Work by the best tattoo artists in Denver (clockwise from top left): Salvador Diaz, Josh Wrede, Jonathan Love, Sandi Calistro, Brian Henry and Andy Canino.EXPAND
Work by the best tattoo artists in Denver (clockwise from top left): Salvador Diaz, Josh Wrede, Jonathan Love, Sandi Calistro, Brian Henry and Andy Canino.
Photos courtesy of Instagram

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 Edition

Tattooing is a permanent art that touches people — and is created by literally touching people. Denver has a thriving tattoo culture, with over 100 tattoo shops in the metro area. There are so many artists that choosing between them can be overwhelming, especially when you're looking for a piece that will last a lifetime. Fortunately, social-media outlets like Instagram have made it easy for artists to get their work out there...and easier for people to view their exemplary work.

Here are the twenty best tattoo artists in Denver right now, presented in alphabetical order. 

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Freddy Arroyo/Instagram

20. Freddie Arroyo
Unity Tattoo Co.
5885 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
720-443-3439

Formerly with Fallen Owl Tattoo, Arroyo founded Unity in 2015. He pushes the envelope with his designs, which span everything from American traditional to big eyes to realism. Although his shop hosts Walk-In Saturday every week, you can also book an appointment with Arroyo by contacting freddieart@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Andy Canino/Instagram

19. Andy Canino
Dedication Tattoo
1905 South Broadway
303-733-0315

Andy Canino is a powerhouse of talent. His tattoos feature strikingly clear line work, and he's not afraid to push the envelope into both the kitschy and the abstract. Book an appointment with Canino by e-mailing caninotattoos@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Sandi Calistro/Instagram

18. Sandi Calistro
Ritual Tattoo Gallery
4241 Jason Street
303-455-1558

Sandi Calistro is one of the most renowned young artists in Denver. Her work has been featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine and Rooster and on Juxtapoz and the Denver Egoist, among other spots, and she's co-owner of the amazing new Ritual Tattoo Gallery space in Sunnyside. Her portraits are whimsical and feminine, but the details and line work are strong as hell.  Book an appointment with Calistro by calling the shop at 303-455-1558.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Rene Cordero/Instagram

17. Rene Cordero
Kitchens' Ink
757 Santa Fe Drive
303-573-3791

Rene Cordero has fine-tuned his skills to a viral level over the past several years. This wild, creative and unashamed artist is a hard worker who's one of the most popular artists in the city; Katy Perry even tweeted a photo of the "Left Shark" tattoo design that he created for hi-dive owner Matty Clark. Book an appointment with Cordero by e-mailing kitchensink757@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Billy Crandall/Instagram

16. Billy Crandall
Ritual Tattoo Gallery
4241 Jason Street
303-455-1558

Billy Crandall is a master of American traditional tattoo design, but his catalogue spans every imaginable design, from the traditional to the abstract. Co-owner with Sandi Calistro of Ritual Tattoo Gallery — which has a brand-new location at 4241 Jason Street in Sunnyside — Crandall added his own personal touches to the place, which has a lot more elbow room and wall space than the old Ritual. Book an appointment with Crandall by calling the shop at 303-455-1558.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Salvador Diaz/Instagram

15. Salvador Diaz
Certified Customs
120 South Broadway
720-366-6925

Certified Customs is a shop that deserves mad props for each of its fourteen artists; all of them are booked months in advance. Artist Salvador Diaz is in particularly high demand, thanks to his stunning portrait work, done with photorealist and highly emotive designs. Book an appointment with Diaz by filling out the Certified Customs contact page

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Chris Evans/Instagram

14. Chris Evans
End of Days Tattoo
2024 East Colfax Avenue
303-333-4880

Chris Evans creates art that's like nothing you have ever seen. He has a bachelor's degree in industrial design and is a touring musician; he began tattooing when he moved to Denver in 2012. At End of Days, he joins some of the best artists in the city. Book an appointment by contacting Evans here.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Monkey Fist Tattoo/Instagram

13. Ortavio "OG" Griego
Monkey Fist Tattoo
4345 West 41st Avenue
720-328-6358

Ortavio Griego, also known as OG, is a tattooer to the stars — namely, many of the Denver Broncos. Owner of Monkey Fist Tattoo in the heart of Berkeley, OG has worked on Demaryius Thomas, Aqib Talib, Darius Kigo, Zaire Anderson, Will Parks, Brandon Marshall, Shaquil Barrett and too many other athletes to count. When players get traded, they often fly him out to their new cities to continue doing work. Fist bump to that. Book an appointment by contacting Monkey Fist. 

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Kevin Hennessy/Instagram

12Kevin Hennessy
Landmark Tattooing
609 East 13th Avenue
303-955-4531

Kevin Hennessy is a rising star in the Denver tattoo game, having gained a lot of notoriety in a short amount of time for his fun, stream-of-consciousness, Denver-esque style. He's also known in the city for his street-art work, with collaborations that include a Best of Denver mural winner with Mario Zoots in 2015. Contact Landmark to book an appointment with Hennessy.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Brian Henry/Instagram

11. Brian Henry
Think Tank  
172 South Broadway
720-932-0124

Think Tank expanded in 2015, adding an outpost on Main Street in Littleton; it remains one of the most well-regarded shops in the city. In its group of talented artists, Brian Henry is a standout; he works only in black ink, creating vividly clear and crisp portrait work. Book an appointment with Henry by e-mailing brianhenryta@yahoo.com.

Continue reading to see ten more of the best tattoo artists in Denver.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Jonathan Love/Instagram

10. Jonathan Love
End of Days Tattoo
2024 East Colfax Avenue
303-333-4880

It's easy to fall in love with the work of Jonathan Love. A freelance illustrator before starting his tattoo career in 2011, the artist has a style all his own, one that involves black dotting and an intensely vivid shading process; fragmented heads with entire worlds emerging from them are a common theme. Book an appointment by e-mailing mishra1218@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Ian Lutz/Instagram

9. Ian Lutz
Lifetime Tattoo
1510 East Colfax Avenue
303-839-8088

Ian Lutz specializes in an American traditional style, yet each of his pieces shows his unique signature, with patterns and an almost hypnotic tone. While the pieces shown above happen to be black and white, Lutz doesn't shy away from bold use of color. Book an appointment with Lutz by contacting Ianlutz27@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Rochelle Marion/Instagram

8. Rochelle Marion
Ritual Tattoo Gallery
4241 Jason Street
303-455-1558

Rochelle Marion is the best artist from Down Under in the Mile High City, with a unique aesthetic. This makes her a perfect fit for Ritual Tattoo Gallery. Marion is at her best with the whimsical; her portfolio overflows with flowers, anatomically correct hearts, mandalas and views of nature. Her bookings are currently closed.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Graham Niles/Instagram

7. Graham Niles
Certified Customs
120 South Broadway
720-366-6925

Another well-known and highly respected tattooer with Certified Customs, Graham Niles displays creative genius in his authentic ink work; look for dotting and hyper-specific details. Book an appointment by calling the shop at 720-366-6925.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Rachel Paton/Instagram

6. Rachel Paton
Ritual Tattoo Gallery
4241 Jason Street
303-455-1558

Rachel Paton was named Best Hand Poke Tattoo Artist in the Best of Denver 2016, and one look at her portfolio will tell you why. Her stick-and-poke tattoos are always black, and her flash sheets are always fiercely designed. Paton apprenticed under Sandi Calistro, but her style is unique. See if Paton can pencil you in by calling 303-455-1558.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Aries Rhysing/Instagram

5. Aries Rhysing
All Sacred
5846 West 25th Avenue, Edgewater
720-612-7782

Aries Rhysing is a revered tattoo artist in Denver. Not only does he create ornamental, arabesque-like geometric patterns in blackwork, but he's brought the tattoo community together in a big way. Rhysing started the All Sacred Foundation, a nonprofit that donates 100 percent of the proceeds from a tattoo event it holds one day a month to four worthy charities in Denver. And this year,  Rhysing turned All Sacred into its own, bona fide tattoo storefront. Book an appointment with Rhysing by going to his website.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Jher Seno/Instagram

4. Jher Seno
Landmark Tattooing
609 East 13th Avenue
303-955-4531

Jher Seno's work is as acclaimed in the graffiti and urban-art world as it is in the tattoo world, renowned for its lifelike portraiture, vivid color and line detail. Make an appointment with Seno by e-mailing info@landmarktattooing.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Frank Wolfman Speaker/Instagram

3. Frank "Wolfman" Speaker
End of Days Tattoo
2024 East Colfax Avenue
303-333-4880

Frank "Wolfman" Speaker has earned his spot on this list with a portfolio spanning the last thirty years. A self-taught master and shop father at End of Days, Wolfman is at his best with wild and visceral color schemes portraying both portraits and nature. Set up an appointment with Wolfman by visiting his contact page.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Destroy Troy/Instagram

2. Destroy Troy
Til Death Tattoo
3047 Larimer Street
303-297-1612

Weird, hilarious and unique, Destroy Troy is known for creating masterful tattoos at Til Death. Kitschy characters and marijuana references are rampant in Troy's tattoo work, and his loyal 75k Instagram following is well deserved. Book with the artist by e-mailing destroytroybookings@gmail.com.

The Twenty Best Tattoo Artists in Denver — 2016 EditionEXPAND
Josh Wrede/Instagram

1. Josh Wrede
Til Death Tattoo
3047 Larimer Street
303-297-1612

Unbelievable colors, vivid realism, intense lines and full-body pieces are just some of the notable features of Josh Wrede's work. Wrede began tattooing in 1997 and never looked back. The Til Death website notes: "Josh's schedule is currently full with the exception of inquiries about full back, full front, or total body suit pieces."

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