SlingerVille Articles
Cheryl Cole's latest body art: the bottom line
Article by:
August 28, 2013

It deserved front-page news, apparently: Cheryl Cole had her backside tattooed. The image of her colourful bum entirely covered in a tattoo of intertwined roses was uploaded onto Instagram on 24 August by the artist Nikko Hurtado. It's easy to have a tongue in (ahem) cheek approach to looking at this needlework, but the fascinated and often aggressive reactions to Cole's choice say a lot about contemporary society, celebrity and ideas of femininity.

Nikko Hurtado is a tattoo artist based in Hesperia, California, who specialises in colour portraiture tattoos at cult studio Black Anchor Collective. It was reported to take 15 hours to complete the illustration that covers her lower back and bottom. Previously a cover-up and reworking of a tattoo beneath, when she was performing across the UK with Girls Aloud in February, you could see the bold work in progress poking above her backless stage costumes.

The public response to her personal choice is reflective of our desire to criticise and consume celebrity bodies. Like the tattoo or not, it is a very direct way for Cole to reclaim her body as her own, and she is following a growing trend for tattoos on women in western culture. "In my 15 years of tattooing I think I always tattooed slightly more women then men," Dutch tattoo artist Angelique Houtkamp told British Vogue in 2008. "It used to be that women got smaller, dainty tattoos and now they go for bolder and bigger images. I feel it is very much part of women's desire to adorn themselves. Much like jewellery and clothes."

There is undeniably a touch of class snobbery in reactions to Cole's tattoo – a sense of disapproval of a certain aesthetic style or her decision to cover her whole backside. Would there be the same response if Cole had chosen something more New York influenced? A bit more middle class hipster? In many ways, the in-your-face, vibrant, Californian approach couldn't be more suited to Cole's pop tastes. Her brash, outlined roses are really quite classic: a modern, detailed updating of the aesthetic blend between Western and Japanese tattoo art pioneered by US artist "Sailor Jerry" Collins in the 1930s. As Houtkamp points out, "Traditional work stands the test of time, where softer, transparent work loses its clearness very quickly. Ink is absorbed by the body, so a tattoo should look actually darker and bolder when it is just made, until it settles in. If a soft tattoo looks great after two weeks, you can count on it that a lot of it will be gone in a few years."

British tattoo artist Scott Move concurs that Cole did her research in choosing the artist. "The size of the tattoo may not be to everyone's taste, and I'm sure Cheryl doesn't care one bit. Rightly so. It's hers. If you don't like it, don't look. And don't get tattooed." Amid the weekend furore, Cole had the last word. She tweeted a quote from Leo Buscaglia, the late writer and motivational speaker known as Dr Love: "The easiest thing to be in the world is you, the most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be." Without a doubt Cole is daring to be herself – one buttock at a time.

Login to comment

Posted By: SalsberryHill | 8/28/13 8:27 PM
art on the bottom is the best
Chat: Enter