Bang Bang: My Life in Ink

You may not know his name, but you most certainly know his work: Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy has left his mark on Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus. The 29-year-old is the most famous tattoo artist in the world, or, better yet, tattoo artist to the most famous in the world. Now McCurdy is about to become a lot more well known, with the publication on November 17 of Bang Bang: My Life in Ink (HarperCollins). The book, McCurdy’s first, chronicles his rise and, along with it, the evolution of the tattoo into fashion statement. McCurdy has inked some of the runway’s most engaging figures, including Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delevingne. “It gave me confidence in myself as a designer,” McCurdy said recently of Delevingne’s lion tattoo. “It was almost the word lion on her finger, and visually speaking, I don’t think it would [have looked] as great. I’ve never seen a tattoo more globally recognized.” With Delevingne’s lion, McCurdy’s own visibility soared, his Instagram followers growing from 12,000 to 60,000 to 200,000 in short order. Still, nothing prepared for what came next: Rihanna. “With Rihanna’s gun, we almost put them under her collarbone, just above her front shoulder,” McCurdy said of the singer’s rib cage tattoo. “And we almost did two of them, but we only did one gun on her rib cage. My reasoning is it took too much away from her face. That’s why all the tattoos around her face, neck, collar, and shoulder are done without black, so you can still see her.” Almost instantaneously, McCurdy found himself fielding calls from CNN, MTV, and other media outlets. “Essentially, my whole business is word of mouth,” McCurdy said. “When I did Rihanna’s gun tattoo, I learned about press.” If the pressure of tattooing the world’s biggest entertainers wasn’t enough, consider the curveball Justin Bieber threw his way: The Canadian pop star brought McCurdy on board his jet so that he could get inked 35,000 feet in the air. “The airplane is not still at all. It’s not an ideal place to do a tattoo, and what he picked was not ideal to get on an airplane,” McCurdy said, half laughing. “I wanted to do the word fly or an airplane silhouette, and we did the word forgive on his hip.” McCurdy added: “There’s very little room for error.” Having now also tattooed Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, and LeBron James, is there anyone left McCurdy would like to ink? “I’ve been saying for a long time I want to tattoo Obama,” McCurdy said. Anyone else? “Oprah,” he said quickly. “I just think she needs a heart because she has such a big one.” Pre-order your copy HERE

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