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STORYTIME: I Tattooed Justin Beiber and Future | Cosmopolitan

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Celeb tattoo artist Dan Price tells Cosmopolitan all about Justin Beiber's tattoos and some amazing artwork he did for Future! Check out Dan's IG to see more of his work: https://www.instagram.com/danpricetattoo/ Love Cosmo? Then come join our ~ elite ~ members-only crew. Sign up for Cosmo Unlocked: cosmopolitan.com/joinnow 馃敁

Video Transcript

DAN PRICE: I was sitting around, and he was in Miami. And I got a call to be at the Versace Mansion around-- I guess it was like around 4:30. I just never thought I'd be sitting in the Versace Mansion with Justin. Hey, what's up, guys. My name is Dan Price. I'm a celebrity tattoo artist.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The people, you know, that stand out or the people like Justin Bieber, Future, John Geiger, Ronnie Jae music producer. And it's important to me to make the work look awesome. Especially on a celebrity, there's a chance that or, you know, 100% chance that it's going to be on camera getting photographed. So the work really has to live up to its potential.

Yeah. Actually, I've done only one piece for him. But it was, you know, I would like to think one of his favorites. But, yeah, we did the wings on the back of his neck, but his hairs grown out now, I think, so it's tough to see that piece. But, yeah, it's always there, I'm pretty sure.

I like the look. The back of the neck is a great area for a tattoo. Especially if you want people to see, it hangs out at the top of your shirt collar. I think the cool part is, you know, I guess about how it all came about. It was a random night, I was sitting around, and he was in Miami. And I got a call to be at the Versace Mansion around-- I guess it was like around 4:30. And, you know, as you know, that's Miami's live time, everybody's alive. It's vampire hour.

So they had informed me that and asked me if I wanted to do a tattoo on a high-end celebrity. They weren't going to be able to tell me who it was at first. They just wanted a yes or no. And a few minutes later, they had called back to confirm that it was Justin, actually. So that was crazy to me.

When I got there, he was upstairs. So again, I just cool to hang out, you know, grab a drink, grab something to eat if I wanted to chill. About 40 minutes in, half-hour in, he came downstairs from his, I guess his room or, you know, with his crew, just kind of gave me a rundown of what he wanted.

He was like, yeah, you know, I want a pair of wings on the back of my neck. Gather some images for me. Just show me a few examples of some wings. And we'll rock from there. But the vibes were really cool. Justin had, you know, his management around, you know, making sure everything was cool. No phones. No video cameras. Everybody drop it in the bin.

That was about a 4 and 1/2 to 5-hour process. Obviously, Justin couldn't see what was going on because it was on the back of his neck. He handled the pain crazy. He's got a bunch of tattoos already. So, you know, he was used to the pain. Towards the end, like I said, it was getting a little tender.

At that point, when we started tattooing, it was 5:30. So at that point, it was almost 10:00 in the morning. So I don't blame anybody for being tired and exhausted and done with getting stabbed in the back of the neck. That was a fun experience, though, for sure.

He was actually previewing me some new music that he had with Lil Wayne at the time that, you know, no one had heard. I don't know how it could get much better, honestly. And I would love to work on him again. And I respect his whole process and everything he's gone through in his life right now. And maybe, you know, sometime in the future it'll happen, you know.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

When you're in the car, you're by yourself, and you have your favorite song on, and you sing, most of the time, you sound like trash. Like you-- people are like, you know, they think they sound great, but they sound trash. So he was doing the same thing with other people's songs, but it was better than everybody had ever sung it before. So it was like he could have really hopped on any song with anybody and just been the star.

JUSTIN BIEBER: (SINGING) Yeah.

DAN PRICE: You know, the stomach is terrible. The kidney area is terrible. The ribs get, you know, pretty bad. The inside of the arm is tough. Up near the armpit, it gets really sensitive. In areas that nobody sees, nobody touches like you're going to feel it for sure.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

One of my longtime friends, Rambow from LA. He calls me, he's like, hey, listen, I'm shooting with Future right now. He saw some of your work on me, you know, he'd love to get something done. Can you be out here? I'm juggling all this stuff in my head. And I'm like, yeah, of course, I'm going to be out there. I'm-- I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Aside from, you know, yeah, come work on me. I'm thinking of, damn, I've been listening to this guy's albums for 10 plus years nonstop. You know, Futures a god in his world. I feel like a child around him. So-- but no, the experience is great. It's been super humbling. I think he has a whole leg-sleeve dedicated to figures of power in the African-American culture. I believe it's Martin Luther King, Malcolm X.

We did a portrait of Rosa Parks with some angels in her hair, you know, representing her angelic ways, and, you know, what she did for the culture. And that was an honor for me to put a piece on him that, you know, meant a lot to him. The other ones were more fun pieces, you know, we did a few cherub's, baby angels on his knee. We did the number 56 on his kneecap, which was dedicated to his album 56 nights.

And we started a larger piece actually on his upper thigh that's dedicated to his album monster, which we're not finished yet. Last time I was tattooing him, him and Lil Uzi were recording their album. They were going back and forth on songs like, you know, Future would do a verse, and Uzi would do a verse.

It was just wild, you know, to understand what these guys go through on a daily basis. And how hard they've been working every single day. And just as they're the best that what they do I have to be the best at what I do, so that we both fit in the same room together, and it makes sense.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Yeah. When I was tattooing Future, I learned a lot about him and why he's so successful. Time is money to him. Money is time. Efficiency is everything. Yeah. He was multitasking through the appointment but always showed love, always showed a lot of respect. So these experiences are just-- their jaw-dropping.

To hear someone recording a song. And then, a week later, hear it on an album or on iTunes. And all your friends are bumping it. And, you know, you can say you were there for part of that, or you heard it be recorded, or, you know, maybe you heard a conversation behind it, is just crazy to me.

It takes a while to finish pieces, you know. I would say, if you're working on a sleeve, which is from your wrist all the way up to your shoulder, all the way around, it can be between 6 and 10 sessions. And those sessions go, you know, 7-8 hours at a time. So let's call it anywhere between, you know, 50 and 80 hours, depending on detail.

I've done actually quite a bit of work on a guy named Ronnie Jae. He's done work with guys as, you know, big as Kanye West, Ty Dolla Sign, Rich the Kid. He actually just walked into my shop randomly. After we got acquainted in the shop and stuff, and we talked about working, and I found out who he was, that became a client too that I went to, you know.

Wherever he was, you know, he'd call me. Hey, I'm in the studio. Hey, I'm at my apartment or, you know, we get a little, you know, penthouse or something. And then, post up in there and do a video.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The experience there was really cool. I used to sit there, and he would just be on his laptop making music like while I'm literally working on him. So for me, that was the best of both worlds, you know, I need music to tattoo, and he was making the actual music while I was doing it. So that was definitely an experience I hadn't gone through before.

And more the camaraderie, you know, we've become, you know, good friends. And, you know, I try and support, you know, everything he does. And I know that industry is tough, you know. We have a statue on his arm. And it's a lot to do with space being, you know, so high up that, you know, no one can touch you.

He's from Jersey. His logo is actually the New Jersey Devils logo, but with his initials instead. So we put that in the tattoo. Yeah. We have like some planets, and like Saturn's rings, and space shuttle blasting off underneath of it. And, yeah, we have a few really cool pieces on him.

I guess without getting into super, super detail on it, it varies in cities. I work in Miami a lot. I work in the Northeast, like New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania area. I do some work at Vegas, LA, overseas. So I really do sometimes have to play the market. But I guess we could call it in the top tier of price ranges, I guess.

I have worked with a few football players. I've worked with a guy named Morgan Moses from the Redskins. Worked with the guy, Ricky Jean-Francois. A lot of people remember the Devon Still story. Devon's daughter, Leah, was going through her battle with cancer.

She's beat that with flying colors, and she's doing great. I started a back piece dedicated to Leah for him. And I'm hoping to get back on that soon. A lot of offseason, they come down to Miami. So hopefully, in this offseason, we'll have an opportunity to hit a few more people.

What really got me into tattooing at first was the money. I was in college for art. I have a degree in illustration. And when I was graduating, I didn't really know where art could take people. Once I started, and I figured out how serious it was, and I started my apprenticeship, it became clear that it was a serious career. So I just ran with it, you know.

Yeah. John Geiger, such a creative energy man, such a great guy. We've tattooed him a few times. Always talking about something cool. Always talking about his next moves. His shoes sell out in 5 seconds whenever they go up. We did a lot of smaller pieces. Did a few finger tattoos on him. I believe we did a light bulb. Did an initial on the side of his face here.

Did something above his ear, I believe it's like a little rose. The little light bulb, I believe that we did on his finger, was representational of, you know, just the boom of ideas, you know, that he has. But, yeah, those pieces that we've done are cool. They're little memorable pieces where, you know, you can look down, and you can get a bunch of them, you know. You don't have to-- once you start getting huge pieces, there's only room for so much.

The experiences are crazy, you know, I'm a huge fan of music. I grew up around music. My father was a musician. So, you know, when these guys are flying me out or inviting me to a space, you know, at first, I'm a fan, you know, first always. I just never thought I'd be traveling and, you know, be sitting in the Versace Mansion with Justin. So, yeah, these experiences for me are-- I-- a lot of times I'm lost for words.

[MUSIC PLAYING]