Gucci Mane getting an ice cream cone tattooed on his face was the space shuttle launch of yesterday. That story was everywhere! And when a story that big happens you don’t just fire off one blog post and let it pass. You follow up. You make some phone calls. You report. So that’s why we channeled Woodward and Bernstein and called up Long Island-based tattoo artist Ron Bianco to talk to him about face tattoos and how absolutely insane they are. The interview’s below.
Clutch: What’s your background when it comes to face tattoos?
Ron: I’ve done some small stuff like teardrops and beauty marks here and there. Actually, the first tattoo I did was a teardrop.
Clutch: Do you think a face tattoo hurts more than tattoos in other places?
Ron: From this side, I really can’t say for sure. But I’ve talked to people who’ve said it was really bad. I knew a guy who had his whole face covered in tribal. When people have bigger tattoos on their face, it’s rare that they’re actually done well. I think that’s because it hurts so much and they’re trying to get through it quickly. Except for Mike Tyson. His looks perfect.
Clutch: Are there certain areas of the face that hurt more than others?
Ron: I’d have to say the looser parts, because generally when you’re tattooing it takes more to stretch the looser parts and actually get the needle to go in. So the cheeks would hurt more than your forehead. But I’ve never gotten anything on my face. My neck is the closest I’ve gotten to and it was pretty bad.
Clutch: In your experience, why do people get inked on their face?
Ron: With the teardrops, it’s usually for prison stuff. Either someone is going to prison and wants to look like he’s been in prison for a while or he’s just come out and wants to show off that he’s been in prison. People generally get their faces tattooed for stupid reasons.
Clutch: Any other stupid reasons you know of?
Ron: Well, I think anyone who gets their face tattooed is searching for attention, or hates their parents and wants to go to Thanksgiving dinner and freak them out. Or they’re just nerds who have nothing else for people to talk to them about, so this way they’ll have people saying, “Oh my god, look at that guy!” Unless you’re in a New Zealand tribe and you’re doing it for ritualistic reasons, I think it’s just for shock.
Clutch: When would you say face tattooing gained popularity among those who aren’t part of a New Zealand tribe?
Ron: Recently, over the past few years. The thing I see the most is that the crusty kids, you know, the ones with the homeless look, are getting them done. I was just in Portland a month ago, and there was a lot of face tattooing going on. I’m also seeing people who are running out of space on their bodies so they’re moving on to their head and face, which has actually made neck tattoos more acceptable as a result.
Clutch:. Have you ever turned away someone who wanted a face tattoo?
Ron: Yes, I actually have. This guy came in who said he had just gotten out of jail, and he wanted teardrops on his face. By the time we got back to my station I realized he was drunk, like, really drunk. Although he had neck tattoos, and his arms were sleeved, I was like, “Dude, do me one favor, come back tomorrow and I’ll tattoo whatever you want, wherever you want.” He was seriously swaying and as soon as I said that he started acting as if he wasn’t drunk. I felt like it could have gotten heated at any moment there, but I had to put my foot down and say, “There’s no way I’m tattooing you.” And he left. You just never know what’s going to happen in the morning when they sober up.