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.

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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.


The 100 year old Filipino tattoo legend

Hailing from a remote mountain tribe in the hills, legendary tattoo master Whang-Od was transported (with help from the Philippine Air Force) from her tribal village of Buscalan to Manila for the FAME trade show.

Whang-Od is believed to be the country's oldest traditional tattoo artist, with the centenarian performing her ancient craft of hand-tapped Filipino tattoos at the weekend event.

According to an article in the New York Times, she has been responsible for single-handedly keeping an ancient tradition alive.

Using just a few simple tools (thorns from a pomelo tree, bamboo sticks and coal), she has spent the past 80 fucking years inking not only headhunting warriors and women of her tribe but a new wave of "tattoo tourists" – people who travel to her remote village to be tattoo by her.

Controversy over Whang-Od’s involvement

Many people felt that Whang-Od’s invitation to the event was solely for publicity purposes, and nothing to do with respect.

Thousands of people became angry at a photo of the elderly woman falling asleep at the festival, calling it exploitive and degrading.

"Whang Od is 100, a national treasure. And you made her go to Manila to tattoo 200 people for profit? This is sick and inhumane," said one person on the official site.

The organisers fired back, stating that the institution wanted to support her uniquely traditional art.

"She symbolises the pure talent of Filipinos," organising director Clayton Tugonon said in a statement to the BBC, adding that her invitation was "sought through proper channels", which included village elders and indigenous committees.

Filipino tattoos

The Spanish conquistadors who landed in 1521 dubbed the Philippines the “Islands of the Painted Ones” after the heavily tattooed locals.

The tradition goes back thousands of years, using the familiar “tapping” style; hammering ink into the skin using basic tools and charcoal.

The simple designs are evocative of nature around the country- outlines of centipedes, trees and snakes or basic geometric patterns such as diamonds and squares.




Sunset now proud distributors of Anchored Tattoo Stencil Solution

Every artist will tell you that all good tattoos begin with a good stencil, and we now stock the very best.

Sunset Tattoo are excited to announce that we are now proud distributors of Anchored Stencil Solution, by world-renowned artist Nikko Hurtado.

Nikko Hurtado

Born in California in 1981 to Hispanic heritage, Nikko Hurtado grew up in the high desert drawing cartoons and characters for fun.

He went to the Art Centre of Pasadena for a few years in his teens, but it wasn’t until his early 20s when Nikko’s career changed. After calling in to see a friend in his tattoo studio, he was offered an apprenticeship.

He started tattooing the next day.

Experience brings perfection

After years of development, testing, trial and error, Nikko Hurtado has perfected a tattoo stencil solution.

With his own unique formula, the respected tattoo artist has created an effective solution, producing crisp, clear lines which last for hours.

Guaranteed to be loved by tattoo artists around the world, this special tattoo stencil solution provides an even truer representation of the original drawing.

The long-lasting formula will stay crisp for hours, allowing you to work from start to finish without having to worry about fading or missing parts of the design.

Talk to us for all your tattoo supplies

Sunset Tattoo have also been in the game a long time, and we’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t.

That’s why we started our own Tattoo Supply store, Tattoo Station with all the equipment and essentials that we use ourselves for our work.

We sell everything from our own special range of Botan Needles, through to the world famous Eternal Ink, and now we’re delighted to add Anchored Tattoo Stencil solution to the list.

Contact us today if you have any questions about our range.


Only 6 weeks until the New Zealand Tattoo Festival!

The biggest tattoo event in Australasia is back for its 7th year! The New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival will be held at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth on the 25 & 26 November 2017, and of course the team at Sunset will be there!

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


In only six short years, the festival has become Australasia’s biggest tattoo show, with over 250 artists and models attending. As usual, the standard of the artists attending is world class, with the likes of Ryan Ashley MalarkeyTommy Helm, and Dan Smith coming over from the USA.

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

Buy your tickets now and make sure you get a place at the biggest tattoo festival in New Zealand!

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.

An adult day pass is $30, compared to 35 on the day, and kids 14 and under are free.

If you’re heading to New Plymouth for the festival, pre-book with one of our artists today! Simply email


Human history and tattooing - a timeline

The art of tattooing isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s ancient.

Literally, people have been tattooing themselves since before the dawn of civilisation. Think back to Biblical times with Jesus. Now keep going. Double that time frame to the building of the pyramids… and double that again.

We’re heading back to a time when we had to worry about sabretooth tigers and woolly mammoths.

Timeline Of Tattoos

10,000BC: We’re back in the Palaeolithic period, when tattooing for spiritual purposes is thought to have begun. We’re not certain, but it is believed tattoos were a way to ward off “evil spirits” and sickness.

3300BC: In 1991, two hikers in the Alps came across Ötzi the Iceman, a mummified Neolithic man. This 5,000 year old murder victim had over 50 tattoos!

1045BC-256BC: Tattoos in China during the Zhou Dynasty were associated with criminals, gangsters and bandits, with criminals often tattooed to warn others of their deceitful/dangerous past.

Samoa: The traditional method of Samoan tattooing has been carried out for 2000 years.

Maori: Moko tattoos of the past 1000 years differ from Polynesian tattoos in that the lines of the pattern are carved into the flesh rather than pricked into the skin.

1770s: Many of the global sailors exploring the planet along with the likes of Captain Cook, bring home tattoos from the pacific. This starts the long tradition and association of sailors and tattoos.

1876: Thomas Edison designs and patent an “electric pen”. In 1891 Samuel O’Reilly modifies the design to inject ink under the skin, and creates the first tattoo gun.

1898: An estimated one in five members of the British gentry was tattooed.

2010: The Ministry of Health releases guidelines on traditional tattooing to protect against infections, hepatitis and HIV.

2017: One in three Kiwis under the ages of 30 have a tattoo.

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo, contact Sunset tattoo studio in Auckland.


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Japanese court rules tattoo artists need to be qualified doctors

A Japanese tattoo artist who argued he should not have to hold a medical certificate to tattoo people has lost his case and been ordered to pay a fine.

The decision by the Osaka District Court is likely to deal a major blow to the tattoo industry in a country where the Tattoo art is largely associated with the Yakuza, mafia-like organised crime syndicates.

Japanese law

Under Japanese law all tattoo artists require a formal medical qualification. Police raided the studio of Taiki Masuda in 2015 but he refused to pay the ensuing fine and asked for a trial.

The case, the first of its kind, has drawn international attention to tattoo culture in Japan, where historical associations with gangsters and a general social pressure for conformity.

Mr Masuda had argued that his tattooing was a form of artistic expression, and that preventing him for operating was a violation of the constitution. He said tattooists needed knowledge of safety and hygiene, but not to the same extent as licensed medical practitioners.

But the court ruled that medical knowledge and skills were indispensable in assessing the risks, and sentenced Mr Masuda to a 150,000 yen fine (about 1,850 New Zealand dollars).

Japanese culture

Mr Masuda said tattoos were "a part of traditional Japanese culture" and he would appeal against the ruling.

Irezumi is the name given to tattooing in Japan, and refers to many different forms of traditional Japanese tattoos, or modern forms inspired or derived from these. Just to confuse things, the word can be written AND spoken in several different ways, and also translate into several different words, although the most common is literally “insert ink”.

Japanese tattoos date back thousands of years, but their meaning and role in society fluctuates with different time periods. It was around the Kofun period (300-600 AD) that tattoos began to take on negative associations.

Criminals were tattooed as a form of punishment, so others would know they had committed a crime. It is estimated there are around 300 tattoo artists in Japan, it is unclear how many of those hold a medical qualification.


Maori tattoos in New Zealand

There are many different styles and methods of tattooing in modern day New Zealand. From traditional Maori and Pacifica styles, through to post-modern symbolism, the styles vary, but tattooing first began in New Zealand with Tā Moko. 

Tā Moko

It’s impossible to establish when Tā Moko started as there are no written records before the Europeans arrived, as there was no formal Maori written language. Instead, historians have had to rely on archaeologists and the accounts of the first European settlers.

Excavated sites have found tattooing tools dating back to the very earliest settlers, with some of the tools the same as the ones used in Samoa. Although the patterns and designs vary throughout the Pacific when it comes to tattoos, the technique of rhythmically tapping a bone chisel, lashed to a small wooden shaft remains the same.

Some of the earliest accounts of tattooing in New Zealand were by Sydney Parkinson. Parkinson was Captain James Cook’s artist on board the Endeavour, when it landed in Poverty Bay in 1769. He sketched and painted local Maori displaying their Moko, and described in detail the different styles and patterns he witnessed.

The Explorers noticed that Maori women were not as extensively tattooed as the men. Their upper lips were outlined, usually in dark blue, and their nostrils were also very finely incised. The chin moko was always the most popular, and continued to be practiced even into the 1970s.

Not just a pretty face

Tā Moko facial tattoos aren’t just for decoration, they also tell a story. A person’s ancestry is indicated on each side of the face. The left side is generally (but not always, depending on the tribe) the father's side, while the right-hand side indicates the mother's ancestry. If one side of a person's ancestry was not of rank, that side of the face would have no Moko design. Likewise if, in the centre forehead area there is no Moko design, this means the wearer either has no rank, or has not inherited rank.

Come to Sunset for a Maori tattoo

If you’re interested in getting a Maori tattoo design, then you should come see Tristan at Sunset Tattoo.

Tristan is of Te Rarawa descent, from the Hokianga in the far north. He graduated from the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts institute in 2014 with a diploma in Whakairo Rakau (traditional wood carving). Not long before Tristan graduated, he approached Tom about learning the craft of tattooing and bringing his knowledge of carving and Maori art over to the medium.

Tristan is now tattooing full time with Sunset, and specializes in Ta Moko, Blackwork, pattern work, geometric and dot-work tattoo styles.


Buy quality tattoo supplies from us

Tattoo artists who have been in the industry for long enough, know the difference between quality tattoo supplies and the difference they make to the finished product. That’s why artists in New Zealand know to come to Sunset for their tattoo supplies.

Our sister site, Tattoo Station

Our sister company, Tattoo Station, started from humble beginnings, and has quickly become one of New Zealand’s finest tattoo supply companies - all within the space of a year.

Sunset started as somewhere we could create artwork, in many different media, without stress or pressure, and in a few short years we are now attracting some of the best tattoo artists in New Zealand, and overseas.

This studio may only be a few of years old, but we’ve all been in this business a long time, and after years of buying tattoo supplies at huge mark-ups from people who don't even tattoo, we became frustrated and decided to do it ourselves.

That’s when Tattoo Station was born.

Passing the savings onto you

Tattoo Station is a tattoo supply store by tattoo artists for tattoo artists.

Forget the companies making a fortune off our backs; we’re bypassing them altogether.

We design and make our own tattoo supplies, and with combined decades of experience in the industry, we know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

We supply some of the highest quality needles in the world with our Botan range, along with one of the best aftercare creams available on the market, Protat. We’re the official supplies in New Zealand for the world famous Eternal Ink, and we’re now selling Senders Widows, beautiful, hand-made tattoo machines.

Add to that the usual tattoo studio essentials, and we’ve got you covered for all your tattoo supply needs here in New Zealand.

Forget ordering from overseas, along with their huge mark-ups. Stay in local, support Kiwi business, and save money and time while doing it.

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New Zealand Tattoo Ink Regulations

Well, surprisingly, there isn’t any.

Yep, that’s correct, the tattoo industry here in Aotearoa isn’t regulated, which means that tattoo ink isn’t regulated either.

This is why it is so important to go to a respected, reputable tattoo studio if you’re getting a tattoo.

Like us!

Tattoo Ink in New Zealand

One third of Kiwis under the age of 30 have a tattoo, and with one of the highest rates of tattooing in the world, you’d expect the industry to be regulated, but it’s not.

There are guidelines set out, but these aren’t legally binding in any way, and following them is completely voluntary.

Kiwi tattooists are expecting New Zealand laws to change soon when it comes to ink, as the European Chemicals Agency just published a list of potentially toxic chemicals used in some tattoos.

Across the Ditch

Our Australian cousins across the Tasman are more plugged in than we are. Tattoo artists in Australia are required to have a licence before tattooing a person, with breaches resulting in jail time.

This is something New Zealand may copy soon, with terrible “homers” causing infections and blood poisoning. This is bad for the industry as a whole, with professional studios and artists like us, being lumped in with a bunch of chancers doing tattoos in their garage for their mates.

Sunset’s tattoo ink

Here at Sunset, we are proud to be an official distributor of the world-famous Eternal Ink.

Made from organic pigments, deionized water and hamamelis water, this bright coloured ink is free of animal by-products and even suitable for vegans.

They arrive sealed in a medical grade bottle, ensuring hygiene, and the ink pigments are regularly tested and comply with all health and safety regulations.

Eternal Ink is not tested on animals, so there’s no guilty conscious tagging along with every purchase.

Eternal Ink are very picky about who they let sell their high-quality products. We are the only distributors in Auckland given this privilege and we take it seriously.

Contact us today if you’d like to order some of the finest tattoo ink at the cheapest prices, or head on over to our sister site, Tattoo Station and take a look at the other tattoo supplies we offer.


A basic guide to tattoo aftercare

Getting a tattoo isn’t like getting a haircut – there are health and safety concerns to follow up on. Here at Sunset, we’ll explain to you exactly what to do when it comes to tattoo aftercare.

Listen to your artist and follow these simple instructions after getting a tattoo, and not only will you be fine, but your tattoo will still look awesome years from now.

·        Leave your bandage on for at least a couple of hours after getting your tattoo. It’s there for a reason- to stop the bleeding and compact the wound, so leave it on.

·        And yes, it is a wound, so don’t get it infected!! Never touch it without cleaning your hands first, and clean it with soft, non-scented anti-bacterial soap, at least 3 times per day.

·        Keep it hydrated. This doesn’t mean splashing water on it when you wake up. For the first few days apply ointment. We recommend Protat aftercare cream.

·        For the first couple of weeks, try not to agitate the healing process by wearing tight clothes that will rub against your tattoo. If it’s on your back, learn to sleep on your front.

·        Avoid swimming pools, spas or hot tubs. Again, this is a great way to get an infection. Try to avoid any activity that make you sweat, and don’t expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight.

·        And last but not least, don’t pick at it!

So there you go, stick to these basic rules and you’ll be fine. For long term care, always use sun screen (which you should be using anyway), and keep your tattoo moisturised.

Sunset Tattoo are one of the most hygienic, respected and professional tattoo studios in Auckland. Contact us today to make a booking, or pop into the studio for a friendly chat. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have about aftercare.


Getting your first tattoo? Then read this

If you have been thinking about getting your first tattoo, then we can help.

Sunset Tattoo is a professional tattoo studio in Auckland. As one of the most respected studios in the city, we pride ourselves on giving good advice, especially to people who are considering their first tattoo.

Before you go under the needle, consider the following:

Tattoos are permanent

Yes, ok, we all know that, but understanding that is something completely different. If you’re 18 and want a tattoo of your partner’s name, we would really advise you to think about it. Because let’s be honest here, statistically, you’re not going to be together in a few years. Think about what you’re doing, and truly ask yourself if you’ll be happy with this same tattoo a decade from now.

Do your research

If you’re unsure about what type tattoo you want, research it. Talk to people, and read tattoo websites and forums. Your first tattoo is a big deal, so don’t get one just for the sake of getting one.

Once you’ve decided on a design, do your research on tattoo studios. Find somewhere that is clean and reputable (like us!), with a large portfolio of work (like us!), with a friendly and supportive environment (like us!).

Aftercare is essential

The process doesn’t stop once you leave the studio. Proper aftercare is a vital part of getting your first tattoo. Without it, you could run into some serious health issues. We offer a range of creams and advice for you in the weeks following your first tattoo.

We take our profession very seriously, least of all our Health & Safety responsibilities. Getting inked in our tattoo studio in Auckland is a safe experience. We practice the highest level of hygiene and meticulously adhere to the Auckland council Health & Safety guidelines.

So if you're interested in getting your first tattoo with us, give us a call or pop into the studio for a chat.


Soundwave tattoos – mixing art with technology

The latest tattoo craze is an incredible blend of art and technology.

Soundwave tattoos have exploded onto the scene in 2017, and people are queuing up to get one.

The design is based on an audio signal, and with the corresponding app, you can turn your new ink into sound.


The soundwave tattoo allows you to record up to one minute of sound in your design. It all started when two friends got the opening line from Tiny Dancer tattooed by Nate Siggard.

As they were leaving after their appointment, Nate’s girlfriend Juliana said “wouldn’t it be cool if you could listen to the tattoo?” and Nate realized that he could make that happen. Nate decided he needed one of his own, with Juliana and their 4 month old baby saying “I love you” which he filmed to share online.

After the video went viral, messages from people from all over the world started pouring in, and Nate realised he had a great marketing idea.

People are wanting soundwaves of their children laughing, their dogs howling, and lines from their favourite songs.

How does it work?

It works by a person uploading the audio they want into the app or website, and Nate and his team generate the soundwave from that.

After that, you can take the generated soundwave to a tattoo artist from their Artist Network.

Once the artist completes the tattoo, a photo of the tattoo is uploaded to their platform, which then processes the audio and tattoo and adds it to the app.

When a user then opens the app and points their camera at the tattoo, it recognizes the shape of the Soundwave and plays back the audio.

It’s a nice idea, but the problem is the tattoo will only work for that specific app. If the company goes bust, or their servers go down… then it won’t work.

But it’s a risk many seem to be willing to take, with a long waiting list already forming!

Check out their facebook page here.

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What not to do in a tattoo studio

Tattoo artists have a great job. Unlike most people, they do what they love for a living.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job.

There are things that make tattoo artists want to pull their hair out (or yours), either because they are so mind-numbingly stupid, or incredibly offensive.

If you do go for a tattoo, please don’t do any of the following…

Scoff at the price

Tattoo artists are just that – artists. And art costs money. No artist wants to sell their work for less than it’s worth, so pay up! And remember, when it comes to tattoos, you get what you pay for.

You’ll probably be charged at an hourly rate, so the cost is dependent on the size and detail of your tattoo. If you feel the tattoo is too much, then go away and save some more. The attitude of “I know a guy who’ll do it for half that price” is one which will you will absolutely regret in the long run.

Turn up drunk

We won’t tattoo you if you’re pissed. Simple as.

If you need a wee bit of Dutch Courage to get inked, then you shouldn’t be getting a tattoo in the first place. Drunk people are a pain in the ass and not fun to work with. On top of that, it’s dangerous to get a tattoo with alcohol in your system. It thins the blood, making healing more difficult, so stay off the booze.

Not turn up at all

Not turning up to your appointment is a big no-no. We offer a free consultation here at Sunset, but there’s a reason we take a deposit once you make a booking. When we book a time for you, that means we’re not taking any other customers, so if you don’t turn up, that’s money we could have been earning. Instead we’re twiddling our thumbs, wondering if you’ve chickened out, forgotten, or been hit by a bus. It’s usually chickened out though.

If you need to cancel or move your appointment and give us more than 48 hours notice we will keep the deposit as shop credit for you.

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Are tattoos suitable for vegans?

Did you know that 1-in-10 people in New Zealand is either a vegetarian or vegan? That figure has jumped significantly in the previous decade, and it looks like it’s only going to increase.

With a substantial part of the public against animal products, how does this affect the tattoo industry? With many tattoo products made from animal products, or at the very least tested on animals, there is a danger that the industry is missing out on a significant demographic.

What contains animal products?

Tattoo Ink is the biggest offender, with many containing glycerine from animal fat, gelatine from hooves, or shellac from beetles.

But it’s not just ink. Many supplies contain animal products, such as latex gloves, aftercare creams, and stencil paper.

In fact, if you’re being really strict about it – which most vegans are – then pretty much everything in a tattoo studio can be attached to animals in some way. Even aluminium foil isn’t vegan because it contains vark, which is made from silver metal beaten between sheets of ox guts.

Eternal Ink – Suitable for Vegans

Here at Sunset Tattoo we use the world-famous Eternal Ink.

Eternal Ink is not tested on animals and free of animal by-products, so there’s no guilty conscious tagging along with every purchase.

Made from organic pigments, deionized water and hamamelis water, this bright coloured ink is supplied in a medical grade sealed bottle, ensuring its longevity before and after opening, the ink pigments are regularly evaluated for testing and comply with all health and safety regulations.

The brand trusted by tattoo artists around the world, Eternal Ink lead the way in tattoo ink by setting strict standards in product consistency, quality ingredients, and outstanding performance. They take great satisfaction in knowing that artists believe and trust in their product.

If you would like a guilt-free tattoo, then come see us at Sunset!

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Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good

We all love a bargain, and finding a gem in an op-shop now and again is fantastic. New Zealand isn’t exactly the cheapest place to live, and for anyone making minimum wage, the less we pay, the better off we are.

But tattoos are different.

Never make price the deciding factor

If you’re seriously considering a tattoo, then put the price out of your mind. If price is your main concern, then you’re not serious about it.

Figure out what kind of tattoo you want first, where it’s going to go and how big you want it. Then find a respectable, experienced tattoo artist.

Talk with them about your ideas, and what you want as a finished product. Think about what you want ten years from now.

Now ask about the price.

If it’s outside of your budget, either explain that to the artist and figure something else out, or simply wait until you’ve saved up enough.

The cost of something isn’t the same as the price

If you make the mistake of going cheap, then you may regret it for the rest of your life.

Let’s just say you’ve gone to see a tattoo artist, explained what you wanted, and they have quoted you something that’s a couple hundred more bucks than you were expecting. The smart thing to do is to save up and come back another day.

The dumb thing to do is go to someone who’ll do it cheaper.

People who tend to do tattoos ‘cheaper’ are usually not only less skilled than professional tattoo artists, but a lot more dangerous.

There will always be someone who’s bought a tattoo gun off Trade Me and thinks they know what they’re doing. Without the proper training in Health &Safety, or their premises meeting hygiene standards, a tattoo from someone like this is just asking for trouble.

Even forgetting about the risk of disease such as Hepatitis from previously used needles, there’s a very real threat of your tattoo becoming infected.

Not to mention the fact you might end up like this bell-end.

The latest tattoo ink colours from Sunset

Sunset tattoo are now in the tattoo ink supply business! And what a range we have for you tattoo artists out there!

We are proud to be an official distributor of the world-famous Eternal Ink.

Made from organic pigments, de-ionized water and hamamelis water, this bright coloured ink is free of animal by-products and even suitable for vegans.

They arrive sealed in a medical grade bottle, ensuring hygiene, and the ink pigments are regularly tested and comply with all health and safety regulations.

Eternal Ink is not tested on animals, so there’s no guilty conscious tagging along with every purchase. Check out our sister site Tattoo Station for all your tattoo supply needs, including the incredible Eternal Ink.

Amazing colour sets

The amazing Liz Cook created this palette of colours. The set features a vibrant collection of rich violets and some eye-catching greens.

Chucks Seasonal Spectrum Series features an assortment of colours found throughout the seasons. You'll love the colourful range of warm and cool hues. 

Detroit put a nation on wheels and rolled us through a lifetime of memories. The Motor City Ink Set is a flashback to Detroit speed. Here are 12 hues inspired by vintage sheet metal fantasies, high gloss paint and all the reckless joys of a fine ride.

Designed by tattoo artist Halo, the Eternal Ink Halo Fifth Dimension ink set collects 12 opaque hues of intense light Use the hues straight from the bottle as complementary or as high-value tints to quickly provide additional pop and impact to your art!

The Eternal Ink portrait series has been designed to give depth and contrast to portrait work. With warm and cool tones, this set blends a perfect assortment of colours for portrait and pin-up work.

Myke Chambers' art is instantly recognizable with rich, saturated hues and strong symbolic images inked in his unmistakable style. Presented here are 12 of Chambers' favorite hues mixed perfectly to Eternal inks high standards.