Whistler Tattoo Artist Round Up
Whether you’re in Whistler for a weekend or a lifetime, it’s hard not to be inspired by the epic landscapes and the adrenaline junkie culture. It’s no wonder then that plenty of people choose to commemorate their time in Whistler with a tattoo – a permanent reminder of the unforgettable memories you made here. With so many of us feeling inspired, there’s plenty of incredibly talented local artists ready to create your own masterpiece.
And don’t worry, it isn’t all mountains, pine trees and bears (although if that’s your scene you’re in the right place). From beautiful intricate fine line work to bright traditional designs with a modern twist, the Whistler tattoo scene is as diverse as the international crowd that flock to this mountain mecca. Because there’s such a thriving art scene here, and so many creative people from all over the world, Whistler punches above its weight in the tattoo world.
So, if you’re considering getting inked while you’re in town, here’s a little guide to help you choose your Whistler tattoo. There are three studios in town, each with their own unique feel, run by experienced and expert local artists. Between them, you’ll be sure to find the best Whistler tattoo for you. Here’s a rundown of each studio and what they have to offer.
Whistler Tattoo Company
Founded by life-long local Kelsey Bareham in 2015, Whistler Tattoo Company is located in Marketplace in the Whistler village, just a 10-minute walk from the ski lifts. Kelsey Bareham and Ryan Patrick are versatile artists, who both tattoo in a wide range of styles. They run a super professional show, and often host guest artists from Vancouver and beyond – like Auberon Wolf and Lindsey Rose. So make sure to check out who’s around when you’re in town.
Kelsey grew up in and around the Sea to Sky Corridor, and Whistler is in her blood – her grandfather was one of the original founders of Garibaldi Lift Company! Lots of her work is inspired by her lasting love of nature, but Kelsey can pretty much tattoo anything. Her portfolio ranges from realism to geometric designs, from watercolour to neo-traditional colourful designs. And it’s all beautiful. We love her custom colour pieces, and her super detailed animal portraits – it seems like she’s made many a dog owner very happy!
Originally from out east, Ryan’s brightly coloured, quirky work is guaranteed to make you smile. His ideas are unique and fun, inspired by the traditional American and new school styles. Check out his vibrant take on the classic Canadian Caesar (a must try for any first-time Canadian visitor). Ryan also does some killer black and grey work, including gorgeous flower designs and geometric BC inspired pieces. If you want to think outside the box with your Whistler tattoo, make sure to see what Ryan can do for you.
Congratulations to Barry “Baz” Carolan who just finished his apprenticeship at Whistler Tattoo Company and is an accomplished visual artist with multiple pieces around town, including the Re-Use it delivery van that I’m sure you’ve seen!
Whistler Tattoo Company is also the driving force behind perhaps the best, most heart-warming Whistler craze in years – the #TreesForBC fundraiser, which started in summer 2017. When wildfires across the province got really bad, Whistler Tattoo Company decided to use their talents to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross who were supporting victims all over BC. Hundreds of people turned up, and pretty soon the other BC tattoo studios were getting involved. Each shop donated the majority of proceeds and ended up raising over twenty thousand dollars collectively.
When the fires returned in the summer 2018 they rallied the popularity of the fundraiser to once again to support the victims. Locals steadfastly waited whole days, often lining up hours before the start time, to be part of their epic effort. Keep an eye out for the delicate pine tree tattoos – you’ll see them everywhere around town, and we’d guess you’ll probably want one for yourself too.
Black Ohm Tattoos
The original Whistler tattoo shop, Black Ohm have been around for nearly 20 years. Their home is in Function Junction, just around the corner from Forged, and the (clearly) coolest neighbourhood in Whistler. It’s currently owned by Dave “Pepe” Petko, a local artist who’s been in Whistler since 1995, and working at Black Ohm since the year it opened. They draw in customers from close to home, and all over the world, offering black and grey and colour tattoos. Black Ohm also love to give back – they often donate proceeds from their time to local charities like the animal shelter WAG.
Dave “Pepe” Petko
As we said, Pepe is a true Whistler local. He apprenticed at Black Ohm back in 1999 and hasn’t left since. Like a lot of the local crowd, he’s a man of many talents. A painter as well as a tattoo artist, his style is instantly recognizable, with bold colours and often disturbing, gothic themes. His abstract geometric designs, inspired no doubt by the world-class Whistler landscape, can be seen all over Whistler both on the walls of coffee shops and on skin. He’s definitely one of the Whistler artists not to miss while you’re in town.
Not content with two forms of art, Pepe has created epic art installations at Basscoast festival – a boutique electronic music and art festival in Merritt, BC that draws a huge crowd from Whistler every year. Like the rest of his art, Pepe’s tattoos are diverse and creative. From brightly coloured geometric designs to realistic black and grey pieces, to weird and wonderful cartoon work,
Another jack of all trades, Steve is an awesome artist who loves working closely with clients to design exactly the right tattoo. Whether you want a cute traditional tattoo, a striking black geometric piece or a delicate nature-inspired design, Steve could be your guy. He’s also done some awesome script work and even some tribal designs. If you’re looking for a small memento of your trip, take a look at Steve’s work, as he’s done lots of little pieces to help people commemorate an epic memory, as well as some beautiful complex abstract pieces if you’re up for a bigger commitment.
TNT Tattoo + Barber
Located in the trendy, quieter Upper Village, TNT Barber and Tattoo are the new kids on the block. TNT opened in 2018, filling the shoes of the previous tattoo store, Pins and Needles, that closed down early this year. Indeed, owner and tattoo artist TylerATD was resident at that store, building up a solid fan base around town.
As well as tattooing, TNT also offers barber services for those of you who need to look your best for a night out on the town. A true master barber, Tyler knows his stuff, and dudes, it’s definitely worth treating yourself to one of his traditional close straight razor shaves while you’re here. Pampering isn’t just for girls, right?
As a tattoo artist, TylerATD specialized in realistic black and grey work, and his artistry shines through in every piece. He has a huge portfolio of beautiful work, from life-like animals to whole sleeves. His portrait work is impressive too, as are his stunning large pieces inspired by the mountains and adventures here in Whistler. Tyler started life as a graffiti artist and made his way into tattooing via an apprenticeship in Koh-Samui, where he developed his love for black and grey work. If you want a bold statement tattoo, that will catch eyes everywhere you go, see what Tyler could do for you. Every one of his designs is thoughtfully crafted and incredibly detailed
Despite only opening earlier this year, TNT have drawn in an impressive list of guest artists. They represent a huge range of styles, so if black and grey isn’t your thing, don’t discount TNT straight away. Anna Crow’s stunnhasing watercolour pieces are inspired by the natural world and a delicate contrast to Tyler’s styles. She’s up in Whistler the third weekend of every month, so schedule your trip to match up! Or maybe you love Liv Hope’s neotraditional style, full of gothic influences and fine dot work. There are always new artists coming up to Whistler, so make sure to check out who’s in town when you’re here.
Originally from Spain, Barbara Rebel is one badass tattooist who can be also be booked at TNT. She has several upcoming booking windows in Whistler so make sure you reach out quick!
So, there you have it – a complete rundown of every awesome tattoo artist in town. Tattoos are basically part of the Whistler uniform, so if you’re staying for a while you’re almost sure to acquire one or two in your time here. But even if you’re just here for a brief trip, we’re pretty sure you’ll be inspired to make a little bit of Whistler a permanent part of you. So why not schedule an appointment and find the perfect tattoo so you’ll never forget your time in this special place?