Earlier last week, a picture began to float around the internet of a young woman with Drake freshly tattooed on her forehead. Call it one of the most dumbest things someone could ever do or just simply an obsessed fan of the Young Money Toronto rapper. As a lover of ink and free expression I don’t like to judge people’s choice of body art but, this makes me question the integrity of the tattoo artist. Vice.com recently caught up with Kevin Campbell of Will Rise in LA, who is responsible for the ink. During the interview he admits that the woman seemed to be high on drugs, which further more validates my questioning of his integrity. ”She was on a pretty good one when she came in, and I think by the time I finished, she was coming down, because her attitude changed pretty drastically once the tattoo was finished,” Campbell said.
On who took the picture.
Norm, my boss. It sucks because the photo makes the tattoo look all crooked and janky, but it’s actually pretty well applied and straight as an arrow. The other before, during, and after photos taken by my co-worker are better. But when Norm took the now famous picture, one of her shaved eyebrows was tensed up a bit, making the “A” in “DRAKE” look like dogshit. Her eyebrows were shaved when she came into the shop, btw. Her head was shaved too.
On his reaction.
The funny thing is, I didn’t know who Drake was, I figured it was her hood or some shit, not some goofnugget R&B dude.
On what the tattoo meant to the woman and if it was planned.
Yeah, she was really psyched about it. She had the shitty font all picked out on her iPhone ready to go and was pretty adamant about putting it on her forehead. She didn’t say a word about what it meant to her, some of the guys at the shop asked her, and she just kinda giggled at them. When I printed up the first image of the lettering, she wanted me to go bigger, so that it went pretty much from each side of her hairline to the other. I thought she shaved her eyebrows for the procedure, so when I put the stencil on the first time, it was right over her (missing) eyebrows, but she had me enlarge it a bit and push it up towards the hairline. But yeah, she acted as if she had planned it out for a while; though I’m not really sure how much extended coherent thought could actually go into getting such a stupid tattoo on your forehead.
On feeling guilty about doing the tattoo.
My whole deal with people wanting completely outrageous and potentially life ruining tattoos is this: I’ll ask them 3 times if they really think that it’s a good idea, I tell them what the potential consequences of getting a tattoo on their face might be, and after that, the bad decision is on them. I believe that people get the tattoos that they deserve. The shop where I worked prior to Will Rise was in the center of the Harbor City Crip neighborhood, so I’m not really a stranger to tattooing gang shit on faces, which is what I originally thought that this was. I guess I feel bad that this dumbass got the name of the softest motherfucker in hip-hop tattooed on her forehead. But what makes that any less valid of a tattoo to her? I lost a little sleep over it that first night, wondering if I wanted to be known as the asshole who tattooed “Drake” on some crackhead’s forehead. None of the face tattoos I had done prior to this got any publicity, so I was a little surprised that this one took off like it did. I’m still kinda debating whether or not I should send you guys the whole set of pictures, I don’t really want to paint the shop in a bad light but it is what it is. In the end, she paid me to do this to her, which really means she did this to herself…
On giving customers what they ask for.
There is a way of steering the customer in a direction that would make their whole tattoo idea something that would look better on their skin when the concept they have in their mind sounds good to the but wouldn’t translate well into a tattoo. This usually comes up when they come in asking for something like a tattoo of a rose but with 20 names and dates hidden in the petals or something. When it’s something as simple as lettering, I could have tried to steer her into a prettier font maybe, or a different location (obviously), but she was already set on this “letterman” font, “like the one on the jacket.”
But as far as having a choice, yeah, sure, I could have turned her away, and I’m already getting a ton of flack from other tattooers for this but the way I see it, if she’s got her little heart set on getting her forehead tattooed then she’ll just keep on trying until somebody finally goes through with it. I think that getting a color portrait of the Joker from Batman is a dumb idea, but who the fuck am I to judge? If some cat from MS13 comes in and wants me to “blast” that shit on his chin or forehead or whatever, who am I to judge the validity of them getting what they get and where they get it? If I tattoo a huge “BK” on a Crip or tattoo “DRAKE” on some R&B crazed girl’s face, what’s the difference? Who am I to say which one is wrong and which is right?
Read the full interview here.