Facial Tattoo by Paul Booth
The Dark Lord of Tattooing, Paul Booth, just broke his facial tattoo taboo and created his version of Moko in this demonic piece on a fellow tattooer. As noted on Paul's Instagram post, the tattoo is designed to change depending on the point of view.
Naturally, with a work like this, the tattoo has gone viral across social media, garnering hundreds of comments -- and within those comments are critiques on changing someone's appearance so drastically and the ethics in doing so. The discussion of tattoo ethics has been a hot topic lately, particularly driven by the "f*cking neck tattoo" debate, in which Dan Bythewood at NY Adorned refused to put a neck tattoo on a women who only had three little tattoos; the woman then whined about his refusal on the internet.
This is different.
I'm a fan of beautifully done facial tattoos on those who are seriously committed to tattoos and in a good place in their lives, and I feel that the decisions to tattoo people wanting this type of work is best done on a case-by-case basis. In this case, Paul felt that this client and this type of work made the right moment to break his taboo.
Here's how Paul explains it:
[T]o answer some questions I'm getting a lot of, I thought I would answer some here. Old School Tattoo shop Mythology dictates we don't do hands and faces. My reasons included not wanting to be responsible for... At THAT time... A truly regret filled bad decision. Society did not find tattooing even remotely acceptable. Of course, even today, a face tattoo severely limits you with career options. So it is generally unethical practice and therefore "taboo". However... While i have thought up heaps of sick ideas for faces over the years because after all, isn't what is taboo to you always quite alluring?! It was just my ethics wouldn't allow it. Now it's not that i have lost them by choosing to do a face... It's that i was finally approached by someone who not only met the requirements for me to keep my ethics intact but also was doing it for many of the same reasons i did it. It was a Ritual for both of us. He is a 30 year old tattoo artist who needed and was ready for the ultimate commitment to our craft. Do you have any concept of what it takes to literally go to your mentor and say tattoo whatever you want all over my face. It's about extending trust at a level most couldn't understand. He is tattooed to his knuckles and the reason his chest and shoulders are bare is because he has been saving them for me for years. He endured the suffering for 3.5 hours as he insisted on one sitting from the start. It's important to suffer... Especially if this is a Rite Of Passage for you. He barely squirmed. Seriously dedicated tattoo warrior right here and he deserves respect, not opinionated scorn. Besides... "Mr. Can't get a job " probably makes more money than you. He's a Tattoo Artist.Yup. He probably does. Kudos to them both for a beautiful tattoo and the discussion surrounding it.