There’s a tattoo artist in Berlin who specializes in what is known as left hand tattooing, also known as ignorant style tattooing. Guik Misanthropie practices his art from Unter der Hand tattoo studio, which translates to ‘on the quiet’, and has gained quite a social media following for his unique style of tattooing. Where most artists and customers strive for a perfect piece of art, Guik finds beauty in imperfect, child-like designs.

What is left handed tattooing?

Left handed tattoos aren’t necessarily done with the left hand but can essentially look like they are. Ultimately, these tattoos are a style that breaks away from convention. Similar to a graffiti style, this type of art is all about rebelling against the standard way of doing things, as opposed to a lack of talent or education. It’s an artistic expression of freedom away from the typical way of tattooing. Some artists, like Misanthropie, go for child-like designs, while other tattoo artists go for a street style of art that is like tattooing graffiti onto someone’s skin.

The inspiration behind the tattoos

Misanthropie gets a lot of his inspiration from client’s childhood memories or other significant events in their lives that they want to immortalize in a tattoo. Customers usually let him have a lot of freedom over the design once they’ve given him the general idea of what they’re after, resulting in a unique piece every time that clients love.

Even celebrities love this tattoo style, with Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson having a simple horseshoe that reads ‘lucky you’, and singer Sia having her arms and hands covered with colorful dogs and lettering in the same style.

Queer Bodmod Compass

Misanthropie is behind Queer Bodmod Compass, an online tool for people to find tattoo artists in a specific area. Artists can volunteer their information and customers can send in their reviews, ratings and search specifically for LGBTQ+ artists that come recommended, so it also helps artists to build up their network. The overall aim is to develop safe spaces for both artists and people wanting tattoos, so reviews are asked to be about how safe the artist and area feels, as well as their work ethics, as opposed to their talent or style of work.

Other tattoo artists following this style of art

Fuzi, the tattoo artist responsible for Scarlett Johansson’s left handed tattoo, is another artist specializing in this style. Not only does his artwork stray from the norms, so does his workplace as he travels to different countries and deliberately picks unconventional, interesting places to tattoo people, such as tunnels and rooftops.

Other tattoo artists have criticized him for his methods, usually because it’s not a sterile, hygienic or safe way to tattoo, but Fuzi believes it’s just another form of art. He also points out that he’s never short of someone waiting for a tattoo from him, as is the case with other artists who tattoo in this style, so he must be doing something right.

Left handed tattooing is a style that is bound to grow in popularity, with some artists believing that tattooing will move more towards a freedom of expression type of art that
embraces all styles, rather than just a few. People certainly like the style as Guik is kept busy at his studio and has a large social media following that praise him on his work.