Our Top 10 Classic American Tattoo Studios in Texas


Delve into the rich tapestry of tattoo artistry in Texas, a state renowned for its commitment to the enduring style of Classic American Tattoos. With a cultural legacy that embraces bold expression and celebrates individuality, it's no surprise that Texas is a thriving hub for this timeless art form.

Classic American Tattoos, often known as traditional or "old school" tattoos, are a genre deeply ingrained in tattoo history. Noted for their bold black outlines, limited yet vibrant color palette, and iconic symbols such as anchors, hearts, eagles, and roses, this style was popularized by legendary tattoo artists like Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins. Despite the evolution of numerous tattoo styles over the decades, Classic American Tattoos remain a favorite choice among many.

In the heart of Texas, the tradition of Classic American Tattooing is passionately preserved and innovatively interpreted. From the vast landscapes of Houston to the bustling streets of Dallas, to the vibrant, creative energy of Austin, Texas's tattoo scene mirrors its diverse and dynamic spirit.

Whether you're an experienced collector or embarking on your first tattoo journey, Texas's tattoo studios provide a welcoming space where artistry, storytelling, and self-expression converge. The gifted artists in these studios continue to push the boundaries of Classic American Tattoos, adding their unique touch while honoring the style's rich history.

These studios, scattered across the Lone Star State, stand as monuments to the undying charm of Classic American Tattoos. They offer a blend of tradition and innovation, bringing together elements of the past with contemporary creativity. In Texas, the art of tattooing continues to flourish, each Classic American design serving as a bold testament to the enduring legacy of this art form.

  1. Elm Street Tattoo, Dallas: Co-owned by Oliver Peck, Elm Street Tattoo has been the bedrock of the Texas tattoo community, especially for those seeking classic American tattoos.

  2. Rock of Ages Tattooing, Austin: This shop is widely recognized for their exceptional American traditional style tattoos.

  3. Mainstay Tattoo, Austin: This spot has earned its reputation for quality traditional American tattoos.

  4. Aces Tattoos, Denton: Known for the dedication towards the craft, Aces Tattoos provides some of the best traditional American tattoos in Texas.

  5. Scorpion Studios, Houston: This shop is highly regarded for its impressive American traditional tattoo designs.

The Early Days

Swallows and Daggers started life as a digital labour of love with the original blog documenting and dissecting classic american tattooing. From these small viral roots grew a community of like minded misfits, shaping and influencing the evolution of the brand. We garnered a global audience – through vast and varied daily content, the s&d website became a reference point for artists, brands and tattoo aficionados alike. In the process we broke down tattoo culture for anyone who had respect for the craft but not the access to the knowledge. Soon, a physical zine evolved out of the website, followed by a series of collaborative t-shirts with artists Simon erl and matty d’arienzo.

The Glory Days

Since the 2000's swallows and daggers has offered a fashion collection riffing off our obsession with tattoo culture, taking inspiration from artistry of the skin onto the cloth. Alongside our mainline collection, we’ve facilitated small, exclusive drops with some of the most exciting names in the industry. From Ross Hell to Ashley Love and most recently jack the grim. We have always intended to create a product that provokes and amuses offering a slice of off-beat original style.

The Reset

2020 has been a hard year for all. We’re not going to pretend that as a small business the events of this year have passed us by. We’ve taken the time to pause, reflect and reset. All our clothes are now created from certified organic cotton with each piece cut, sewn and printed in association with our longstanding well trusted factory in Turkey. If you have any questions about our process, then please ask. We are committed to complete transparency over our process, from cotton field to your back. At Swallows and Daggers we represent the freaks, the geeks, the weirdos, the misfits, the drop outs and the ne-er do wells. The misunderstood, the misanthropic, the dreamers, the artists, the scarred, the brave and the unique. S&D has always been a labour of love, we’ve never lost that spirit. We’re going to keep evolving and hopefully bring you all along for the ride.