Explore this week.
Those of you who have had the pleasure of painting your body with ink and disappointing your parents know all too well the feeling of finding and falling in love with a tattooist style, space, or just their downright gnarly attitude with life. Cape Town is no stranger to the tattoo scene and walking around the streets of the city, or most local beaches, shows just how invested its people are in inking their bodies with all manner of images.
But for those of you who are looking at starting this journey, one that can so easily suck you in and have you saying, “just one more” in no time, here are some of our favourite local tattoo artists from Cape Town and the surrounds. Don’t worry to those who have already started down this path, there may be something in here that makes you stop and start contemplating where your next tattoo will be.
Slow Life Tattoo
Tucked away in the heart of Kalk Bay one will find Slow Life Tattoo. Otherwise known as the tat shack, its owner and soul heir Mettie Closeout has shaped this tiny hoek into a treasure trove of tattoo goodness. Mettie prides himself in creating weird and wonderful designs for the people of Cape Town. With an air of old-school American styling but with a twist Metties designs leave people’s minds boggled, but their heart’s content. I really enjoy his stylised approach to tattooing with dark lines and no real blueprint. I remember first stepping into his shop and immediately having the feeling that each item holds a story, exaggerating further the idea that in that place magic happens.
Starting her tattoo journey during the lockdown of 2020 Juliette Scheffer, owner of WamBam, is new to the game but not without experience. Starting by tattooing friends and family, she was able to explore her creative freedom and allowed herself the space to learn as a self-taught artist. Her style mixes simplicity with strong line work allowing each piece to stand out on your body without the need for heavy detail. Her main goal is to make you feel comfortable, and with her home studio in Hout Bay, the experience you get always makes for a good time. Each time you get a tattoo from her she’s creating something beautiful, “they will carry it around for the rest of their lives, says Juliette, I am always grateful for every person that gives me that opportunity.”
Line-work and micro realism are the words I would use to describe Andrew’s tattooing style. Mainly working with black and grey each tattoo is a work of art in the grey scale. So, if you’re looking for someone to tattoo the statue of David onto your arm, Andrew is your guy! Trained in South Korea, Andrew now finds himself in Bergvliet where he works from his home studio. This, I feel, creates a sense of comfort more than in a full-on tattoo studio. Share a cigarette whilst your tattoo heals and if you’re lucky you may get to hear one of his gnarly skateboarding stories or his time spent in South Korea.
If you’re looking for raunchy, weird, and wonderful, Oums Pokes is the girl to go to. Her hand poked style draws from the simplicity of life and mirrors it onto your skin. With Oums nothing is too challenging and as is on show on her Instagram page she is not afraid of a little colour. Nestled away in her home studio in Gardens Oums too loves a day out and can often be found at various pop-ups around Cape Town. She also has had the pleasure of taking her talents overseas when visiting Europe last year. Her favourite things to tattoo are bodies, of all shapes and sizes, but she is not averse to putting a cute little flower on you if you ask nicely. She’s also vegan-friendly!
If you feel like you’re lucid dreaming you’re most likely looking at one of eyeam.lilos tattoos. Starting her journey as an apprentice in Thailand Lilo has worked in multiple studios in Colombia and China. Now based in Cape Town she incorporates both hand poke and machine into her work. Her style relates to those liquid graphic visions one has when far away from this plane of existence. Her imagination is an endless stream, so going to her will bring you into a world of ideas you may never knew existed. I love her ability to incorporate her style into her portrait designs, as well as not shying away from an animal or a funky mushroom. She likes to test the status quo of what a tattoo artist should be and feels in love with the method of using our human energy to create marks of significance.
A piece of a poem she wrote and gifted me the opportunity of reading I feel summarises her as an artist: “Eye am merely a translator of the deep sea of our imagination, pulling most of my inspiration for the world we call: DREAMS.”
A short but very sweet list of some very talented artists from around Cape Town, and yes I do know this talent spreads way further than just these five individuals, however, what is on offer here really does set the bar high. If you don’t find anything that tickles your fancy don’t worry! The second list is following soon. Hopefully, by then you have started on this weird and wonderful journey of putting ink into your skin and having it stay there for the rest of your life. The beautiful thing is that it is your body and you can decorate it however you like!