So last Tuesday saw the messed up escapades of one crazed young lady go viral as she got "Drake" tattooed onto her forehead in possibly the worst font you have ever seen. Now when getting head tattoos perhaps the font isn't the biggest thing to be focussing on, more the fact that this woman was clearly out of her mind: either on drugs or on one hell of a mental breakdown. If you take a look at the photos she has both her head and eyebrows shaved which is a clear sign that all is not well - in fact it is a bit of a wonder why people under mental duress tend to shave things. But anyway what is extremely disturbing are the variety of factors to take into account: why would she choose to ruin her life like that? Shouldn't the artist have refused to tattoo her? And perhaps most of all whether fan tattoos are a good or a bad thing? If someone chooses to do this to themselves then who's to stop them really?
In an interview with Vice the artist Kevin Campbell talked the interviewer step by step through what happened during the tattoo session and quite frankly the resulting dialogue is highly disturbing. He states that the nameless customer did not seem as if she had thought the process through and when asked whether she had she simply laughed. Furthering that he had this to say about the end of the session:
"She is supposed to be coming back to finish the tattoo once it heals (she only had enough money for the outline) and I could probably talk to her then. She was on a pretty good one when she came in, but I think by the time I finished she was coming down, because her attitude changed pretty drastically once the tattoo was finished."
He also stated that he asked her three times whether she wanted the tattoo done before proceeding on the day when she had shown up in the shop. Now that in itself is inherently sad as this woman was clearly high as a kite when she got this done and people do very very strange things when they are "on one" so to speak, as such it's hard to look at these photos without feeling sorry for someone who has clearly made the worst decision of their life.
Whilst it is not illegal to tattoo someone who is drunk or high due to the signing of a waver, any reputable artist would do well to steer clear of situations like this. It seems to draw clear parallels to the case of the "Bumfights" tattoo where American kids who paid homeless drunks to fight took one of them to get the name of the film ingrained on his head. Years later the hobo sobered up, only to sue the producer who ended up going to jail. Now in this case I'm sure that won't happen as it's doubtful that we will ever hear from this woman again. Instead it'd be nice to see a cock firmly tattooed on Kevin's irresponsible head, especially considering his main defence for tattooing a vulnerable person was "shit rolls downhill".
But are fan tattoos always bad news? No of course they aren't, in some ways the mentality of music is often one that for many people is vindicating. We've all been there when life has given has a few slaps in the face and then some, only to be uplifted by the identification of a musician, actor or writer. To some they transfer this emotion into devotion or gratitude which leads for some to a form of expression manifested in body art. It might be quite strange to see someone with a Bruce Forsyth tattoo on his arm or Steve O of Jackass fame with a drawing of himself thumbs up on his back, but these people from experience are all very happy with what they have - regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.
Anyone who has ended up getting a tattoo under emotional duress or not will inform you that they all have a meaning (perhaps except those crappy star, butterfly or dolphin ones) that to some extent is an extension of their personality. If that personality is one entangled with a musician then that factors in additionally.
Pictured is a Manchester fan of the Manic Street Preachers who has the band emblazoned down his back, this is something that is amusing and look he's happy, the band are happy, everybody's happy! That's the difference between a toxic tattoo and a healthy one: no matter how strange it might seem to some people it is something he has thought about. That piece of art would have taken a hell of a long time to finish, meaning it was a process not a whim, also it is hidden from general view meaning he could STILL GET A JOB! (yay).
So what is the moral of the story here? Fan tattoos are in no way bad they are just a matter of taste, not for some but for others something greatly uplifting. The problem is doing things in the moment, getting high or drunk and getting inked for example. Perhaps it would be wise to somehow prevent vultures Kevin Campbell getting anywhere near vulnerable people like the lady with the Drake tattoo. They are a powerful thing and should not be taken lightly.
Oh and if anyone knows Kevin or sees him, do as a favour and give him a good slap...