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In our ongoing series with East Side Ink, we've learned about co-owner and tattooer Josh Lord's early days in the New York City tattoo scene and some of the folks he looked up to while coming into his own, but now it's time to look at some of the more head-turning clients who call East Side Ink their tattoo home.
Lord has completed several large pieces on Scarlett Johansson, who orchestrated a "tattoo party" when her co-stars in The Avengers decided to commemorate their time together with a permanent memento. He got to work designing a special custom tattoo for the lead actors who then coordinated a date and time to come in to the shop and get to it. In addition to putting tattoos on the actors, Lord also received his very own when the machine was turned back on him and each star took turns tracing one line of the small piece on the tattooer's leg.
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This is absolutely my Favorite tattoo I’ve had the honor of receiving!!!! Each line done by a different original Avenger! With respect to @callmecorvine @cheopark and @jessmachete who’s tattoos I also love. Still riding high on this Marvel high. Thank you all for being patient with me during this brief beautiful moment in time. When I was young often comics and books where my only friends. like many of you (old enough) I grew up reading the Avengers. Please imagine how special this was for me. @robertdowneyjr @renner4real @chrishemsworth #scarlettjohansson #chrisevans special credit to the unsung Avenger @jimmy_rich plus background help from @callmecorvine and @colinjost thank you all so much. Plus, although I love tribute tattoos, I will never again do their original avengers tattoo. But I will happily duplicate their tattoo on me to anyone who wants it! also, east side ink unicorns of death limited issue t-shirts available at @eastsideinktattoo now!! (As worn by all the OG avengers (mostly) @marvel @avengers #unicornsofdeath #ironman #hawkeye #blackwidow #thor #captainamerica #tracer @4tus and #gunsnroses there in hat form.
Fun was had by all, and at least one customer was especially happy with the work: Chris Hemsworth has been back to Lord since for larger pieces, becoming somewhat of a regular like Johansson. Only Mark Ruffalo has yet to receive his ink, but read about his funny meeting with Lord on the red carpet that led to some spilled vodka and a germophobe's nightmare.
In the following interview Lord recounts what it was like tattooing the Avengers, and reveals the hidden meaning to the custom tattoo that they all wear.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS OF COMING UP WITH THE DESIGN FOR THE AVENGERS?
JOSH LORD The Avengers tattoo was so much fun, but also there's a lot of pressure because I'm a huge fan and so getting to do and design, let me just say that getting six of the most famous people in the film industry to agree on one design was difficult, was trying, but you gave me parameters that included delicate enough for the ladies — and Chris Hemsworth — and masculine enough for everybody else.
Okay, so people have already speculated about this on the Internet, but I'll just tell you: there's a symbol for everybody in the movie hidden in there. Their initials are also all hidden in there. That's all I'll say. I think they've [fans] actually figured out most of them. I've seen diagrams and charts and things, and people nailed them and actually came up with a couple that were cooler than my original idea.
But yeah, they were so much fun to work with … Everyone was involved in the creative process. Everyone wanted something to commemorate their time together, their characters.
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Tattooing the ridiculously good looking Chris Hemsworth! As you can see, just like the mighty Thor, he is totally immune to pain. @chrishemsworth as charming as he is handsome. #chrishemsworth #thor #avengers #originalavengers #strongestavenger #thortattoo #avengersinfinitywar #godofthunder #marvelavengers #marvelthor #mib4 #avengerstattoo #larrylieber #stanlee #jackkirby #original6 #mjolnir @eastsideinktattoo
LET'S GO THROUGH EACH OF THE AVENGERS AND YOU CAN GIVE A SHORT SYNOPSIS OF HOW THEY HANDLED THE TATTOO. HOW WAS CHRIS HEMSWORTH?
Chris Hemsworth was just the funniest. I mean, to be fair, I'm sure he is super tough in real life. He also got hazed the most by the other cast members while he was getting it. And I should say in his defense, although I am remarkably macho and tough myself, his tattoo really hurt. [Laughs] He just went for the bone. He dug in there. My leg was shaking for the first time — it was pretty … painful. So thanks, Chris!
HOW WAS ROBERT DOWNEY, JR?
I have never met anybody that has impressed me more in a brief amount of time. That guy is in constant action and control, and really, really cares about the people around him. He's just a brilliant, wildly charming person and an average tattooer. [Laughs] But really, he put his time and effort into that line.
DIDN'T YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HOW HE IS ACTUALLY THE MOST LIKE HIS CHARACTER, TONY STARK?
Oh, yeah! I mean, when you meet famous people and then watch them act, it's hard to not just think of them as the people that you know, but their casting for that? Come on, the Avengers — they're almost all those people. Not that they're all brutal warriors, but the characters that they play are perfectly, perfectly cast.
AND HOW ABOUT CHRIS EVANS?
So Chris Evans — he did not get to go. He was here at the time because he was doing a play … He and Scarlett came to the shop here at East Side Ink, and he got his tattoo first before the "party." He actually has continued to come back for more tattoos. We are now going to start on a whole big new chest piece for him, which I probably should wait for him to reveal the details, but I'm very excited. He's got a really cool idea that I can't wait to do.
YOU HAVE HISTORY WITH SCARLETT JOHANSSON. SHE INSTIGATED THE AVENGERS TATTOO IDEA RIGHT?
Ah, yes. So Scarlett really, she was the person who introduced me to the rest of them. I owe this whole connection with the Avengers to her, and she got gotten extensive tattoos, a lot more than people think she has. She has done her whole back — big piece — both ribs, and a wrist over the course of a few years. She's wonderful. I can't say enough kind, good things about her. She's brilliant and I consider her a dear friend.
HOW DID JEREMY RENNER HANDLE SITTING FOR THE TATTOO?
Jeremy Renner is a machine, man. He doesn't even seem like a normal human. He can kind of do anything, first of all, or will do anything, and by that I don't mean stupid things. He's doing a band right now and is a singer on stage doing these crazy shows all over, and before that he was doing some sports he'd never done before. Out of everyone, that guy's the toughest. He's a force to be reckoned with.