There have been plenty of interesting and outrageous tattoo news stories in the press to round off the end of January. From cringe-worthy celebrity tattoo mistakes to fascinating reports about cultural tattoo practices and trends from around the world, here are a few of the week’s top headlines:
We must begin with the latest unfortunate tattoo incident to befall Ariana Grande in the past few days. While Ariana has long been a fan of body art with several prominent inkings, she ran into some trouble with her latest addition. The famous singer wanted to memorialize her latest song, 7 Rings, with a tattoo of the title written in Japanese characters. Unfortunately, the first rendition ended up spelling out ‘small charcoal grill’ instead, and her latest fix has resulted in the phrase ‘Japanese BBQ finger.’
The Sun reports that Ariana was even offered a 1.5 million dollar contract by a tattoo laser removal company, but her agent Scott Braun claims that no such offer was received. The world-renowned artist is taking it all in her stride, however, joking early on that she was a “huge fan of tiny BBQ grills.”
In other news this week, Bustle published a feature exploring the art of tattooing amongst underrepresented women from southeast Asian backgrounds. The article speaks to several women from these communities who have carved out careers in tattooing in the UK. The subjects describe the battles that they have often had to face, such as confronting the stigma about tattoos from their families and friends, as well as the challenge of pursuing a career in a field often dominated by Caucasian men.
In addition to focusing on the pioneering work of these women, the article also details how southeast Asian tattooing practices have become lost over the centuries. One of the tattoo artists who was interviewed for the piece, Heleena Mistry, stated: “My designs are a way of reconnecting with my culture.” Hopefully, as more southeast Asian women become prominent tattoo artists, there will be greater recognition of other cultures’ tattoo histories and the unique artistry inherent in their work.
In further celebrity tattoo news, there was an uplifting story this week about the celebrated singer and The Voice judge Demi Lovato. 2018 was a challenging year for the former child star, as she relapsed in the summer after six years free from drugs and alcohol, and ended up being hospitalised and then returning to rehab. Fortunately, Demi recently celebrated six months of sobriety and, of course, marked the occasion with a tattoo. Although not her first ever inking, she opted for a small, subtle tattoo that consisted of a long-stemmed rose on the inside of her pointing finger.
Her design was completed at the famous Winter Stone tattoo parlour, which is a hotspot for celebrities in California. The founder of the tattoo shop shared an Instagram snap of himself posing with Demi and showing off his handiwork, so no doubt tattoo fans in the LA area will be visiting his shop very soon.
Another feature that illustrates the different roles that tattoos can play in people’s lives came from the BBC this week. The news outlet published an interview with Kris Hallenga who, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, founded the awareness charity CoppaFeel. In addition to describing the important work that is conducted by her organisation, the report also describes how Hallenga chose to have a tattoo of a tight rope walker etched over her mastectomy scar after having one of her breasts removed.
When Hallenga was asked to participate in Little Mix’s music video last year, she decided to show off the tattoo, which was designed by the entertainer Fearne Cotton. She describes her thought process by saying: “I got to choose what I wore and I wanted my mastectomy tattoo to be visible.” Hallenga’s decision shows that tattoos can be a powerful statement about female resilience and empowerment.