With over 30 years in Townsville, Second Skin Tattoo is the city’s longest-established and most famous studio. But, our story actually starts back in 1959 in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, where Les Bowen began his tattoo career.

At the time, tattooing was a rather “underground” industry with only a handful of tight-lipped operators in business, but, thanks to hard work, talent and passion Les managed to break into the trade and become successful, operating several studios in and around Sydney (where he tattooed Bon Scott and Tom Waits!) and quickly making his (literal) mark on the industry.   

As Les’ family grew, he and Robyn decided to move to Townsville, and, in 1980, packed up the car with their 3 kids (and one on the way) to head North, setting up Les’ first studio in the then city heart, opposite Townsville’s old Flinders’ Street Station.

As Les’ career continued, he built a reputation based on professionalism and generosity, sharing his skills with many of Australia’s well-known artists. His talent and pioneering technique won him countless awards and attracted international acclaim, including Honourary Life Memberships to the Professional Tattoo Association of Australia (of which he was once President) America’s National Tattoo Association, and the exclusive invite-only Japan Tattoo Club.

Today, Les treats his loyal clientele to custom work on an appointment-only basis, while continuing to mentor Dan, Tanya and Harry, who, through a dedication to the craft and unparalleled professionalism, continue the legacy Les started over 50 years ago.