Over 180 tattooists descend on First Direct Arena this weekend - here are some of our faves

Now in its fifth year, Leeds Tattoo Expo is set to hit up the First Direct Arena this weekend, bringing creative ink, buzzing needles and a large helping of fully consensual pain to the city. There’ll also be fire breathing, trapeze artists, taxidermy and even a beard competition - not to mention all-out after-parties lined up at Sela Bar on Friday and Belgrave on Saturday.

Of course the main attraction is the tattooists themselves but, with over 180, the choice can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Katie Ryrie has given you a head start with her six-strong roundup of who to watch out for…


Inspired by wildlife and nature, Chloe’s intricate designs make having an image carved into your flesh that bit more delicate. By day, she’s a tattoo artist at Rose and Thorn in Bramley, and by night she picks up a different kind of needle, translating colours and concepts into stunning embroidery. You can purchase some of her work in fabric form here – just in case you bottle it when it comes to the crunch. @chloeomalleytattoos

2018 07 03 Chloe O Malley
Chloe O'Malley


Whether you’ve spent hours perfecting your own complex, meaning-layered mandala, or you need professional help to decide on your permanent artistic scar, Mr Lee’s resident artists Lee and David will be sure to fix you up. Think bold psychedelia, skulls, faces and wild dystopian landscapes ready to blossom over biceps, backs and bellies. @mrleetattooer

2018 Mr Lees
Mr Lee's House of Tattoos


Taking leave of her residency in Red’s of Leeds Corn Exchange for one day only is Ruth Rollin, whose delicate greyscale dotwork masterpieces come in everything from flowers and mandalas to mountaintops and fossils. As comfortable behind a machine as she is armed with a hand poke, never has a love of lines and dots ended so happily. @ruthredtattoo

2018 07 03 Ruth Rollin
Ruth Rollin

For more things to do this month, check out our 15 things to do in Leeds: July 2018


Sticking with local talent, it would be rude not to mention the steady hand of Danny Potter, hailing from Cobra Club Tattoo just down the road in Hyde Park. His style is unique, with thick lines and curves making for powerfully stylistic faces, typography and symbols. @blakstuff

2018 07 03 Danny Potter
Danny Potter


If you can bear to leave you northern pride at the door, there are a multitude of artists hailing from across the globe who are well worth your time – and maybe even your hard-earned cash. Portuguese-born, Amsterdam-based ink maestro Jonas Ribeiro brings striking surrealism and painfully clever designs to the canvas in traditional style – think spliced faces, portal eyes and natural textures. @jonastattooer

2018 07 03 Jonas Ribeiro
Jonas Ribeiro


She may only have been tattooing for four years, but Jessica’s work makes for some of the most impressive stuff you’ll find at this year’s expo - and that’s a bold statement. Geometrically-inspired and anatomically precise, with a captivating use of colour that gives every design a unique simplicity, these are designs to last a lifetime. Which is good, because that’s the whole point. @jessicasvartvit

2018 07 03 Jessica Svartvit
Jessica Svartvit

Leeds Tattoo Expo takes place 7-8 July at First Direct Arena - tickets from £13.20 at leedstattooexpo.com