Rihanna covers Essence Magazine

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Rihanna is featured in Bang Bang’s new book My Life as Ink, where she discusses her tattoos and Bang Bang’s impact on her body art:

“I met Bang Bang because about ten years ago I used to hang out downtown, by the tattoo shop where he worked. I would usually just roam around the streets, but one night I went into the shop and started looking around at nipple rings, and asking all kinds of questions about tattoos.”

“Tupac was playing loud, and Bang Bang was just sitting there, looking at me – with this face on – thinking, this girl isn’t going to buy shit. I could tell! He was like, this girl would never get a piercing… she would never get a tattoo.”

“I remember thinking, this guy is gangsta as fuck. He doesn’t give a fuck about me – he doesn’t know who I am and that is brilliant. So that’s why I wanted him to do my tattoo. I knew he wasn’t going to try any funny shit or act crazy; he was just going to do my tattoo. When he showed me the Freddy Krueger tattoo he did on his boss at the time, it was all over. And that’s the day I got my first Bang Bang tattoo! I love tattoos because I think they’re another way of expressing myself artistically. They’re another outlet for art, and I love art. Each one of my tattoos – they’re here for life. I love that.”

“When I first got a tattoo I was seventeen years old and I was in Japan. They needed consent from my guardian, so I called my mom and she was surprisngly into it. That one was just behind my ear. I went to Australia from there, and got two music notes, on my ankle, which Bang Bang later covered with my falcon. And then I came to New York…”

“My favorite tattoo is still the first one Bang did, the Sanskrit on my hip. Eventually, I want to be covered. I’m going to keep my skin pretty as long as possible, but the minute that starts to go south, Bang Bang can just knock me out and I’ll wake up a week later, covered in tattoos. Maybe when I’m fifty.”

“Tattoos aren’t something I want to be patient about. When I want one, I want it that moment. If you’re lucky enough to find a really great artist, you’re going to get it. Most of my work has been done in New York, by Bang Bang. But if not in NYC, in a hotel room, or in my house, or wherever I am.”

“I was surprised when Bang Bang wouldn’t put my first tattoo where I wanted it to go – up the back of my leg – but I was so shocked that I was actually open to his idea of moving it, and I’m glad I did. I was still early on in my tattoo game, so I trusted him as an expert more than I trusted myself because I didn’t know.”

“When you’re well known, it can be hard knowing who to trust, but I trusted Bang Bang from the first time he tattooed me. I’m a very observant person, even when it might not seem like it. I may not say much, but I’m definitely taking it all in. When I figure out enough about who you are, that determines how close I’ll allow you to get to me.”

“The thing I value most about Bang Bang is his honesty. He will never tattoo a bad idea – like EVER. That is the best thing about him – he has shut down so many of my crazy ideas. Or he’ll correct them, tweak them, and turn them into something great. Like my gun tattoo, I was sure I wanted two of them on my collarbones, but he talked me out of it and I’m so glad. Bang is invested in his art – it’s not about the money. That’s really rare and very special.”

“I love you, Bang Bang!” – Rihanna

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Posted by An.J / Filed under: Interviews, News, Rihanna Talk