Tattoo identification help
June 20, 2010 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I need help finding a picture of a tattoo I saw several years ago. It was particularly badass in a slightly nerdy way, and I want to get something similar. Can you help me find the picture I saw so that I can have something to show the artist?

It was an upper arm tattoo, and it was done in such a way that it looked like the guy's skin was splitting to reveal the page of a book underneath. IIRC, it was about 6-8 inches long, and at points it looked like the skin was stapled or stitched to hold it together but some of the staples (or stitches) had come undone. In my memory, you could see the text of a book through the openings in the "ripped flesh," but I suppose I could be wrong about that.

I know that a good tattoo artist will be able to freehand something for me, but I would like to find the photo of the other tattoo to use as a reference.

I've wanted to get this for years, but waited for several reasons. Recent turmoil in my life have prompted me to finally want to make this happen, plus I've finally figured out what text I want to appear as part of the tattoo.

Anybody recall this tattoo, or have pictures of something similar? Any leads or suggestions would be appreciated!

BONUS QUESTION: Anyone know of a great tattoo artist in DC or Baltimore who could make this happen in a particularly awesome way?
posted by arco to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: i just found this blog entry by Googling "skin ripped text tattoo".

i'm also fairly certain i've seen a different take on it - i'm going to comb through some sites and see if i can find other examples.
posted by gursky at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2010

Best answer: There is only one person who can do this justice, and that would be Anil Gupta.

See what I mean? In fact, that might be the very image you're thinking of... Anil is the best of the best. And he's in NYC, worth the trip, IMO.
posted by dbiedny at 10:53 AM on June 20, 2010 [6 favorites]

Oops, looks like gursky got it. That's the one...
posted by dbiedny at 10:55 AM on June 20, 2010

Vocally seconding Anil Gupta. I've seen a lot of work in that sense and absolutely none of it stands up to his. This is probably the tattoo you're thinking of.
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on June 20, 2010

Response by poster: That's it! Any and all other suggestions would be welcome, but that's the image I was thinking of. Awesome.
posted by arco at 10:55 AM on June 20, 2010

i can't find the other example i had in mind, though i did find a more close-up shot of the one i previously posted (on preview, dbiedny linked to it).

you can see examples of 'skin ripping' tattoos by doing a Google image search of "tattoo skin rip" - there are plenty, just not with text underneath.
posted by gursky at 10:55 AM on June 20, 2010

Look through Anil's site, it'll leave you stunned. The piece he did for me is based on the idea of someone tossing corrosive acid on my shoulder, burning a hole and showing something underneath. At the time, other artists informed me that I was asking for something close to impossible - Anil took on the challenge, and far surpassed all my expectations. He's a genius.
posted by dbiedny at 10:57 AM on June 20, 2010

If you don't mind my asking, how much did it cost/how long was the wait, dbiedny? (Also: can I see it?)
posted by griphus at 11:00 AM on June 20, 2010

Another Google image search to check out is "3d tattoo", which will lead to stuff like this spider-man skin rip tattoo, as well as some other nice "revealed beneath the skin" tats.
posted by blind.wombat at 11:01 AM on June 20, 2010

griphus - well, Anil ain't cheap, and there's a funny story... he had a two year waiting list when I saw him, but it turned out he had been following my work for many years, and was a fan of mine, which surprised the hell out of me. I got a very, very special deal. He's worth every $$$ he charges, and then some. If you MeMail me your regular email address, I'll send you a picture of my Anil piece. It was done in a single 8 hour sitting - I'm a little extreme, what can I say?
posted by dbiedny at 11:03 AM on June 20, 2010

posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on June 20, 2010

griphus - the saying goes: good tattoos aren't cheap, and cheap tattoos aren't good.
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 11:17 AM on June 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

the saying goes: good tattoos aren't cheap, and cheap tattoos aren't good.

If there was ever an absolute truth in the world of skin art, that would be it.
posted by dbiedny at 11:25 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, I've seen enough shit tattoos in my day to know that. But there's Not-Cheap and there's Astronomically-Out-Of-My-Price-Range. I have a feeling Gupta, sadly, falls in the second category.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on June 20, 2010

I'd have to agree that Anil Gupta would be the guy for a piece like that. The one he did for me was very good, but the ink has faded so much that people ask me if I'm in the process of having it removed. I don't know if it's the ink he used, the single needle technique, or what, but it's almost like I got a non-permanant tattoo. So, while I'd admit his work is the best quality I have ever seen, if you asked if it was worth the money, I could only say "YMMV."
posted by Eumachia L F at 5:53 AM on June 21, 2010

I got several awesome textual tattoos from an artist named Diamond in DC. He used to work at a shop at 9th and U, but I don't know if he's still there. You might try tracking him down.
posted by hilaritas at 7:45 AM on June 21, 2010

That's genuinely surprising to me, Eumachia, my Anil piece is well over 12 years old, and looks pretty much exactly the same as the day I got it.
posted by dbiedny at 8:58 AM on June 21, 2010

griphus, you are looking between 350-400/hour and I don't imagine he does many one hour tattoos.
posted by saucysault at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2010

I had it done in '94, but I had others done within the next 2/3 years, and it's the only one that's faded even a little.
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:01 AM on June 22, 2010

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