Revolutionary Body Art
Artist Keith McCurdy Inks Celebrity Bodies
In society today, people are constantly getting body shamed. Mainstream and social media can create an unhealthy standard around what it means to be beautiful. Naturally, men and women have found something to give them a sense of personal identity and a unique mark that sets them apart from one another: covering our bodies with beautiful, creative images.
29-year-old Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy is the power behind the pen that helps individuals express who they are by leaving his mark…on their skin. No longer considered a lowly vocation, McCurdy has elevated the inking of skin to a true art form. He was just 19, working in a rundown lower Manhattan tattoo parlor when up-and-coming fashion and music icon Rihanna came in asking for the store’s best tattoo artist. She was pointed in McCurdy’s direction. The next day, she arrived with a reporter being granted a very colorful interview while McCurdy inked her hip. It was Rihanna’s Sanskrit side tat that put Keith McCurdy on the celebrity map.
Since then, he’s been tatting famous folks from David Beckham and Justin Bieber to Adele and Miley Cyrus in his rocker-chic SoHo shop BANG BANG (328 Broome St, New York, NY 10002, 212-219-2799). The artist also went on tour with Katy Perry, who had him working on her crew in between concerts, and he designed Cara Delevingne’s temporary rainbow metallic tats for the 2015 Met Gala, as well as that famous Lion’s head on her finger.
His colorful masterpieces are so popular, he recently released the photo-driven memoir, Bang Bang: My Life in Ink. The coffee table book shares McCurdy’s rags to riches story, his celebrity insider secrets, and images of a notable factor that separate him from the other tattoo artists: he asks his famous clients to tattoo his body in return. “That’s kind of my deal,” Bang Bang says. “I’m like a needy fan, and I need a 30-minute autograph.” Now, he has celebrity-designed, one-of-a-kind artwork on his skin and of course, Rihanna’s little umbrella tat is his favorite. The tattoo of the umbrella-ella-ella represents the appreciation that Keith McCurdy has for Rihanna. Whether or not the singer sealed his reputation as the best tattoo artist around the world, he has certainly come a long way from that grungy little shop in lower Manhattan.
If you’re looking for tattoo inspo or for some beautiful art to please the eye, check out his famous Instagram account or view our favorite picks below.