We reached out to Bang Bang to learn the stories behind his most loved and loathed tattoos. BB: I am getting a tiger on my hand from a very famous tattoo artist named Little Dragon from Beijing. New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score News Crime U.S.
Celebrity tattoo artist Keith (Bang Bang) McCurdy has worked on Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Rihanna, among other stars. Artist Keith (Bang Bang) McCurdy works with the most expensive, temperamental canvases imaginable: celebrity skin. Since 2007, when he first etched a Sanskrit phrase onto singer Rihanna's hip, 27-year-old McCurdy, whose nickname Bang Bang comes from a pair of revolvers inked on his neck, has risen to fame as a tattoo artist to the stars. McCurdya€™s leg is a gallery of celebrity art, from a cartoon face Chris Brown doodled (a€?He could be a tattoo artist.
Since then, McCurdy has opened up a well-to-do studio on the lower East Side, and traveled to hotel rooms, friendsa€™ houses, and Rihannaa€™s Los Angeles mansion to tend to the Barbadian beautya€™s inking needs.
It was McCurdy who drew a tiny handgun on Rihannaa€™s ribs after bad-boy boyfriend Brown assaulted her, but he insisted that the events had nothing to do with each other. He asked Rihanna to tattoo the small red umbrella on his calf in appreciation for all the publicity she had brought him, and it blossomed into a tradition. Perhaps the raciest celebrity tattoo came from British pop singer Rita Ora, who kept falling out of her shirt as McCurdy was drawing a dove on her shoulder. Even though none of the stars had tattooing experience before they took a shot at his leg, McCurdy has never been worried about slip-ups.
And despite the fact that tattooing without a license is, McCurdy confesses, a€?a little bit illegal,a€? none of his A-list clients have faced a penalty for their artwork.
Tattoo artist Keith McCurdy goes by the name Bang Bang, a stage name of sorts that he’s established over the years by inking tattoos on some of the most recognized faces in entertainment. Bang Bang: If I get something really vague I try to refine it during the consultation while we’re talking about it.
BB: If I thought it the visuals weren’t great, or it didn’t work well for a tattoo, yes, I would absolutely tell you [no].
L+T: Speaking of your style, one of my favorites of yours I’ve seen is Cara Delevingne’s lion tattoo.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. He started tattooing in his late teens with a crappy kit in his mom’s kitchen, and within a year he was tattooing all of his friends and relatives, honing his craft and getting ready to pursue his dreams as a true artist.
McCurdy mustered up the courage to get the neck tat at 18 years old, the same age he bought his first tattoo gun. If you want proof of Bang Bang's star-studded client list just check out his leg; the brazen artist allows his high profile patrons to tattoo his appendage, making his body a living autograph book. He was up for the challenge, responding: "It's ironic, I'm being tattooed right now!" Scroll down for a slideshow of his own ink. I started tattooing because I couldn't afford to get tattoos as much as I wanted to, so I started looking on the internet. Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Katy Perry and Chanel model Cara Delevingne all sport his work. He went right in and nailed it.a€?) to a smudgy-looking basketball from Knicks forward Amara€™e Stoudemire. The a€?Diamondsa€? singer was getting a piercing in New York City when she asked McCurdya€™s pal Joe Snake to give her the name of the best tattooist in the city. He counts clients like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry on his roster, but most notably it’s Cara Delevingne and Rihanna that he’s situated himself as the go to source for on-skin artistry. I generally won’t make an appointment to start working on something until I’ve nailed down a really cool idea in my head.
But sometimes there’s the taste thing, like some things that people want tattooed on them are super meaningful or, like, geometric shapes—I don’t trend that way, towards those things, but maybe they do, so as long as it’ll make a good tattoo – then I’ll do it. Tattooing yourself is a cool experience—every tattoo artist needs to tattoo themselves at some point—but I don’t do the most detailed things on myself. When I worked there I didn’t quite feel like I was ready to be there, but when I left I felt like I had accomplished something really big.
Sometimes they pick an umbrella, sometimes they pick a heart, sometimes they pick their album name, sometimes they pick a doodle they draw, sometimes they want a suggestion. He soon found himself working in shops in New York, bringing his truly artistic style to the masses and gaining fame for his first celebrity client Rihanna. It wasn't long before McCurdy was known as Bang Bang, quickly becoming one of the biggest names in the tattoo world today. I bought myself a kit online when I was 18 years old and set myself up in my mother's kitchen. The ones on my neck are very defining -- people probably think they're weird because they're on my neck. Here, showing exclusive imagery of the famous beauties in action, Bang Bang tell us about what it’s like working with today’s tastemakers on his permanent art.
So if somebody’s like “Oh, you know, I just want something…uhhh…on the top of my arm,” I’ll refer to my work. We spend a lot of time talking about the shapes of her body and what fits well in that spot.
When you tattoo yourself you can feel it, plus the application, so you kind of want to get through it as quickly as possible. Left on a really positive note and I was super confident and ready to take my work to the next level.
All my clients become like family, they stick around for years, so the word of mouth spreads, and I’m just so lucky to have so much support. His personal style, which he says was inspired by the Japanese and focuses more on the body interacting with the art than just the art, paved the way for more celebrity clients to sit in his chair, and now he’s the man. I learn from different artists, different styles, Japanese and photorealistic tattoos, black and white, and color. I’ll ask them to go through it and show me what their favorite styles are that I’ve done, and it helps.
The differences in our styles are really that Paul tends to go towards evil, scarier tattoos. So I met Cara, and Cara wanted to get her first tattoo, she wanted to write the word “Lion” down her finger. He’s also a major representative of the new breed of artists in the game, as he is respected as a true craftsman and not just some dude who stabs bikers with an electric needle. And then we kind of work through it together, just the very basic idea format, and then I start scribbling on paper and we find a cool shape, and then once I get it I start booking it and we’re ready to go. It was like her life motto: “Never a failure, always a lesson.” So we were like, “Ok, how are we going to put that on the front of your body? Why don’t we do a picture of a lion like a piece of jewelry, like to decorate you?” Tattooing is so much of a fashion and people don’t really notice, but you got to do something timeless, because you don’t want to do something that’s a trend, like a lower back tribal tattoo that was cool in the ’90s and now people are covering them up all the time. It's tricky to learn how to handle attention and criticism and she handles it so gracefully. OK, we got to do it small, we got to do it linear, we got to change the tonality of the ink a little bit and make it a little lighter so it’s a little more subtle.
I was getting bad grades at the time and my parents said if I got the honor roll I could get a tattoo. And then also it’s just got to line up perfectly with your shape.” We spend a ton of time thinking about those things when we’re designing together. My stuff is a huge range, so I’m more than happy to do the simplest little lettering as perfect as I can and I’m perfectly happy to do a giant religious tattoo, which is something Paul won’t do. His personal collection features work from Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and the EMT that saved his mother’s life.
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