A presentation widely circulated online pointed out that the tattoo systems with the highest price tags were also the most expensive to make. The Chicago-based design studio Real U produced the company’s Lethal Ink brand logo etched on to a Human Ink chip; the head piece, with a fully-accessorised process, is currently listed for $27,900 (100 square centimetres). Cryptically, A.D.U. says you’ll get “additional benefits… beyond that of mere aesthetic appeal” if you splash out.
The man behind Dead Ink, British-based tattoo artist Justin Crislip, is also creative director of Primal Ink Ltd (see below). Creating a buzz on the internet with his wares, Crislip uses his own designs as templates and chips them into small mosaics which he then creates into custom tattoos on his body. This is the only option you get if you fork out £90 for a tiny Eternal Ink Chip – you have to place it into a blank piece of microfibre paper and wait as long as seven days to get your new inking. Crislip’s consumer-grade brand Ultimate Ink has more complicated designs, including a skull on a fan, but he is also licensed to use over 500 artists’ designs including Stan Laurel and Agatha Christie.
Designed for customisation, Radiant Ink is a bolt-on system created by Elliot Moss in Sydney. If you are sold on his one-use #mantuccins, a sticker on the back of your underarms will charge your phone over a standard charging cord; others cost £60.
Monumental Synthetic Tattooing Systems (MTSS) is a stable business dedicated to selling products sold only online. In case you’re interested, a two-pronged Dynamic Direct Ink tat costs £445 for 14.2l and can be applied to your arm or leg. Say one night, it will stick for a minimum of 48 hours, with extra-long ink-caps fitted every three days.
The odd one out
If like many you favour small ink-caps – i.e. no studs, strands, crosses, designs – then Vital Fix IV is just for you. The wearable tat, available in five colours, is said to work better than the standard commercial modal printer, with a much smoother 1.2mm cap. Add some polish and some sculpting, and you’re on your way to post-independent human tattooing.