LOS ANGELES – News of Justin Bieber’s recently completed “sleeve” tattoo sent tattoo artists and aficionados across the country into a state of shock and mourning.
“For the untold thousands of full-sleeve owners, it is a dark day indeed,” said Richard Gripper, owner of Get a Grip Tattoo in Las Vegas. “There was a time when having large tattoo coverage was a sign of individuality and non-conformity. Those days are now officially over.”
For many tattoo artists, the presence of their sacred art on the body of a teenage pop sensation hits them in a deep, almost spiritual level.
“It’s an abomination,” said Jesse Janye, proprietor of Riot Ink in Fort Worth, Texas. “A full sleeve on that worthless turd is simply abhorrent. It’s a clear violation of the laws of nature.”
Tattoo shop owners expect to see a marked reduction in demand.
“We’ll always have the little rose-on-the-shoulder sorority girl business,” Gripper said. “But once news gets out, I don’t expect many men to come in asking for ‘the Bieber’. The dude’s Canadian, for f*ck’s sake.”
For Gripper, Janye and others tattoo artists, there is a nagging worry that more bad news is on the horizon.
“Yes, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Gripper said. “For the moment, our piercing business is stable. But if Bieber ever gets a Prince Albert, God help us, it’s game over. We’ll go out of business forthwith.”
In light of the Justin Bieber tattoo debacle, Gripper said he’s having regrets for the first time in his life.
“I hate to say it, but if you truly want to be different from everyone else, don’t get a tattoo,” Gripper added. “And for the love of Pete, do not get a sleeve.”
The National Association of Tattoo Artists recently set up an emergency hotline staffed by professional grief counselors.
“There are people hanging on by a thread out there,” said Dan Skipman, NATA President. “Imagine if the most obnoxious child on your block broke into your house and found your single most valuable possession and pulled down his pants and crapped right on top of it. That’s about where we are as a community. These people will have deep emotional scars for the rest of their lives.”