I cruise through tattoo news every week, and it seems most of the airspace is hogged by the next big celebrity tattoo. It never fails to draw attention. Whether it’s Rihanna's new finger tattoos, Miley Cyrus’ new vegan tattoo, or that awful full torso tattoo that Justin Bieber recently revealed, celebrities and their tattoos are considered newsworthy. Personally, I tend to skip over the celebrity tattoo stories, but more recently I’ve found that some of them are actually kind of interesting and offer valuable information. Sometimes it’s because the tattoo is cool or groundbreaking in some way, and other times it’s just so I can sit back and laugh at the celebrities I despise when they get an incredibly stupid tattoo.
The news media fascination with celebrity tattoos got me questioning some things. For instance, what is it that makes people want to know about celebrity tattoos? I think some people love to read about celebrities no matter the topic. However, after giving it some consideration, there are a couple of rational reasons to care about what celebrities are inking on their bodies. For one, they have a ton of money, so they can get incredible designs by incredible artists that most tattoo lovers can only dream about. Another reason is that celebrities are always in the light and under a microscope. Everything they do is intensely scrutinized, which gives them reason to go above and beyond and get a truly inspirational piece of work. I know that following celebrities can feel like a waste of time, and I agree. But if you want to see what kind of work is being done for people who have an image to uphold, the money to spend, and access to some of the world’s most talented artists, it might be worth a gander.
But let’s start with making fun of Justin Bieber. For worst celebrity tattoo of 2017, the prize goes to Bieber, a perennial winner in this category. The new tattoo incorporates his older tattoos like the bear and lion, and transitions from the eagle that was done in March into a mess of other stuff that is essentially unintelligible at first glance. According to People, the new addition includes gargoyles, skeletons, and archways, and appears to also be a cover up concealing the religious lettering piece from November of last year. Reactions from Bieber's fans on Twitter ranged from condemnatory to supportive, but when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter; we aren’t the ones looking at it every day for the rest of our lives.
Now, onto more serious matters. If you want to research some of the highly coveted tattoo art the celebrities pay top dollar for, then you have to check out people like Keith "Bang Bang" McCurdy, Brandon Bond, Kat Von D, Scott Campbell, Dr. Woo, Becca Roach, and Jon Boy. These artists have done loads of celebrity tattoos, and they are among of the most followed artists on social media. However, it’s not just highly paid and well known artists who give celebrities tattoos. One thing that draws attention to a celebrity tattoo is when it is given by someone relatively unknown. For instance, when a celebrity goes overseas or travels to a remote village to get something with authentic cultural value. This is the type of thing that can actually teach us about another culture that most people wouldn’t have known otherwise.
In short, if you want to get a tattoo, you should always do your research. When doing your research, it wouldn’t hurt to check out some celebrity tattoos to get a good baseline of what a high quality finished product should look like. I’m not guaranteeing the tattoo won’t be complete trash, but the skill level of highly paid celebrity tattoo artists tends to show, regardless of whether it’s an awful face tattoo or a beautiful work of art.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Painful Pleasures.