In America's hippest neighborhoods, tattoos are part of the uniform -- whole sleeves of them. And it would be shocking to see a professional basketball player with arms completely bare of ink. It's just the way Americans look in the 21st century. But even 30 years ago, tattoos were the mark of outlaws and outcasts.
That's part of the charm of Seattle-based artist Cheyenne Randall's portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant and Pablo Picasso. Covered in ink (using Photoshop), they look like they've traveled forward in time to haunt hippest Brooklyn. "These days I pick tattoos strictly from vintage 1920's era American traditional tattoo flash sheets," Randall says.
Some of the tattoos look surprisingly natural, like a brawny 1950s Marlon Brando. Others look comically out of place, like Jackie Kennedy donning pearls and ink up to her neck. Most of the celebs get a single take, but Randall has an insatiable desire to tattoo Audrey Hepburn: "it's her face and bone structure that captivate me."
There's something strangely reassuring about these pictures. They use highly staged portraits of people who reached the pantheon of posthumous stardom. Covering them in tattoos turns them into friends we could meet up with at a bar in Austin, Oakland, Silverlake, or Portland.