Monday, September 08, 2008

Artist Rakes in Money with Tattoos on Swine and People

A leading service among plastic surgeons is tattoo removal. It’s known as “labor intensive” because the patients must return to the plastic surgeon anywhere from two to six times and let the doc do erasing work with a laser.

Basically, the cosmetic surgeon zaps the ink in the tat with a laser. (Read more about cosmetic tattoo removal.)

But when a tattoo is considered art -- and fetches a king’s ransom -- you gotta think about leaving it on.

Wim Delvoye, a Belgian artist living in Beijing, China, started by tattooing eight pigs with designs reportedly similar to Louis Vuitton logos. (Animal lovers, chill! The porkers, shown below, were anesthetized!) A few swine were inked with Walt Disney characters.

Artist Wim Delvoye and his four-footed canvases
( photo)

After the oinkers have lived a long and productive life, the pig skins will be sold for $120,000 each. (Can you imagine -- a Louis Vuitton football? What a way to get more chicks into the NFL! Can’t you just hear the girl talk now? “They fumbled a Vuitton Beaubourg in the first quarter and then tried an on-side kick with a Mahina XXL clutch in the 4th!”)
(Read more about the tattooed pigs.)

Tattoo Removal

The following will make tattoo removal experts worldwide cringe, but Wim’s latest project was inking an elaborate tat of the Virgin Mary on the back of Tim Steiner, a 32-year-old Swiss man who is cashing in on his tattoo.

Here’s how: Wim did his usual masterful job and sold the artwork on Tim’s back to a German art collector for a cool $275,000. The cash is split among the art gallery that arranged the sale, Wim and Tim. More.

Tim Steiner, a two-legged canvas
(Paolo Foschini photo)

Then, not unlike the pigs, Tim hopefully goes on living a long and productive life. Now, I know what you’re thinking and that’s not it -- Tim does not -- repeat, NOT -- become a football!!

Plastic Surgeons Verboten

Instead, many decades from now, just before Tim is laid down for a dirt nap, the skin of his back is removed and the Virgin Mary tat becomes the sole property of the art dealer who can sell it if he wishes.

And that’s not all. Contractually, Tim must display his back in public three times yearly to art lovers worldwide.

However, plastic surgeons who know how to remove tattoos are verboten in the shows!

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