Originally posted at OffTrackPlanet.com
So you’re in Madrid and looking to get tatted? Madrid’s reputation as a world center of art is home to some of the best tattoo artists in Europe. Whether you want to commemorate the trip of a lifetime or you’ve been inspired to get some trippy shit down your sleeve, Madrid’s tattoo parlors will have you covered (literally). Based on their best qualities, OTP has compiled this list of shops to get you properly tatted-up:
What is more important to you, price or quality? If price is paramount, pick from any of the dime-a-dozen tattoo joints along Calle de Montera between Plaza del Sol and Gran Via. Keep reading if you want something with more character and style.
Second, Go to Calle de Fuencarral
Catch the metro to Gran Via and walk north along c/Fuencarral. Most of Madri’s tattoo parlors are either on this street or just off it in the neighboring barrios of Malasana and Chueca. The following are OTP’s stand-out spots.
Finally, Pick a Shop…
Mao & Cathy Tattoo
The oldest and most well-known tattoo shop in Spain. Mao & Cathy’s reputation rests upon professionalism and experience unrivaled in Madrid. Over the last 20+ years, they’ve continually hosted world-class artists including Robert Hernandez (now at Vitamin Tattoo). Such success draws a large crowd, so reservations are advised. Mao & Cathy is a mandatory stop, but let’s step back onto c/Fuencarral and check out some other places.
Corredera alta de San Pablo, 6
True Love Tattoo
Perfection in Old School Style
If you’re less ”Zen” and more ”punk,” check out True Love, run by El Bara,a friendly Argentine widely respected amongst Madrid’s tattoo artists. The studio’s blood-red interior nicely contrasts the all-black uniform of its hard-rockin’ clientele. El Bara is famous for creatively fusing the retro swagger of Malasana with the old-school style made popular by ”Sailor Jerry” in the 1950s. Any artist at True Love can hook you up, but if you want El Bara, you’d better make reservations two months ahead.
La Mano Zurda
Tattoos are increasingly respected art form and at La Mano Zurda, the needle and the paintbrush are held in equally high regard. In addition to an excellent tattoo studio, it boasts an abstract art gallery and an art academy that offers drawing or tattooing classes. The studio’s decor is Zen meets punk and their eclectic tattoo style embodies everything in between.
The Most Unpretentiousness
Don’t let the dark black storefront intimidate you – Por Vida is one of the most welcoming places we found. Check it out for yourself and join the scores of Madrilos who feel at home at Por Vida. The friendly staff speaks excellent English and are happy to help you design a tattoo that you can proudly rock for life, that is Por Vida.
925 220 720
Just down the street is Tattoo Magic. They’ve been tatting Madrilenos for 8 years and their new studio rests smack in the middle of c/ Fuencarral. Their ability to remain in the center of it all is a testament to their unwavering popularity with locals. Despite being one of the larger studios, they maintain their success by keeping their levels of artistic ability high and levels of B.S. The numerous awards hanging from their walls prove that Tattoo Magic is a safe bet.
28 c/ Fuencarral.
The Most Original
Lastly, we have Vitamin Tattoo, the home of the world-famous Robert Hernandez. Any of the above shops can whip up whatever tat you have in mind but odds are you couldn’t think up anything that competes with Robert Hernandez’ sinister creations. Picture images pulled from the baddest depths of rock and roll and more realistic than your worst nightmare. So don’t come here for a cute little star on your ankle. If you want a tat of Gene Simmons so life-like it will give Grandma a heart attack, then you’ve found your man. Browse through the photos on his website or watch this video to see if he’s your cup of tea.
Whether you prefer experience, dependability, familiarity or the unique styles of El Bara and Robert Hernandez, Madrid’s the spot for you to get some ink done. So what are you waiting for? Find your cojones and let Madrid’s finest artists make your 2010 EuroTrip one you’ll always remember.
Post Tat Pep Talk
OTP Tip: If this is your first tattoo, keep in mind you will need to take care of it once its needled on your skin. This means that despite your grimy hostel existence, you will need to keep it clean and moisturized. NEVER USE VITAMIN E RICH LOTION; it will suck the tattoo right off your skin. Scented lotions are bad too. Just get the stuff your shop of choice sells and you should be fine. Make an effort to keep it out of the sun for a little while as well.