Remember the guy that tattooed Mitt Romney's logo on to his face back in 2012? His name is Eric Hartsburg. After getting paid the nice sum of $15,000 by an anonymous bidder on eBay Hartsburg had a blue and red "R" tattooed right next to his left eye. Hartsburg was not necessarily a supporter of Romney, but in a move that we're sure the Republican from Massachusetts would appreciate, the free market had its say and the rest is history. In the years since the election Hartsburg has had a few laser treatments that have faded the tattoo, but it is still quite visible. With Romney throwing around the idea of making another run for the White House we knew that we needed to check in with Hartsburg and see what this development meant for his famous tattoo and to hear first hand the story behind how he ended up with it in the first place.
Now that you have started removing the Romney tattoo from your face do you plan on continuing that process? Or have you considered getting a cover up?
Hartsburg: Hell to the naw to EVER getting another laser "treatment," man. That would be insanity. I'd much prefer a swift kick in the bollocks to what they called "treatment.” Funk that my friend. As far as covering it up I'm not really interested.
Have you considered selling the spot again? Maybe advertising for a different candidate this time around?
No, I'm not all that interested in selling or actively pursuing the option. It’s always there and I'm sure I could sell it on the publicity of the last time and make it work nicely, but I'm not really looking to wake up the echoes of the 2012 campaign. I might do it if an unbelievable offer or opportunity came about but it would have to be life changing. Right now I am more focused on trying to make a better life for me and my family than I am on getting a new tattoo. I'd really love to find my place in the entertainment world and I’m positive that there is one. Most people don't know or don't care to read that I labored away for the entertainment world in the professional wrestling business as "The International Wrestling Superstar" Erico for over 12 years. I've put in heaps of hard work; I’ve been homeless and hungry to live the dream.
If you did it all again which potential candidate would you want to support via a tattoo?
This field in my opinion is wide open and filled with interesting candidates for both parties. As of now, I'm not behind any particular person. To answer the question though, no, I can't imagine doing another political logo or anything along those lines. Unless anyone is interested in paying to tattoo my private part and advertise that way, of course. A political themed porno starring me. Who doesn't wanna see me naked? (Laughs)
What was the general reaction when you first got the Romney tattoo from friends and family?
At first most of my peeps were really suspect of the whole idea working on any thing more than a local scale. But as soon as Letterman, Kimmel and The Anderson Cooper's of the world are talking about me and limos are pulling up in the trailer park to get my silly ass they all believed (laughs). Honestly though, everyone was full of awesome about it and we all enjoyed the 15 minutes of fame. I am so very appreciative of the time and chances I got. I don't think I made enough out of them. It was really hard to be myself and have fun with a ridiculous tattoo story when I'm being asked about foreign policy or the particulars of Benghazi. I wanted to sound like I wasn't a total momo and tried to fit into the conversation when all I wanted to say was "I don't really fucking know".
What did the tattooist think when you told him what you were getting?
Well my boy and award winning tattoo artist James Robbins of Body Gallery tattoos (shameless plug) has done almost all my tattoos, including the 10 pink stars on my face so he wasn't at all surprised. I'd never trust anyone else to tattoo my face, that’s for damn sure.
How in the world did you get the idea to do this in the first place? Publicity? Curiosity to see if anyone would actually pay for you to do it?
I've always loved fucking with people and acting outrageously or wearing outrageous things. During one of our usual nonsense filled conversations this came up. My bestie Walter came up with the phrase "cranial billboarding” and we tried to sell the empty space on eBay. At first we got a few bites but they were all offers to do some racist or nasty things that I wasn't going to have on my forehead forever. The race for the White House was hot and heavy so in a stroke of what can only be called genius the Romney idea came up (laughs).
I'd love to find a way to help people coping with mental illness, loss, abuse and PTSD through my experiences. I lost my wife, Nicole a year-and-a-half ago. And I lost my son's mother, Stacey, before that. Life has been really difficult. Being a 32-year-old widower and losing everything you prepared to go through life with feels impossible—but its not.
You can follow Hartsburg and check out what he's up to on Twitter and Facebook.