellence and operates under stringent health and safety protocols to provide a top-notch experience. They encourage potential clients to explore their artists’ portfolios online to find a style that best suits their artistic vision.


5. The Arthouse Inc.

Arthouse Collective is a unique Calgary tattoo and piercing studio located in Kensington neighborhood. Established in 2002, it operates as a collaborative space where independent artists run their individual businesses under one roof. Each artist books their own appointments, processes payments, and sets their own hours, allowing for a personalized and flexible approach to their artistry. The studio houses one body piercer and two tattoo artists, welcoming guest artists as well.

The studio specializes in custom tattoos, with artists like Shawn Tronix and Laura Barrett bringing their distinct styles to the table. Shawn Tronix is known for his expertise in black and grey realistic tattoos and dot work stipple tattoos, while Laura Barrett offers delicate tiny tattoos, showcasing her versatility and detailed craftsmanship.

Arthouse Collective is also noted for its welcoming environment, accommodating both walk-ins and appointments. It’s recommended to book in advance, however, to ensure availability. The studio’s approach emphasizes customer interaction and personal expression, making it a notable destination for those seeking custom tattoo art in Calgary.

  • Location: 217 17th Ave SE, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: This studio stands out for its artistic flair and custom artwork. They excel in both black and grey and colorful tattoos.
  • Why Visit: The Arthouse Inc. is perfect for those looking for unique, artistic pieces that are tailored to their personal stories and style.


6. Mission Tattoo Parlour

Mission Tattoo Parlour, located at 2103 4 St SW in Calgary, is renowned for its unique and high-quality tattoo artistry. Known as one of the best places in Calgary for custom tattoos, this shop has made a name for itself not just through the skill of its artists, but also through its distinctive, welcoming atmosphere. The parlour resembles a cozy house from the outside, but inside it transforms into a vibrant world of art with funky decor and walls covered in drawings.

The studio hosts a team of seven artists, each with their own unique styles, ensuring a diverse range of artistic options for clients. Whether you’re looking for something bold and graphic, or fine and detailed, you’re likely to find an artist at Mission Tattoo who can meet your expectations. The Calgary tattoo parlour is highly regarded for its professional environment and friendly artists, making it a favorite among tattoo enthusiasts.

  • Location: 2105 4 St SW, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Offers a boutique tattoo experience with a focus on traditional American styles and Japanese tattoos.
  • Why Visit: For fans of classic tattoo styles, this parlor offers a modern approach to traditional techniques.


7. Blackbird Electric Tattoo

Blackbird Electric Tattoo is a prominent Calgary tattoo studio located in the Beltline.  Established in 2007 and woman-owned, the shop has cultivated a reputation for excellence in the tattoo industry. The artists at Blackbird Electric Tattoo are highly skilled in creating unique and personalized tattoos, dedicated to reflecting each client’s vision while maintaining their own artistic integrity.

  • Location: 1026 16 Ave NW, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Contemporary tattooing with an emphasis on unique, custom tattoos. Their artists are versatile, catering to both bold and subtle designs.
  • Why Visit: Ideal for those seeking a modern and personalized tattoo experience.


8. Smilin’ Buddha Tattoo

The tattoo artists at Smilin’ Buddha specialize in creating unique and personalized tattoos that align with their clients’ visions while upholding their artistic integrity. They excel in various tattoo styles, ensuring that they can cater to a wide range of artistic preferences. The local Calgary tattoo artists here pride themselves on its professional atmosphere and skilled tattooers who are committed to excellence in both the art they create and the customer service they provide.

  • Location: 2403 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Known for their vintage tattoo parlor vibe and expertise in old-school tattoos.
  • Why Visit: This studio offers a nostalgic experience with artists who specialize in traditional techniques and designs.


9. Ascending Koi Tattoo & Apparel

The Ascending Koi Tattoo is energized by a close-knit team of talented artists led by founder Suzanne Delaine. This team sees tattooing as a deeply personal art form that goes beyond just skin deep. They cultivate a positive and fun atmosphere, asking everyone to be mindful of the energy they bring into the space. Functioning like a family, they open their doors—and hearts—to both local and global communities, sharing personal stories and embracing open-minded spirituality.

At Ascending Koi, tattooing is regarded as a unique artistic expression that reflects the individuality of each client. The Calgary tattoo studio aims to transform common negative stereotypes about tattooing into a broader appreciation for it as fine art, marked by respect, acceptance, tolerance, individualism, and beauty.

  • Location: 1600 Edmonton Tr NE, Calgary, AB
  • Specialty: Known for their detailed and artistic designs, Ascending Koi is great for both new school and Asian-inspired tattoos.
  • Why Visit: If you’re looking for symbolism and depth in your tattoo, Ascending Koi’s artists can incorporate meaningful elements into beautiful designs.


Unveiling Calgary’s Hidden Gems – The Best Kept Secrets For Tattoo Lovers

Unveiling Calgary's Hidden Gems - The Best Kept Secrets For Tattoo Lovers

Custom Ink Sanctuaries

One of Calgary’s best-kept secrets for tattoo lovers is the array of custom ink sanctuaries scattered across the city. These unique tattoo studios offer a personalized experience for those seeking one-of-a-kind designs. With talented artists who specialize in creating custom pieces tailored to each client’s vision, these studios provide a sanctuary for creativity and self-expression.

The Pioneers of Calgary Tattoo Artistry

The pioneers of Calgary tattoo artistry have set the standard for excellence in the industry. With years of experience and a passion for pushing boundaries, these artists have built a reputation for their exceptional work. They continue to inspire and influence the next generation of tattoo artists in Calgary, leaving a lasting impact on the local tattoo community.


These off-the-beaten-path tattoo studios in Calgary offer a unique and intimate setting for individuals looking to get inked. Away from the bustling city center, these sanctuaries provide a peaceful and inspiring environment for clients to explore their creativity and launch on a journey of self-expression through body art.

Unique Tattoo Styles Found in Calgary

Unique Tattoo Styles Found in Calgary

Indigenous Inspirations

Even in a city as modern as Calgary, the rich cultural heritage of indigenous communities is a deep well of inspiration for tattoo artists. For those seeking to honor and celebrate the traditions of the First Nations people, indigenous-inspired tattoos offer a meaningful and visually striking option. From intricate patterns to symbolic imagery, these tattoos carry deep significance and can tell powerful stories.

Contemporary versus Classic

Versus sticking to traditional designs, many tattoo enthusiasts in Calgary are embracing more contemporary styles. The clash of classic techniques with modern flair is creating a dynamic fusion in the city’s tattoo scene. Whether it’s bold geometric shapes or watercolor techniques, contemporary tattoos offer a fresh take on the art form while still paying homage to its roots.

Inspirations for contemporary tattoos can range from pop culture references to abstract art movements, allowing for endless creativity and personal expression.

The Experience: More than Just a Tattoo

The Experience More than Just a Tattoo
The Calgary Tattoo Experience

Once again, Calgary proves to be a haven for tattoo enthusiasts seeking more than just ink on their skin. The experience of getting a tattoo in this vibrant city goes beyond the physical act of tattooing, incorporating holistic practices and meaningful rituals that make each session truly special.

Holistic Tattooing Practices

Tattooing in Calgary embraces a holistic approach that considers the mind, body, and spirit of the individual. Many tattoo artists in the city are not only skilled in their craft but also well-versed in holistic practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and energy work. This focus on holistic well-being ensures that the tattooing experience is not only visually stunning but also emotionally fulfilling.

The Rituals of Inking

Experience the ancient art of tattooing in a modern context through the rich rituals that surround the process. From the moment you step into the studio, you are welcomed into a sacred space where every aspect of the tattooing experience is carefully curated to enhance the spiritual connection between the artist, the client, and the tattoo itself. These rituals can include cleansing ceremonies, intention setting, and other symbolic gestures that elevate the act of getting a tattoo to a profound and transformative experience.

More than just a design on your skin, a tattoo in Calgary is a symbol of personal empowerment, self-expression, and spiritual connection. By embracing holistic practices and honoring the rituals of inking, each tattoo becomes a unique and transformative journey that goes beyond the surface to touch the essence of who you are.

Care and Appreciation of Your Calgary Ink

Care and Appreciation of Your Calgary Ink

Aftercare Tips from Local Experts

Not properly caring for your new tattoo can lead to fading, infections, and other complications. To ensure your Calgary ink heals beautifully and stays vibrant, local experts recommend keeping the area clean and moisturized, avoiding direct sunlight, and following the specific aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. Any signs of infection or unusual reactions should be promptly addressed by seeking medical attention.

Showcasing Your Art: Photography and Social Sharing

For Calgary tattoo enthusiasts looking to share their ink with the world, photography and social media can be powerful tools. Taking high-quality photos of your tattoos in natural light can help capture the colors and details of the artwork. Posting these images on platforms like Instagram or Facebook can not only showcase your tattoos but also connect you with a community of like-minded individuals. It’s a great way to appreciate and celebrate the artistry of your favorite tattoo artists.

Conclusion Best Calgary Tattoo Places

With this in mind, discovering Calgary’s hidden gems for tattoo lovers offers a unique and exciting experience for those looking to explore the local tattoo scene. From talented artists at boutique studios to renowned tattoo parlors with rich histories, there is something for every tattoo enthusiast to uncover in the vibrant city of Calgary. Whether you are seeking intricate designs, vibrant colors, or meaningful symbols, these best-kept secrets are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone looking to add a new piece of art to their body. Embrace the creativity and craftsmanship found in these hidden gems, and let your tattoo journey in Calgary begin!

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