If you’re looking to take your relationship to the next level, a tattoo solidifying love and devotion might be for you – or maybe not. Just ask Miami Ink star Chris Garver.
Known for specializing in Japanese and black and gray tattooing, the former reality star has seen his fair share of couples’ ink commitments gone wrong.
“I've been tattooing for 29 years and have done 153 name cover-ups,” says Chris, who is currently based in New York City. “Considering that I have done only 52 names, other than children’s’ names, I would have to say that’s a very bad track record.”
In celebration of W Hotels of New York’s new In-House Tattoo Artist Series – which allows guests to skip multi-year wait lines to get inked by the most coveted professionals – we chatted up the tat master.
Read on to uncover Chris' most outrageous encounters, the most romantic art he’s completed and the mistakes he says to avoid when mixing love and ink.
Personal Space: What's the craziest or most outrageous tattoo a romantic couple came in to get?
Chris Garver: One of the most memorable romantic tattoos I've ever done was on Evel Knievel and his wife Krystal. We had an Evel Knievel pinball in the shop and when he walked in he said, "You know who the f**k I am? My face is on that pinball machine! I need two things: I need to take a piss, and I need to get my wife’s name tattooed on my ass!” I showed him where the bathroom was and got ready to tattoo the buttock of my childhood hero. After I finished his tattoo, I applied his name to the derriere of his lovely wife. I think Evel was 67 or 68 years old at that time, and I think it’s always romantic when people get each others’ names – especially since it was his first and only tattoo.
PS: What are the biggest mistakes couples make when getting matching tattoos?
CG: I think the biggest mistake when getting a couples tattoo is to get something that is ugly or looks incomplete without the other tattoo. Most relationships don't last as long as a tattoo. Don't get anything too big, either.
PS: What are other mistakes people make when putting someone's name on himself or herself?
CG: I've seen people get the names of someone who doesn't love them as much as they do. Sometimes this can really backfire and be the catalyst for a breakup.
PS: Instead of names, what do you suggest? Or do you think people should just go all out and commit names to their skin?
CG: Use your imagination. Maybe there is something special you share as a couple and can express your love with a picture or symbol.
PS: What are some examples of tattoos you've completed to cover up names?
CG: Tattoos that have a lot of lines and heavy black shading cover up name tattoos really well. I like to do dark roses, and snakes and such.
PS: Do you have a significant others' name tattooed on yourself?
CG: I never got anyone’s name tattooed on me because I prefer to express my love in other ways than with tattoos. My favorite tattoos are of a more decorative nature than a sentimental one.
PS: What's the most romantic tattoo you ever completed?
CG: I tattooed "Daddy's Home" above a girls butt crack the day before her boyfriend got out of prison. I thought it was a super trashy, romantic tattoo.
PS: Where’s the most romantic place on the body to get tattooed?
CG: I think above the heart is probably the most romantic place to get a tattoo.
PS: What's the latest tattoo trend these days?
CG: I've been asked about what the latest trends in tattooing are for the last 20 years. Tattoos are permanent, so getting the hot style now can make you look like a fashion victim later on. Choose wisely, and be true to yourself.
Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.