How Bang Bang Mastered Floral Tattoos
On the Lower East side of Manhattan is a tattoo shop with blacked out windows and a simple sign hanging above the door like an old blacksmith’s moniker that reads “BANG BANG”. Bang Bang tattoos is the baby of Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy, a celebrity favorite that’s inked Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne, Rita Ora, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, and many others.
While McCurdy himself was “discovered” after a friend with a connection to Rihanna lied to the singer and told her that McCurdy (who then had little to no experience) was “the best tattoo artist in NYC”, McCurdy (who then tattooed Rihanna and won her over) now manages an impressive team of artists who have gained a fair bit of celebrity in their own right. One of those artists, Elizabeth Markov, also known as Lazer Liz, creates striking intricate tattoos and she’s gained quite a following her treatment of a classic subject– flowers.
Markov’s tattoos have a decidedly illustrated quality that Markov says is not an accident. “I like illustrative art, especially old school illustrations,” she told me, hinting at the beauty that makes flowers such a captivating subject for artists old and new. In the world of tattooing, detail and color tend to pack the punch, and floral tattoos– in the age of piercing and purple hair– maintain a somewhat refined mystique. Flowers are eternally beauty subjects that symbolize the grace and dignity of nature– those seeking to adorn their body with a symbol of beauty have many different varieties to choose from.
Tattooing for just eight years, Markov says that people often come to her now for botanical tattoos, but every tattoo is a conversation between client and artist about what they want, but also what Markov sees for them.
“Many people ask for that botanical style, and if it works for the idea then I’ll do it that way.
But usually I just have an idea what would fit the person best when I meet them….Flowers are beautiful in any style.”
The enduring quality and symbolism attributed to flowers across cultures also makes them ideal subjects for individuals looking to express themselves through body ink. Markov’s flower tattoos are distinctive in their variety, venturing from the traditional rose to sunflowers, hyacinths, spider mums, anemones, lilies and even a carnation– always with beautiful shading, bold color, and impressive delicacy. What’s striking about many of her botanical tattoos is that they often contain no black at all– even the lines are drawn in color, which gives each flower a three-dimension look that could not be achieved otherwise.
“I like to use black in tattoos,” Markov says of her trade, “but when I’m working on a tattoo inspired by a botanical illustration, I try to use minimal black, to keep that vintage look.”
Follow Markov’s work and join her and more than 100,000 admirers on Instagram for a look at her latest floral stylings– given the detail and skill that goes into all of her tattoos, you might even be inspired to get one yourself.