Tattoo of the Day: Jason Stephan


Romeo Beckham copies dad David by getting fake Harper tattoo


Romeo Beckham wants to be just like his famous father — tattoos and all!


David and Victoria Beckham’s middle son showed off some familiar neck art while shopping for Halloween costumes over the weekend. The 10-year-old sported a “Harper” tattoo on his collarbone. The fake ink is an exact replica of the real one David got after the birth of his daughter last year.

Romeo showed off his removable tat while out with his mother and siblings — Brooklyn, 13, Cruz, 7, and Harper, 1 — in Santa Monica, California. The school kid, who looks just like his designer mother, was stylishly dressed in a Converse T-shirt and sneakers, and burgundy jeans.

It’s no secret that David is a body art enthusiast. Many of his tattoos are exposed when he’s sporting his Los Angeles Galaxy uniform — and he has been known to pose with his shirt off every now and then! In addition to Harper’s name and a number of tributes to Victoria, David has an extensive design that was created in honor of his three sons in 2011. “I wasn’t planning on getting another tattoo — I’ve had a lot done — but I heard all these great things about legendary artist Mark Mahoney,” Beckham told ESPN last year. “So he created this tattoo of Jesus being lifted by three cherubs. It took about 12 hours over two days.” The soccer star also has each of his son’s names etched individually on his bod: “Brooklyn” appears on his lower back, “Romeo” on the base of his neck, and “Cruz” across the middle of his back.

During an appearance on the “Today” show, David shared that his sons had already expressed interest in getting tattoos like their famous parents. (Mom Victoria has several as well.) “One of them said to me recently: ‘How old do I have to be before I get my first tattoo?’ I was like, ‘A lot older than you are now!'” the soccer star laughed.

The fact that Romeo selected the “Harper” tattoo to copy out of all of his dad’s ink is especially cute, particularly since he has been quite the doting big brother since Harper was born in July 2011. Last month, the Beckham family attended Romeo’s soccer game in Los Angeles and when the action on the field was over, the boy raced over to see his little sister. Romeo was reportedly very attentive to the baby and proudly carried her around.

You never know — maybe one day he’ll make that tattoo permanent.


Tattoo Exhibit Celebrates the Artist Zulu and L.A.’s Body Art History

At last week’s opening night of the Craft and Folk Art Museum’s exhibit “L.A. Skin & Ink,” which celebrates the last 60 years of tattooing in Los Angeles, the crowd could be heard laughing and chattering from nearly a block away as Alex Clare’s “Too Close” played in the background.

After entering through the gift shop, where there’s an assortment of books on the history of tattooing and packets of temporary tattoos, I ascended the stairway, past groups of beautifully unique individuals with colorful hair, fearless fashion, and — of course — often ink-covered skin.

At the top of the stairs an old station where a tattoo artist would have worked sixty years ago was set up, while further inside a more modern display illuminates just how much times have changed. Exhibitions Coordinator Sasha Ali explained that it was important to the curators that they cover the early growth of tattooing, the unique influence Asian and Pacific styles had on the West Coast, as well as modern day where fine art and tattoo have been bridged.

Ron Platt, who previously curated “Under the Skin: Tattoos and Contemporary Culture,” and Camila Rocha of High Voltage Tattoo, helped assure that the exhibit fully covered the past half century, from when clients chose an image displayed on a shop wall, to the present, as tattooing has evolved to become a more sophisticated form of art.

One of the very first things you see when entering the exhibit is an enormous print of a back piece by Zulu, whom CAFAM has chosen to be their artist honoree at its second annual Craft Affair brunch.

“How my entry to the tattoo world happened — I never thought the tattoo world would honor me,” he says. When Zulu went looking to apprentice some twenty years ago, he wasn’t met with open arms. He had been classically trained and wasn’t interested in what was necessarily popular or easy — he sought to do something that was both artistic and spiritual.

These days he is considered to be one of the heavy hitters in the tattoo world. He’s gifted in a variety of styles but his tribal pieces are what he is most known for. “Zulu incorporates sacred images,” says Ali, and “he brings out the sacred imagery within a person.”

Tattoos have become deeply personal and enormously powerful. It isn’t just a tattoo, and it isn’t just some guy in a shop — it’s black and gray, portrait, biomechanical, tribal, Chicano, or maybe your kid’s footprint, and you choose your artist with great care. In this new age of tattooing the old flash style is far from abandoned and often chosen and executed with far more care than ever before.

Today’s most popular tattoo artists often get their start in other mediums. Zulu reminded us that “many of these artists do more than just tattoo. They paint, sculpt. These are true renaissance men and women.”

Once upon a time tattooing was all traditional, flash-style tattoos and almost exclusively for criminals and sailors. Many shops today no longer cover their walls in flash and will often turn away anybody who’s been drinking or looking for something with a hateful message. The tide has changed, and Zulu is one of frontrunners in the new age. A frontrunner with celebrity clientele and a hell of a waiting list.

“It’s a big, big deal for me,” Zulu says of CAFAM honoring him, “but it’s a bigger deal for the tattoo world. A museum recognizes what we do as a viable art form, when they say we’re artists the rest of the world takes notice.” And the world is taking notice, as tattoos are rarely considered taboo and continue to grow in popularity. As more people get one of a kind pieces with deep personal meaning, the stigma of the past is dying off and a new generation of artists is flourishing.

“L.A. Skin & Ink” runs through January 6 and there is an assortment of special events scheduled, including an artist’s talk with Zulu, which will be followed by a special Zulu Lounge with proceeds benefitting CAFAM. Camila Rocha will be participating in a few events, including a CraftLab Workshop, where she will demonstrate a number of ways to draw temporary tattoos — for those not quite ready to commit to forever art.


INk the News: Tattoo shocker in Delhi

When a euphoric 30-year-old British tattoo artist, Sophia Disgrace, took off her top to show her tattoos, and broke into a dance that always drew applause globally, little did she know that her topless act will have her thrown out of the International Tattoo Convention she came to attend in
India. Following the uproar, authorities at Haryana Tourism suspended Rajeev Sabarwal, the general manager of Hotel Rajhans, Surajkund where the 2nd India’s International Tattoo Convention took place.

A police complaint was also registered against the organisers of the three-day event that began on Friday. The incident has spurred a debate on whether India is ready for international artist performances. “We were not expecting something like this. We were taken aback when Sophia took off her clothes. But her only motive was to show off her tattoos. It was her first visit to India and she wasn’t aware of our cultural norms,” says Sabarwal.

Organiser of the convention, Deepak Chauhan, says there was nothing obscene in Sophia’s act. “She had covered some portion of her upper body with silicone tape. In her apology letter to us, she said she had no idea that her act will cause such a furore. We had informed the participating artists that nudity is unacceptable in India, but going topless did not amount to nudity for her,” says Chauhan.

He adds that such an outcry would portray a regressive image of India in front of the world. “You can’t equate tattoo art with vulgarity. Tattoo artists have no qualms about taking off clothes to show their art. Such incidents will deter us from inviting artists to India,” says Chauhan. Tattoo artists in the city agree. “India is not ready for bold performances. In Europe, tattoo artists often go topless. Some Indian tribal women too have godna (tattoo) on their upper body and are partially dressed. The problem lies with the dirty mindsets,” says tattoo artist Lokesh Verma of Devilz Tattooz.

Some, however, believe that there was no need for Sophia to go topless. “If she wanted to flaunt tattoos, even wearing a tube top would have sufficed,” says tattoo artist Harshit Karki of Rip Tattoos.