Ed Sheeran’s tattoo artist has admitted some of the singer’s ink is ‘sh*t’ and caused him to lose clients.
Kevin Paul is the artist behind more than 40 of Sheeran’s colourful tattoos and has also worked with celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Harry Styles and Rihanna. Paul says, however, that working with the I Don’t Care singer is one of the ‘best and worst’ things to happen to his career.
One of the singer’s most talked-about pieces is the giant lion he had tattooed on his chest to celebrate selling out Wembley Stadium, though he’s covered with dozens of other pictures and symbols.
Many people have questioned his choice in body art, and even though Paul is the one responsible for permanently inking many of them onto Sheeran’s skin, the artist says he actually agrees with many of the critics.
if you have a tattoo, any tattoo at all, there’s a 98% chance it looks better than any of ed sheeran’s tattoos
— nicolas arun (@nic_cochran) September 30, 2019
If you’re ever feeling bad about yourself… just be thankful you don’t have Ed Sheeran’s tattoos pic.twitter.com/3DH9qT2LG1
— Thor ⚡️ (@fckyoutom) September 30, 2019
In an interview with The Mirror, Paul said that while he doesn’t think many of the tattoos are particularly great, they are special to Sheeran.
I agree with most of [the comments], his tattoos aren’t very good.
And I take the piss out of Ed all the time, when I’m with him, that they are sh*t. They are! But every single thing that he’s got is personal to him.
One example Paul referred to is a tattoo of Pingu the penguin, which both Sheeran and Harry Styles had done because they liked the cartoon as children. The artist pointed out that ‘it does look sh*t but it’s what they wanted, it’s a personal memory and it means something to them.’
Paul went on to say he’s lost clients as a result of the work he’s done on the Shape of You singer as the well-publicised creations didn’t reflect the type he was known for.
Paul explained he’s ‘the artist known for Ed’s tattoos but I only do the main bits’, as he explained a number of the 28-year-old’s tattoos are done by his ‘manager’s mate’ – though that doesn’t stop the artist ‘getting the blame for them’.
Commenting on how working with Sheeran affected his career, he said:
It definitely changed things, I was a big massive artist doing 3D-work and winning multi awards [sic]. And then all of a sudden you end up doing Pingu the Penguin and f*cking gingerbread men on popstars.
And all that client base just dies off.
Everybody just thought I was sh*t but I’m not. I do great realism work, that’s what I won awards for.
However, he made clear he has no regrets about his decisions, adding ‘it’s changed my life and opened amazing doors for me to do great things’.
The 41-year-old tattoo artist decided to speak out about his tattoos after the Victoria and Albert Museum announced it would be featuring a limited edition Heinz ketchup bottle inspired by the star’s tattoos; news which prompted many social media users to criticise Paul’s work.
One person took to Twitter, writing:
Ed Sheeran’s tattoo artist should be jailed for life for criminal negligence.
Ed Sheeran’s tattoo artist should be jailed for life for criminal negligence pic.twitter.com/wq84EzWxOF
— Thadeous J Metropolis (@masiavelli) September 28, 2019
Rather than focusing on the negative comments, however, the artist is spending his time focusing on tackling knife crime – when he’s not tattooing, that is.
The 41-year-old, of Melbourne, Derbyshire, has been visiting schools and prisons to highlight the dangers of knife crime and has sold one of the limited edition Heinz bottles for £2,000 to help fund his project.
The tattoo artist has recently taken to Twitter to say some of his direct quotes regarding Sheeran aren’t true, as he shared the Mirror’s post and wrote ‘Well half of this is not true some of it is stretching truths and a little bit is ok [sic]’. However, he has not specified which aspects of the story he disagrees with.
Well half of this is not true some of it is stretching truths and a little bit is ok 😂 https://t.co/11xSsrYPUE
— Kevin Paul Tattoo (@kp_est78) October 2, 2019
Many people have been standing up for both Paul and Sheeran on social media as insults started appearing, pointing out the singer’s tattoos are personal and meaningful to him.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.