Tattoo Tourism Down Under
July 14, 2009
Tattoo Tourism Down
Putting New Zealand’s Tattoo Art on the Map!
Tattoo enthusiasts around the world are seeking the steady talented hands of Kiwi tattoo artists whose skills are putting them on the map.
Billed as ‘tattoo tourism down under’, this phenomenon has been popularised by high-profile celebrities including Rhianna, Chris Brown, Robbie Williams and Ben Harper who have all been ‘inked’ while on tour in New Zealand.
New Zealand has long been known as an artistic nation producing such talent as Goldie and Colin McCahon and now the skills of Kiwi tattoo artists are drawing attention from overseas.
“New Zealand definitely has a growing reputation around the world,” says Adam Craft, owner and operator of The Tattooed Heart. “We have very talented artists who are producing some truly quality art and that is reflected in the increasing amounts of customers from abroad.”
Craft is constantly fielding enquiries from places such as Canada, America, Brazil, Italy and France. “New Zealand is of particular interest for tattooists and tattoo collectors because of the country’s history and the art that is representative of that,”he says.
“The interest in cultural and ethnic tattoos is also gaining momentum and we have increasing numbers of tourists visiting the studio asking for souvenir pieces such as koru’s or New Zealand and Pacifica designs.”
The Tattooed Heart has had a number of celebrity clients including Marilyn Manson, Evan Rachel Wood, Ryan Reynolds as well as New Zealand’s own Keisha Castle Hughes, Danielle Cormack and Milon Borich from Pluto.
In order to hone their skills and observe international trends, many of the artists from The Tattooed Heart studio also travel to Australia and beyond to work.
“It’s common that the clients they meet overseas will often come back to New Zealand to continue getting tattooed and that is a true testament to their talent,” says Craft.
Notes to Editors:
Adam Craft was born in Auckland in 1971, the great grandson of renowned NZ landscape painter, Charles Blomfield. Growing up in Auckland’s quiet suburbs ignited wanderlust in Craft. An urge to break away from small town life was instrumental in his career choice to become a tattoo artist.
After early training in Hamilton where he was largely left to his own devices, Craft then worked at Dermographic studio in Auckland, owned by the late Phil Matthias. Strongly influenced by tattoo art stars Horiyoshi III, Filip Leu and Alex Binnie, Craft left NZ for Europe in 1999. Several extended stints overseas followed, working at Evil From the Needle in London, Amsterdam Tattoo, and attending conventions in Italy, Spain & Japan. This period of time was fruitful creatively, with Craft honing his graphical style and studying traditional Japanese art. More travel to tattoo destinations San Francisco, New York & Hawaii further expanded his creative scope.
Settling in NZ in 2004, Craft set up Illicit Tattoo, which he owned and ran for five years. In 2005 he was asked by Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi to represent the project “Lovemarks” at the Frankfurt bookfair. Wishing to expand further and afford himself greater prospects, Craft opened The Tattooed Heart in June 2009.