tattoo artists

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 

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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.

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Upcoming guest artists at Sunset

Here at Sunset Tattoo, we’re constantly joining forces with renowned tattoo artists from not only New Zealand, but from around the world.

Sunset artists

Tom started Sunset with his wife, well-known Kiwi tattoo artist Misery, and not only have they built up one of Auckland’s finest tattoo studios, but they’ve also gathered some of the best artists in the industry.

As well as home-grown talent, working for Sunset, we also have the exceptional Ten Tigers Tattoo working here in the studio with us. 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.

Capilli’s work has been admired both within New Zealand and abroad, allowing him to work at some of the best studios around the world. Here in Auckland he has worked with Sacred Heart Tattoo and Two Hands Tattoo.

Guests at Sunset

Continuing our desire to work with the best artists around, we have some very special guests dropping into the studio over the next few months.

Ryan Ussher

Ryan Ussher from Sydney will be guest spotting at the Sunset studio on November 20th. Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese tattooing, the ukiyo-e period and the colourful western world, Ryan’s tattooing is applied with heavy contrast, movement and clarity that aims to be noticed from across the street.

Makoto Horimatsu

We are very excited to announce Makoto Horimatsu is returning to Sunset after visiting us last year. Makoto will be guest spotting at the studio in late November, so contact us now if you would like to go on a waiting list to get a booking!

Hailing from Japan, Kokura is one of the finest tattoo artists in the industry and we are truly honoured to have him join us.

Nicklas Wong

The very talented Nicklas Wong will be guest spotting at the studio August 1st - 5th. Contact the studio for bookings!

Why a cheap tattoo can turn out to be the most expensive

Ok, we get it. Everyone loves a bargain. And there’s certainly nothing like finding a gem in an op-shop now and again. Living in a consumerist society, we’re trained to find the cheapest price for things, and the less we pay, the better off we are.

But tattoos are different.

Never choose a tattoo on price

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.

Sometimes the cost is more than financial

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 it’ll probably look completely shit.

 

Remember, good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good.

Sunset Tattoo are looking for an artist to join their team!

We started strong here at Sunset, and we're getting stronger! And as we grow we're looking for a talented tattoo artist to join our exclusive team. Do you have what it takes to work for Sunset? 

What we're looking for

If you're applying for the position then please read this.

We're considering experienced artists only. Absolutely no apprentices under any circumstances. Any applicants must have a solid portfolio of work and preferably a strong client base. If you're planning on moving to Auckland and don't have any clients, then don't worry, we'll still consider you, as long as you have the ability to build a base.

All styles are welcome! We already cover a wide range of styles here at Sunset, including traditional, Japanese, and Maori, so we are looking for an experienced tattoo artist to compliment and add to the range of styles that the shop provides. 

 

The team at Sunset Tattoo

Meet the team you'll be working with if you join us.

Tom McMillan 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 lookout for new, original design challenges.

Tristan Marler is of Te Rarawa descent, from the Hokianga in the far north. In 2014 he graduated from the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts institute with a diploma in Whakairo Rakau (traditional wood carving). Tristan is now tattooing full time, and specializes in Ta Moko, Blackwork, pattern work, geometric and dot-work tattoo styles.

Fabian Bidart hails from Chile, and has been tattooing in Auckland City since 2007. He specialises in western traditional tattooing.

 

If you think you have what it takes, please apply with your portfolio to info@sunsettattoo.co.nz