Atlanta is now home to the largest tattoo artwork ever created. Anyone looking to dispute the claim can take it up with Guinness World Records.
Tattoo artist J. R. Outlaw worked for several months to create a 12-foot-tall, seven-foot-wide masterpiece entirely with traditional tattoo materials. The project was a collaboration between Iron Palm Tattoos, where Outlaw works, and Atlanta Ink, another local shop.
Fans of Atlanta-bred rap supergroup Migos will recognize the face portrayed on the massive silicone canvas. It’s the late rapper Takeoff, whose sudden killing last November left the hip-hop world reeling.
“We just wanted people to get a feeling from it,” Outlaw said, according to Atlanta News First. “That’s what artwork is. It’s supposed to make you feel something.”
“He is Atlanta. He is what Atlanta is. He is the best of us,” Outlaw stated plainly.
The portrait cost more than $30,000 to bring to life. This includes the cost of ink and the one-of-a-kind canvas. It isn’t a traditional canvas at all, but a custom silicone one similar to the rubbery artificial skin that tattoo artists often practice on. As a result, the finished product not only looks like a tattoo, but feels like it too.
“We encourage people to come up and touch it so they can feel what the skin actually feels like,” Outlaw said of the special surface. “They can understand when I say it’s a tattoo. This isn’t a painting; it’s actually a tattoo.”
Christian Verrette, co-owner of Atlanta Ink, wasn’t even thinking about setting a world record when the idea first started. It wasn’t until later that he realized that its size was truly never seen before.
“This is something big. And then when Guinness acknowledged it, it was like, ‘Wow, this really was something big,'” Verrette said of his initial reaction.
It was never about setting a world record for Outlaw or Verrette. They simply wanted to honor the Takeoff’s legacy with a unique piece of art.
“I feel like Migos and him, their impact on the culture was larger than life. It changed the world,” Verrette admitted. “So, when you stand [the artwork] up, I feel like there’s no better way to honor him.”
With his whole home city (including some impassioned tattoo artists) behind him, Takeoff’s memory is in good hands.