Here’s to an amazing year and bring on 2018!

Sunset studio would like to thank all our clients, staff and supporters for making 2017 our biggest year yet!

A great year for Sunset Tattoo

The year got off to a great start with the launch of our sister site, Tattoo Station, which has been a tremendous success. Our aim with Tattoo Station is to bring the very best tattoo supplies to New Zealand but at a reasonable price, and we’ve destroyed even our highest expectations.

In February we headed to Tauranga for the New Zealand International Tattoo Expo which was a great success (if a little wet!). over 150 tattoo artists from around the world came to the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre and everyone had a wonderful weekend.

November saw us once again heading to Australasia’s biggest tattoo festival, the NZ Tattoo & Art Festival 2017, now in it’s 7th year. With over 250 artists from all over the world attending, it was a weekend we’ll never forget!

Guest artists

Sunset also had plenty of guest artists pop in this year, with Capilli Tupou from Ten Tigers joining us, and then later in the year making that move permanent.

In April we were fortunate enough to have our Spanish friend Miguel come visit, otherwise known as M13Tattoo. April was the perfect time to show off his script skills as we also had the second annual Great Auckland Flash Party, with plenty of walk-in’s coming in off the street for a surprise tattoo.

November was a big month for guest artists, with Ryan Usher joined us from Sydney, Makoto Horimatsu from Japan, and the very talented Nicklas Wong from Denmark.

Tattoo supplies

In March we became official distributers of the world famous Eternal Ink. Made from organic pigments, deionized water and hamamelis water, this bright coloured ink has been a well-known brand of the highest quality for nearly 40 years.

Later in the year we added the best tattoo machines in New Zealand, Senders Widows, to our list of high-quality tattoo equipment, along with Nikko Hurtado’s Anchored stencil solution.

Along with our range of Botan tattoo needles, we’ve really changed the game here in New Zealand when it comes to tattoo supplies.

So thanks again to everyone who helped make our 2017 incredible. Roll on 2018 and even more success!


Give yourself an early Christmas present with a tattoo!

Merry Christmas!

People get tattoos for different reasons at all times of the year, but Christmas seems to be the perfect time to get your first ink.

Maybe you've been given a few bucks for the holidays, or perhaps you want to bring in the new year with a big change, but whatever your reasons for wanting a new tattoo, it always pays to do your research beforehand.

There are a few things you need to be aware of before getting your first tattoo. Things like...

Stay off the booze!

Having a wee drink before you get your first tattoo may seem like a good idea, just to give you that little bit of Dutch courage, but don’t be tempted.

Alcohol is an anti-coagulant, which means it thins the blood. This thinning makes you bleed more during the tattooing, making it more difficult for the ink to settle properly. This can skew your new design, and make the recovery process take longer.

Alcohol of course also impairs your judgment, so getting drunk before going into a tattoo parlour is never a good idea for obvious reasons.

Look after your new tattoo

Getting a tattoo isn’t like getting an injection; it’s not over once you leave the room. The next few days are extremely important for the healing process.

You may have seen people with cling wrap around a new tattoo, but this isn’t a good idea. Your skin needs oxygen to breathe and heal itself, and wrapping it in plastic turns it into a bacterial playground, which can lead to infection.

Clean and moisturise the tattoo the week after getting it, and you should be fine. Ask your Sunset tattooist about our range of aftercare creams.

Don't rush the decision

Many people have foreign words or symbols tattooed on their bodies, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Chinese, Japanese or Arabic characters can look amazing, but make sure you know what they translate as. No matter how good they look, if you’re new ink means “Right turn only” then you’re going to look like a bit of a dick in any language.

Come see us at Sunset Tattoo and we’ll make your first tattoo something special that you’ll never regret. 

merry christmas.jpg

Safety and Hygiene is paramount here at Sunset

Hygiene is paramount when getting a tattoo, and we here at Sunset Tattoo take our responsibility very seriously. When selecting an Auckland tattoo studio you should make sure that they follow the strict Health & Safety guidelines of the Auckland Council.

Sunset Tattoo is the Auckland tattoo studio you can trust. Coming to us for a tattoo is not only an enjoyable and stress-free experience, but a safe one. We practice the highest level of hygiene and meticulously adhere to the Auckland council Health & Safety guidelines. Our studio itself is spotless, never mind our needles!

How do we make our Auckland tattoo studio safe and sterile?

We always keep our tattoo accessories in the most sterile condition. Before we start working on your tattoo, our tattoo artist will disinfect and shave the area where you want your tattoo. We do this with disposable razors that we only use once. We will also show you the sealed tattoo needle and open the pouch in front of you. After we’re finished with your tattoo, we’ll throw the needle out. Each needles is only used once, and you can see this for yourself, putting your mind at rest.

It is likely that your skin will bleed a little when getting a tattoo. That’s why all our tattoo artists are wearing gloves throughout the entire tattooing process. It’s safer for you and for them. You could walk into a hospital and not notice the difference. That’s how clean and hygienic our Auckland tattoo studio is!

For a safe, and friendly tattoo experience, visit our Auckland tattoo studio today, or contact us via phone: +64 (9) 376-3423 or drop us an email on:


Why you should never copy someone else's tattoo

Ok, we get it. If you've never had a tattoo before, it's very easy to see one you like, and want a copy of that. But it's not a good idea, and here's why:

It means something to someone else

Maybe the best reason not to copy someone else’s tattoo design is simply this; it’s not yours.

We don’t mean you didn’t create it, so you can’t use it (more on that later), we mean it’s nothing to do with you, and everything to do with someone else.

If someone has that design on their skin, it’s probably going to mean something to them on a personal level. It may have been specially designed to remind them of a person or a memory, so you taking it not only degrades that memory, but doesn’t fit with you and your life.

Find a design that suits you, that’s personal to you, and this way it’s yours.

It's insulting to the artist

It’s one thing to sit down with an artist and design a tattoo, or even bring one in you’ve designed yourself. It’s quite another to bring a design in another artist has created and demand that.

It’s insulting to the tattoo artist. It’s like bringing a packed lunch into a restaurant and wondering why the chef is pissed at you.

Any tattoo artist worth their salt can create a design for you, so asking them to copy someone else’s is a big faux pas.

It's literally stealing

This is more a moral issue, although sometimes it can be a legal one.

Stealing someone else’s design is no different than stealing their novel. It’s their creativity in a physical, material form, and it should be respected.

Copying their work is not only morally wrong, but disrespectful to the original artist. And it may also get you into legal trouble.

Stay clear of all these problems by simply designing your own tattoo or using your artists previous designs.

If you would like an original tattoo, then come see us here at Sunset.


The Sunset family make the papers!

Check out this lovely wee piece in Stuff about Sunset’s founding mother Misery, AKA Tanja Jade Thompson.


Misery is one of New Zealand’s most beloved and respected pop artists, doing her country proud by exhibiting all over the world in places such as Berlin, Taiwan, Paris, Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Her Chinese Tahitian grandmother fostered Misery’s artistic talent inspiring her intense passion for Pacific and Asian art during their time together and on trips to Tahiti, which is still evident in her work today.

As a teen, Tanja went to Metropolitan College which enhanced her penchant for art.  It was there her unique and distinct characters evolved, heavily influenced by obscure Japanese cartoons, cults and Gods, and all things magical.

Misery’s creative reach is extensive, ranging from highly crafted paintings and wall art to animation, fashion and toys and more recently children’s decor brand Misery Guts. She also sculpts, having completed two commissioned bronzes in Auckland’s Art District of Karangahape Road in 2016.

The Sunset family

The article in Stuff shows around Tom and Misery’s home, introducing the kids too; Charlie, Ramona, and Billie.

“This is kind of the house my husband grew up in,” Misery says in the article. “His mum bought the villa next door, and he moved in there with his mum and two sisters when he was a little kid.

“Tom’s mum got together with Johnny, who owns the house we live in now. Johnny had two sons, and they kind of joined the families together. At one stage, this house was joined to the house next door with a tunnel.

“As everybody grew up and moved out of home, Johnny, who was an architect, built a beautiful home out the back. So we kind of live in a commune.

“When Tom and I got together, we moved in here and had flatmates. That was about five or six years ago. All the flatmates have moved out, and children have moved in.

“Our house is probably the most rundown, lived-in house on the street. It's quite obvious we're artists - there's always stuff everywhere. It's a classic old villa that's been transformed a little bit to make it more of a flat.”

You can click here to read the full article on


Join us this weekend at the New Zealand tattoo festival

This weekend sees the return of the largest tattoo event in Australasia, and the team from Sunset will be there!

The New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival will be held at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth on the 25th/26th of November, with some of the best artists in the world in attendance.

Now in its seventh year, the festival sees over 250 artists and models attending, making it the biggest this side of the world.

With tattoo artists such as Ryan Ashley MalarkeyTommy Helm, and Dan Smith coming over from the USA, the festival has garnered a reputation worldwide, and is only set to get bigger every year.

Entertainment highlights will include Head Like A Hole live on Saturday the 25th, 3 shows a day from FMX superstar Levi Sherwood, BMX, live performances from U.K fire dancer Cervena Fox & aerialist Venus Starr.

Come say hello!

It’s still not too late to buy your tickets for this weekend, and by buying through Ticketek now, you can save money rather than paying at the gate.

An adult 2-day pass is only $45, 10 bucks cheaper than paying on the day, and an adult day pass is $30, compared to 35 on the day. Kids 14 and under are free.

Tattoo appointments can be made by contacting the artists direct - once announced, make sure you include the following in your email, size of the tattoo, placement on body, any reference pics you have & your budget, lots artists will also be doing walk up tattoos all weekend long.

Give us a call today with any questions you have about the weekend, or how you can book in one of our outstanding artists.

We’ll see you there!!


The Sunset Tattoo Artists

From humble beginnings just a few years ago, Sunset has grown into one of Auckland’s most thriving and respected tattoo studios.

Tom McMillan opened Sunset with his wife, well known NZ artist, Misery only 3 short years ago, and now Sunset has taken on more artists on a permanent basis, along with special guests popping in from time to time.

Tom McMillan

Tom Tom opened Sunset Tattoo in 2014 working around the world as well as in some of New Zealand's best tattoo studios. He has been tattooing for over 10 years and focuses on specializing in his own unique take on western traditional and Japanese tattoo styles. Tom switches easily between large-scale full body tattoos to palm size one-shot tattoos, and is always on the look out for new, original design challenges.

Tristan Marler

Tristan is of Te Rarawa descent, from the Hokianga in the far North. He is trained in Whakairo Rakau (traditional wood carving). He has been blending his knowledge of carving and Maori art over to the art of Tattooing. Tristan specializes in Ta Moko, Blackwork, pattern work, geometric and dot-work tattoo styles.

Thomas Clark

Thomas has been a full time Ta Moko artist for the past 12 years. Thomas is a well-respected Māori artist whose formal training and applied practice allows him to cross several artistic disciplines – Tā Moko (Traditional Markings on Skin), Kirituhi (Applied Skin Design), Rauangi (Abstract Painting), Whakairo Uku (Clay Sculpture).

Mash Primrose

Mash specialises in bold western traditional tattooing with his own unique take.  His tattoos are perfect for anyone looking to get a traditional tattoo with a modern stylish twist. 

Capilli Tupou

Capilli Tupou is an artist specialising in old school traditional style tattooing. As a New Zealander of Maori (Te Rarawa) and American Samoan heritage, Capilli brings his own unique Polynesian slant to the style. 

Magali Corpas

Magali Corpas is the newest member to the Sunset tattoo family. She specialises in contemporary blackwork and delicately lined tattoos. See more of Magali's work here: @magalicorpastattooer 


Does dark skin make a difference with tattoos?

There is plenty of advice out there for getting a tattoo if you're white, there’s not much out there for those with darker skin.

People from African, Indian and Pacifica backgrounds are often forgotten about when it comes to basic information and advice, that's why we’ve put together this short article to explain a couple of things about getting ink when you’ve a higher melanin content.

Talk to your artist first

Good advice for anyone getting a tattoo, regardless of skin colour. Talking to your tattoo artist before going under the needle is always a good idea.

By booking a consultation, you can get a better feeling of what’s possible and understand the limitations involved.

If you have darker skin, your initial idea might not be plausible, or won’t come out as you’re expecting. Talk to your tattoo artist first, they are the ones with the experience and know what they're doing. Let them help you make the right choice.

Avoid lighter colours

Despite what bullshit you may read on the internet, there are NO special inks for dark skin. Tattoo ink isn’t made for skin types, but the quality of the ink can vary widely.

Tattoo ink is generally translucent, so the skin underneath will show through. This means, the darker your skin, then less lighter-colours will show.

Black or grey ink usually works best on darker skin, evidenced by this cool MF.

Genetics can affect scar tissue

If you're of African ancestry, your skin may be prone to keloids, which is an overgrowth of scar tissue.

Knowing whether or not you are prone to keloids can help before getting a tattoo, as your artist may need to use different techniques to limit the scar tissue, including reducing power to the tattoo gun, and not going over the same area twice.

Call us today at Sunset Tattoo, and we can help you with your first tattoo.

mike tyson.jpg

Latest news from Sunset Tattoo

As an ever-expanding business, we’re constantly changing, so here’s what’s going on at Sunset Tattoo Studio this month!

Welcome Capilli!

Sunset Tattoo is really excited to welcome Capilli Tupou permanently to the family. Capilli has been working alongside us all year, and we are honoured to have him! He will be disbanding his Ten tigers to concentrate on work, family and his hectic international travel schedule.

Capilli Tupou is an artist specialising in old school traditional style tattooing. As a New Zealander of Maori (Te Rarawa) and American Samoan heritage, Capilli brings his own unique Polynesian slant to the style. 

Contact us or Capilli to book your session in with him now.

We are also stoked to welcome Milky to the Sunset Tattoo crew! Milky is your go to man for top class traditional tattoos and has tons of classic flash designs ready to go! 

If you are looking for world-class, American-traditional, electric tattoos, look no further. Milky's no-nonsense, bright and bold style has it's roots firmly in American-traditional tattooing history.

Guest artists popping in

We’re also delighted to have two very special guest tattooists joining us at the end of the month, all the way from Sydney.

Ben Hastings and Chris Martin from Hunter & Fox Tattoo will be hanging out at studio November 29th and 30th, so contact us for bookings!

New Zealand Tattoo Festival

The last weekend of November sees Australasia’s biggest tattoo festival kick off in New Plymouth, and of course Sunset will be there!

Now in its seventh year, the festival sees over 250 artists and models attending, making it the biggest event in the New Zealand calendar.

Tattoo appointments can be made by pre-booking with one of our artists today! Simply email or call us to find out more.