From a schoolgirl punished for commemorating a tragedy to the emerging and extreme trend that is Nullo, this week’s News in Tattoos is as colourful as ever:

This Clown’s Got Your Back

Photorealistic tattoos are still pretty rare for all kinds of reasons – chief among them the incredible amount of time and effort it takes to ink in that level of definition. But when an artist talented enough meets a committed enough body, the results can be pretty next-level. So salutes are due to the four artists and one (patient) client who created an incredible back piece which has since gone viral. The detail in the loving portrait of a creepy clown deserves it alone – but the way the face alters expression according to how the back muscles move make this some dark, dark poetry in motion.

Big North Tattoo Show

Meanwhile, up in Newcastle, the third annual Big North Tattoo Show filled the Utilita Arena, with 300 artists onsite – complete with workstations – to make some dreams come true. On display were original hand-tapped tattoos honouring the art form’s origins, plus a specially-created gallery of hand tattoos from top global studios. And it shows how far tattoo culture’s come when it can fill such a huge venue for two days straight – especially when the crowds pouring in included many families. Click through to see the local paper’s pick of the action.

Nullo – The Most Extreme Body Mod?

Also in the news this week was Adam Curlykale, a young man from Russia who survived cancer but, hating the skin blemishes his battle left him with, opted to have 90% of his body inked black. In time, even this look proved insufficient, and he has recently pushed further by joining the extreme Nullo movement. Also called ‘smoothies’, adherents have their genitals surgically removed – aiming usually not to change sex, but to become asexual. He’s now begun a second career as an alternative model, posing nude to demonstrate he has quite literally nothing to hide.

Schoolgirl Isolated for Tribute

Kia Hilton was just 15 when she was in the crowd at the terrorist bombing of Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert. Although fortunate enough to survive the tragedy, she this week suffered from a short-sighted, old-fashioned decision to isolate her from her fellow pupils – for the crime of commemorating the event. The discreet, behind-ear bee tattoo – also worn in solidarity by Grande and many others – has been in place since November, but only just noticed by a member of staff, who promptly stopped her from revising with her friends.

Permanent Memories

As the previous stories show, many of us turn to body art in times of trouble – whether broadcasting our defiance or standing in solidarity. The story of little Trinity D’Autorio is a little different. As a three-year old, she can’t be tattooed – but she’s also facing a battle with cancer. So, to bring a little light to her hard days (and at her request), two artists from Tampa studio Ink Wolves came to the hospital on their day off and decorated the girl with her favourite Disney princesses. Of course, they only used non-permanent ink – but Trinity now has beautiful photos to share with her family.


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