Self-Taught Tattoo Artist Creates Photo-Like Realistic Masterpieces on Human Skin

New Zealand-based tattoo artist Steve Butcher specializes in hyper-realistic tattoos that look like they’ve been printed on the skin instead of hand inked with a tattoo gun.

Working out of Matt Jordan’s Ship Shape Tattoo studio, in West Auckland, Butcher is one of the most in demand tattoo artists at conventions all around the world, and looking at his work, it’s easy to see why. Whether he’s doing portraits of NBA stars, animals or flowers, the end result is always breathtaking. His designs are perfect down to the smallest details, as he always seems to nail even the toughest elements like tiny drops of sweat, hair or reflections in the eyes of his characters.


Steve says he was in art school when he started tattooing. A friend who was working as a tattoo artist saw one of his drawings and suggested he give it a try. He basically taught himself by practicing at home and then started honing his skills on his friends or anyone else who let him ink them. He got his first professional job in a street shop in Auckland City named Streetwise and hasn’t looked back since.


Pop culture is Steve’s main inspiration, but he says he also gets his ideas by watching other talented tattoo artists work. As for his favorite thing to ink, the gifted artist says “anything NBA related, as I am basketball fan”. Believe it or not, he’s only been doing tattoos for five years and says he still has much to learn. It’s hard to believe his artworks could get any better, though.


When he’s not tattooing or traveling the world to attend conventions, Steve Butcher loves to paint, mostly with acrylics, but he has recently gotten into oils as well.







Photos: Steve Butcher/Facebook/Instagram

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