The association

Goals of our work

  • Establishment of tattooing as an appearance form of fine arts
  • Recognition of tattoo art as an intangible cultural heritage, as well as their preservation and protection
  • Support of scientific research in the field of tattoo art



"Tattoos interpret human skin as a writing and painting surface, a 'shaped canvas' stretched skin-tight and close to the skin on the skeletal frame of the body. Art and literature, thus written on the body and cut into the flesh, have indeed become flesh in immediate, incarnating 'incarnation': 'the word became flesh' (John 1:14). an 'image-bearer' who is thus marked and identified once and for all wears his (art) skin more confessedly to market than a normal art collector who can easily part with his pictures again."

Timm Ulrichs 1974





"Countless millennia ago, man stepped out of his given nature by designing himself to appear as a work of art in his world, to be a non-natural being, to embody a supernature that expressed his idea of the self [...]"

Fuchs, Ernst:

Ur-Kunst, Selbstgestaltung. The Transcendence of the Self.

In: Gröning, Karl: Adorned Skin. A Cultural History of Body Art. 2nd edition. Munich 2001. p. 9.

History of the association


The history of the association dates back to 1977, when Manfred Kohrs invited a number of tattoo artists established in Germany - including Horst Streckenbach, Edward Szustak "Tattoo Eddy", Herbert Hoffmann, Heinrich Dietz and Theodor Vetter, as well as Dietmar Gehrer from Switzerland - to an information meeting in Hanover. The purpose of this meeting was to found a national association in order to subsequently introduce technical and hygienic standards. Kohrs founded the National Tattoo Club Germany in 1977 , which became the KUNSTverein 2000 Wedemark e. V. in 2000.

On 2 December 2018, under the chairmanship of Heiko Gantenberg, the association was renamed Tätowierkunst e. V.. Since the beginning of 2019, there is also the association's web presence, including social media. By MarchOktober 2023, the association already has over 550 members. These include not only tattoo artists, but also artists, art historians, lawyers and other scientists.

Currently, 263 members are already involved in Tätowierkunst e. V. (as of November 2021).

Tattoo art?

Tattooing is art!


There is a court judgment from the year 2000, referring to an individual case decision, which states that since the mid-1990s, the tattoo art is recognized as a body art and thus a tattoo artist is to be regarded as an artist. [1]

[1] Excerpt from the judgment of the Social CourtLandshut, 14.12.2000, S. 73.

Even a predominantly crafted work is not a criterion for non-art. Tattooing may not be a pertinent type of work, such as painting or sculpture, but it is a comparable graphical and in some cases painterly activity that is performed with the help of a tool and thus receives a crafting component. This crafting component is also present in sculpture, etchings and other types of work. The own creative achievement is certainly given. Most tattoo artists make their own designs in dialogue with the customer. The claim that commissioned work can be attributed to craftsmanship is incomprehensible, and even portraiture of royal courtyards dating back centuries was commissions and yet art. Exhibitions with tattooing in renowned museums show that tattoos are in part already arrived in art and are accepted as such.

Art is free!


It's already written so in the Basic Law (Article 5 paragraph 3) and what brings us more than freedom? Even more rules and standards do not help the tattoo artists, but the industry! Further development can only come from the circle of those practising the art of tattooing. The practitioners of an art shape its development, not the accessories industry and/or politics.

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, the tattoo artist Christian Warlich campaigned for the recognition of tattooing as an art form. After his death, his friend and colleague Herbert Hoffmann successfully continued this work until today. Spider Webb, who himself studied art, has also been campaigning for the recognition of tattooing as an art form since the 1970s.

Our work


We try to achieve recognition of tattooing as an art form at various official levels. This is not only true for the KSK, but also on the level of politics, offices and institutions. This means a lot for the future of tattooing:

  • A more serious engagement with the history of tattooing, better understanding and higher reputation.
  • Focus on further development and freedom instead of disparaging distrust and regulation.
  • Free-lance practice as a self-employed, artistic activity according to § 18 EstG and not as a service provider or tradesman.
  • A sense of responsibility and comprehensive understanding of the scope of one's own tattooing activity ensures quality and sets standards.
  • Better artistic training of tattoo artists in many areas (ethics, hygiene) is certainly more conducive to an overall positive development than further regulations.

So far, we have gained attention in politics through several letter campaigns, received support there and achieved a personal meeting with the KSK. Further actions on the cultural policy level will follow.
Tell your friends, acquaintances and clients about the association and draw attention to the fact that we are not treated equally to other arts. Take part in our actions.

Advantages and disadvantages of freelance work / commercial work / art


Both forms of activity are self-employed activities.
If you practise tattooing commercially, there are generally more regulations to which you are subject and a greater possibility of regulation by higher institutions. In addition, you have to pay trade tax, which you do not have to pay as a freelancer.

Under German law, a freelance activity is not a trade and is therefore subject neither to the trade regulations nor to trade tax. As a freelancer, you are only obliged to provide a surplus income statement (income-expenditure statement). The profit is calculated as the surplus of operating income over operating expenses. As a freelancer, especially as an artist, you have more opportunities to work more freely and self-determined within the framework of artistic freedom.



Anyone who would like to support our goals, whether ideally or financially, can become a member. You don't have to be a tattoo artist to become a member of Tätowierkunst e. V..
From tattooing members we expect an annual donation (donation receipt can be issued) of 100€, gladly more if possible. These members benefit most from our activities, therefore we ask for this support.

As members of the association you will always be informed about the current state of affairs, you will have the opportunity to exchange ideas in our monthly Zoom conferences, you will receive a discount at events of the European Tattoo Panel. In addition, there will be internal seminars and exhibitions.

You will also be helping tattooing on a freer path.
So why not give something back to tattooing?


To become a member of Tätowierkunst e.V. please fill out the membership application WELL READABLE and send it back with signature to:

Tätowierkunst e.V.
Hansaring 34
48155 Münster

or by mail to:


Tätowierkunst e. V.

Hansaring 34

48155 Münster


IBAN: DE04 4036 1906 5189 9749 00  






Chairperson: Tanina Palazzolo, tattooist
Managing Director: Christa Appel, art historian

Public relations / Press Officer: Olaf Lobe und Till Pulpanek