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19 Things You Never Knew About Tattooing Celebrities

Tattoo artist Kevin Paul tells us what it's like to ink celebs.

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1. Tattooing celebrities means a lot of people are going to see your work.

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2. Which means you can feel even more responsibility than when tattooing a regular client.

When you're working with a regular client, if they like it then that's all that matters. But when you're working with a celebrity, a new tattoo can mean international headlines.

3. And you definitely have to face a lot more criticism of your work.

Everyone has an opinion when a celebrity gets a new tattoo, and they won't keep it to themselves.

4. It also means more people will be asking for that same tattoo you just did.

If someone sees a tattoo on a celebrity, often they'll use it as inspiration, which is an added layer of responsibility when it comes to inking famous people.


6. Some celebs even take tattoo artists on tour.

Kevin has been on tour with Rihanna and Ellie Goulding, tattooing and hanging out on the way.

7. The X Factor hires a tattoo artist to go on tour with the contestants.

All contestants are introduced to Kevin backstage and are offered the opportunity to be tattooed by him. He said most of them want designs of mics and music notes, but he tried to convince them to get something more original.

8. Just because someone's a celebrity, it doesn't mean they'll be any easier to work with.

Kevin did a lot of cover-up and fixing-up work for James Arthur.


9. Tattooing in unusual places means you have to be extra careful about hygiene.

Kevin said he always makes sure to keep studio hygiene standards wherever he goes.

11. Which also means you can say no to a lot more designs you don't want to do.

Being in demand means you can avoid doing cliché tattoos or ones you suspect people will regret.

12. Clients still come in all the time with a printout of a sleeve from Google Images saying they want exactly that.

Kevin Paul

But when you really ask them about the design, it turns out they'd rather have something a lot more personal.


13. But being a successful tattoo artist doesn't mean you can say no to everything.

You still have to put the tattoo where the client wants it, even if it's on one of the more tricky areas to tattoo, like the neck or the stomach.

15. And you will often find yourself doing cover-up work on the kind of things that everyone was asking for 20 years ago.

Everyone is getting their tribal designs turned into pocket watches.

16. Good tattoo artists will even find themselves doing cover-up work of cover-up work.

Kevin has heavily criticised tattoo cover-up TV show Tattoo Fixers for shoddy work, and has even covered up many of their attempted cover-ups.


17. Even when you're a famous tattoo artist, you still get prejudice for having lots of tattoos.

Jonny Human

After a day of filming with Made in Chelsea, Kevin was asked if he was homeless while waiting for a train.

18. The best parts of the job don't change, though: It's still amazing to see a bad tattoo fade away when you're doing a cover up.

BuzzFeed spoke to Kevin Paul, tattoo artist behind some of the ink on Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and many more, to see what it was really like to permanently mark some seriously famous skin.