Kylie Jenner’s Tattoo Artist, Bang Bang, Spills Secrets From His New Book
What kind of person gets to fly high in the air on Justin Bieber’s private jet, sit sideline with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime, and casually call Rihanna their BFF? If you guessed an A-lister, a groupie, or a stylist, you’d be wrong.
Wanna know who tattoos your favorite celebrities? He goes by the name of Bang Bang, and he just added Kylie Jenner to his ongoing list of celebrity clientele. But how exactly does one go from a small town in Delaware to tattooing lion’s on Cara Delevingne’s delicate fingers? In Kevin “Bang Bang” McCurdy’s latest book release, entitled Bang Bang: My Life In Ink, he discloses all of his secrets; from his first celebrity client (Rihanna), his “calf of fame,” to tips on getting your first tattoo.
We caught up with Bang Bang to learn about tattoo trends, ask about his favorite piece of ink done by a celebrity, and attempt to squeeze out some information about Kylie Jenner’s latest piece of work.
It’s well known that you have a “calf of fame,” you’ve described that “some people want photos with their favorite celebs– I want them to tattoo me. I’m like a needy fan, but instead of a selfie, I need a thirty minute autograph.” What’s your favorite tattoo that you’ve received from one of your clients?
Rihanna gave me an umbrella with an R. It was the first one that a celebrity had done on me. I’ve known her for so long and I’ve watched her grow. I’m so proud of her, so that tattoo is really special to me.
You tattooed Kylie Jenner this past week, and she returned the favor by giving you a crown with a “K” inside on your calf. Can you tell us more about what you tattooed onto Kylie and if she explained the meaning behind the tattoo?
Sometimes clients prefer their tattoos be private. She will announce what she got and the meaning behind it when she’s ready. I’ve tattooed many more celebrities and some of the most famous people that no one even knows about.
Do you think it’s important to have a “meaning” behind a tattoo? Or to be more like Rihanna and decide what you want in that moment?
There can be tons of meaning behind a tattoo, but not be visually pleasing. As an artist, meaning is important, but the visual is more important.
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about getting their first tat?
Do your research and find a great tattoo artist. You don’t have experience in designing tattoos, so you need to find someone with experience and that you trust. You can get a spur of the moment tattoo that you’ll love forever if you trust the person doing it.
Where’s the most common place and/or motif that girls have been getting tatted lately?
We tattoo so many things and people so it’s hard to say. We definitely do a lot of delicate designs. A lot of times when we are doing them, the person will apologize for how simple or small it is, but we don’t mind because we are just happy to do it.
Do tattoo trends come and go the way that fashion does? If so, what do you see at the latest “trends?”
They absolutely come and go, we’ve all seen it with tramp stamps. Currently, a big trend is traditional American tattooing. We don’t do a lot of that in our shop, but a lot of other places have been doing it lately. It’s the first style our country saw, but I prefer doing new and extremely detailed pieces that challenge myself.
There are a lot of places that I haven’t tattooed that I want to. Like the Great Wall of China or space. I’m sure most of these places will come true in time.
All images via Bang Bang: My Life In Ink