When Harry Styles or any of the fellas in One Direction have a hankering for some fresh ink, there’s only one man they look to. That guy is U.K.-based tattoo artist Kevin Paul, and whatever image he inks on their bodies quickly becomes headline news.
Most recently, Harry premiered a number of new tats, including two zig-zags and the sign for 99 pence of British money. Additionally, he had some sayings scribbled on his arms, “Things I can” and “Things I can’t.”
“They are these tiny little bits and pieces,” Paul told MTV News about Styles’ multiple pieces of ink. “Everyone’s different, like Zayn [Malik's] got microphones and music stuff and, like, Harry has more personal things, like he has little things for his mom and all that kind of stuff. They’re all pretty different on what they have, like their ideas. He hasn’t got proper tattoos. They’re just scattered around. I think as he gets older he will want proper pieces and he’ll have all these little pieces.”
He further recalled, “The first time I tattooed [Harry], I tattooed him and Ed Sheeran at the same time. We spoke about a few things then.”
The way it usually works for Paul and his clients, including the likes of 1D, is he books some time with the person just days before to go over ideas before the pen hits the skin. “The last person I spoke to was Zayn about getting tattoos,” he teased, noting that he is mulling over the idea of an old-fashioned stereo. “That was the last time I spoke to One Direction about tattoos.”
But, sometimes the ideas get the ax from Paul before any mistakes can get made. “If I don’t think it’s going to look good I’ll tell them because it looks bad on me,” he said. “With like Harry, Harry had loads if ideas last time and it was just all random things and I told him that really think about what you’re going to have because it’s all right now when you’re 18, but like when you’re 24 or 25, what is the little squiggles on the side of your arm going to look like?
“[Zayn's tattoos are] all music related, which is a big part of his life and stuff so I don’t think he’s really going to regret that,” he added. “I always tell people to have things that are personal to them cause if you have things that are personal you are never going to regret it.”
Paul kicked-started his career years back, working with metal bands like Cradle of Filth. But, the switch of canvas is a change he’s taken in stride. The transition took place by word-of-mouth when U.K. hip-hop act Rizzle Kicks told Sheeran about his work, and from there, everyone’s wanted a piece of Paul.
“It kind of creeps up on me, to be honest. I’ve been a tattooist for 20 years and I’ve won loads of awards, I’ve done tattoo conventions, been in loads of magazines, all that,” he said. “It’s just gone really manic.”