A Texas man walked into Texas Bob's Tattoos in Austin this week determined to get rid of a tattoo that he had come to regret—a Confederate flag.
While the use of the flag has been a hot-button issue in many circles for the 150+ years of its existence, debate over the flag reached a fever pitch in the wake of a tragic shooting that left nine people dead at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was pictured posing with a Confederate flag and a handgun, thus bringing the racist implications of the flag to the forefront of discussion.
While the meaning of the flag can be debated ad nauseam—and it has in many other outlets but won't be here—it is undeniable that one man was no longer comfortable with what the flag represented. Kelly Barr, the tattoo artist who covered the unnamed man's ink, told KVUE the story behind why his client wanted to cover his tattoo of a Confederate flag bandana wrapped around a skull's head.
"An older black lady saw him and saw the tattoo and her expression changed as she saw it," Barr told KVUE. "That seemed like it just broke his heart a little bit and he decided that day that it was time to do something about it."
So Barr did just that by blacking out the controversial flag from around the head of the skull. Now the tattoo is nothing more than an innocuous skull tattoo like the millions of other skull tattoos in the world.
The topic of covering up name tattoos or badly done tattoos comes up with a lot of regularity, but we don't often discuss the idea of covering up racist tattoos. It's certainly no secret that people get tattoos, many times when they are very young, espousing ideas that they might not hold with them for the entirety of their lives. It can be particularly painful, as it was in the case of this man who wished not to be named, to have those tattoos permanently. Barr is one of many artists that likes to help when he can.
"Stuff like this; it's a good thing to do, so I cut a deal," Barr told KVUE. "I've always cut a deal on this; Nazi stuff I'll cover up for whatever you've got in your pocket."
We like to applaud artists like Barr for their work, and we definitely tip our hat to the man who got his ink covered up. You can check out more about Barr on his website at this link.