Inked Girl: Leah Jung


Oh, the illustrated life of Inked Girl Leah Jung. When we called on her for this photographic showcase, she said she’d come to us. “Please don’t visit me,” she pleaded. “Not because I don’t like visitors, but because there’s a vicious genital-eating squirrel that lives on my porch.” Squirrels have their right to nuts, so the model-singer traveled from her hometown of Albany, NY, to New York City to show off her tattoos.

Being musically inclined, she felt right at home photographed in front of a wall of sound—the Marshall amps you see on the cover. “I absolutely love to sing,” she says. “In a scrapbook, I have a picture I drew when I was 6. In crayon it says, ‘When I grow up I want to be a singer,’ and there’s a blond stick figure on a stage with a microphone and an amplifier. I didn’t even know what an amplifier was, I just knew there were box-things on stages. It just feels good to sing. That’s what has always felt good to me.”

She also feels good when being tattooed, just another outlet and release for her energy. But like many artists who got better with age—Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Tom Waits (we await your angry letters of disagreement)—she’s decided that some of her youthful proclamations aren’t as poignant now that she’s matured. For this reason Jung is lasering off some of her back tattoos to update her catalogue. “I would have been content leaving them as I originally wanted them. However, I would prefer a nice, big, beautiful back piece.”

And when we start to protest: “Well, painter Paul Cézanne said, ‘A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art,’ and I agree. My body is an expression of myself. If I’m not expressing myself, I get painfully bored.”

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