What’s The Most Expensive Tattoo In The World?

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with that has come some pretty expensive body art. 

Depending on the artist, design, and placement, tattoos can cost thousands of dollars. As an artist, it’s important for you to understand how tattoos are priced so that you can set prices for your own work.

Here’s what you’ll learn from this article:

  • What makes tattoos more expensive
  • What the most expensive tattoo in the world looks like
  • Who the most expensive tattoo artists in the industry are

What Makes a Tattoo Expensive? 

tattoo artist working in a tattoo parlor

How much a tattoo costs depends on a few different things, like the size, complexity, and placement, as well as the artist’s experience and skill.

Tattoo Size 

One of the main factors that make tattoos expensive is size. 

Larger tattoos generally require more time, work, and supplies. Complex tattoos with multiple colors and details will also be more expensive for the same reason. 

Tattoos with simple designs like line drawings and small script tattoos that can be done as walk-ins are going to be a lot cheaper than big, intricate designs that require consultations, a waiting list, and multiple hours of work.

Tattoo Placement

placement for tattoo artists

The placement of the tattoo is also important. Tattoos that are located in more sensitive locations, such as face tattoos, hand tattoos, etc. can be more expensive. This is because they are more difficult to work on and require more attention to detail.

Tattoo Artist Experience and Skill

The artist’s experience and skill also play a role in pricing. More experienced and skilled artists will typically charge more for their services.

Name recognition is a huge factor in how much artists can charge for their tattoos. Artists who have large followings on social media and attract lots of clients through word of mouth are likely going to be able to charge more for their tattoos, because clients want to work with that specific artist, and are willing to pay more for them. 

For example, well-known tattooer Ed Hardy (owner of Tattoo City, San Francisco and a featured artist at the San Francisco Art Institute) was charging $1,500-$2,500/hr before he retired as one of the most expensive tattoo artists in the world with a net worth of over 250 million dollars.

Most Expensive Tattoo Ever

world’s most expensive tattoo

The combination of time, materials, work, and expertise are the basis for the price of all tattoos, including the world’s most expensive tattoo, which is valued at $924,000. 

Though most tattoos are done with ink, this ornamental tattoo was done with 612 Shimansky Ideal Cut .5 carat diamonds. The diamonds were applied to model and Shimansky brand ambassador Minki van der Westhuizen with a water-based adhesive over the course of 8 hours.

Most Expensive Tattoo Artists

As tattoo artists gain recognition and standing within the community, they are able to charge more and more for their time and work. Some of the most in-demand tattoo artists with celebrity clients can charge upwards of $500 per hour. Here is a look at 5 of the most expensive tattoo artists in the world:

Scott Campbell | $2,000 for the 1st Hour

most expensive tattoo artist

Scott Campbell is an incredibly well-known and talented tattoo artist who has done some of the most iconic tattoos in recent memory. He is best known for his work with celebrities, including Marc Jacobs, Orlando Bloom, Courtney Love, Travis Scott, Robert Downey Jr., and Howard Stern.

He has also done work for multiple fashion brands, including Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, and Versace. Scott is renowned for his unique style and his ability to create intricate and symbolic designs. He is booked out for up to two years in advance.

He charges $2000 for the first hour, and then $200 per hour.

Scott Campbell’s Tattoos:

Scott Campbell crown tattoo
Feather tattoo by Scott Campbell

Joaquin Ganga  | $100,000/day 

Ganga has built up a large celebrity clientele, including Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert, and others. He is a pioneer in using anesthetics during the tattooing process (which greatly raises his prices), as well as a team of tattoo artists to create multiple tattoos in one “sitting” for the client.

Tattoo by Joaquin Ganga

Ami James | $500/hr ($500 minimum)

tattoo artist with famous clients

Ami James is one of the most famous tattoo artists out there after becoming known as the star of Miami Ink, a TLC reality show that aired from 2005 to 2008. He has also appeared on NY Ink and London Ink. 

James is the owner of the Miami-based tattoo shop, Love Hate Tattoos. He co-owns the studio with Chris Núñez, a judge on Ink Master.

Ami James’ Tattoos

Snake tattoo by tattoo artist Ami James

Bang Bang | $700 minimum + $500+/hr

tattoo artist

Keith Scott McCurdy, or Bang Bang, is a world-famous tattoo artist known for his long list of celebrity clients. 

Bang Bang has tattooed celebrities like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, LeBron James, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner, and Justin Bieber.

Getting an estimate in price is nearly impossible, and as an in-demand celebrity artist, he is not listed as an available artist at his studio, Bang Bang Tattoo. However, the artists in his studio have a $700 minimum as of 2023, with many charging between $400-$1000 per hour. The real cost of a Bang Bang tattoo is likely much higher - several thousand dollars, if not well over $10K, but many West Hollywood high-profile clients find the high prices well worth paying.

Tattoo by Bang Bang

Tattoo by Bang Bang of realistic portraits

Anil Gupta | $200 Consultation + $500+/hr

Anil Gupta is a famous tattoo artist and graphic designer from India. He is best known for his micro tattoos of realistic portraits. Gupta is also known for his biomechanical tattoos

He has tattooed tiny versions of famous paintings by da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Van Gogh. Gupta currently tattoos at Inkline Studio in New York.

Tattoos by Anil Gupta

Full back biomechanical butterfly
Miniature version of Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh tattooed by Anil Gupta

Paul Booth | $300/hr:

Paul Booth’s dark and edgy style of tattooing has earned him a dedicated following of admirers, and he has worked with many celebrities. His fine artwork is often described as hauntingly beautiful, and he has been featured in print and TV.

Paul Booth tattoos 

Paul Booth full body tattoos
Dark surrealist tattoo by Paul Booth

Kat Von D | $400 sitting fee + $200+/hr

Mexican tattoo artist Kat Von D is one of the most famous artists in the tattoo industry. 

Kat began her career in the early 2000s as an artist, creating her own clothing line and appearing on popular television shows. She is best known for her work as a tattoo artist and appearances on LA Ink, and she has tattoo shops in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. She’s tattooed several celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.

Kat Von D is considered one of the most influential tattoo artists in history. She is also the founder of the vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics company Kat Von D Beauty, now KVD Vegan Beauty.

Notable Kat Von D Tattoos

Da Vinci Tattoo by Kat Von D for Miley Cyrus
Flock of birds tattoo on Selena Gomez

Note:

In recent years, Kat Von D has been involved in significant controversy over previous actions and statements. Since then, her position and influence within her multiple companies has been questioned.

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Learning how much to charge for your tattoos is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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