Artist Depicts Iconic Celebs Covered In Tattoos

Lucille Ball with a neck tat. The late Leonard Nimoy in a checkered shirt, Spock ears and a full set of ink sleeves. An iconic nude photo of Marilyn Monroe, now with full-color tattoos along most of her body. These are among the fantastic creations of Seattle-based artist Cheyenne Randall, whose site ShoppedTattoos has a bizarre and beautiful mix of recognizable celebrity images covered with Native American-inspired artwork on their bodies.

Randall told the Today Show in a recent interview that he started out hand-drawing the tattoos on magazine pages, using techniques handed down from his Lakota heritage. He writes on his website that during the summer of 2013, he had a knee injury that kept him bedridden, which was when he started the Shopped Tattoos project. He learned digital techniques and got a little more sophisticated both in what he was able to draw and what the altered images represented, he told Today:

I taught myself Photoshop and thus began a slight obsession with seeing out of pure curiosity what some of my favorite iconic personalities would look like perhaps if they were in a parallel universe or took another path in life. Really I just let my imagination run wild.

In many of his pieces, the tattoo is themed somehow to the subject. For instance boxer Muhammed Ali has a bee image on his cheek (after his famous phrase "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee").

Besides the intricacy of the drawings, Randall's work is so compelling because many of these are images we've seen many times, and we're used to seeing in a certain context. What the tattoos add is a twist that somehow changes not just the way the photos look, but their mood as well. The effect can be startling.

Randall told Today that while he thinks of himself as an "appropriation artist" in the style of Andy Warhol, he isn't seeking to profit from his tattooed takes. "it's smart to consider the hard work others have put in and to profit from that would be wrong."

Images: Getty Images; Instagram/IndianGiver (9)