Turn your Ink on and off thanks to Bang Bang Tattoo

Commitment-phobes, now is your time to shine in a semi-healthy way.tatt

words by: Alee Kwong
Sep 17, 2022

Choosing a tattoo, especially your first one, can be daunting. You’re worried about the design, placement, if you’re going to like it next year, and if it will affect how your family and how work peers will view you. Don’t worry, I get it. It’s no easy task and requires a lot of commitment…until now.


Bang Bang Tattoo, an NYC tattoo institution preferred by the likes of Justin Bieber, Rihanna, LeBron James, and Miley Cyrus, has crafted the perfect solution for those who are afraid of having ink out 24/7 for people to see. Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy, owner of Bang Bang Tattoo Studios spoke with GQ, about their latest innovation: Magic Ink.


Recently, temporary tattoos have been making a comeback, but not in the same way we remember as kids. Temporary tattoo technology has evolved greatly, giving people the chance to have the exact look of tattoos but with the added benefit of the ink fading away in a few weeks time. Some people have even gone as far as going through the entire needle-to-skin process and only having the needle penetrate the top-most layer of the skin, allowing it to fade more rapidly than a traditional tattoo.


Bang Bang’s Magic Ink has been a project under wraps, with McCurdy releasing limited hints and details on his Instagram and strictly showing it to VIP clients. Rihanna, being the first of Bang Bang’s VIP clientele, was one of the first clients to be shown Magic Ink.


Reminiscing about his first encounter with Rihanna during his early days, McCurdy said, “I met this girl who wanted a tattoo. She wanted a little word on her hip.” He would continue to tattoo Rihanna for years to come after that serendipitous moment, and that connection would end up opening big doors for Bang Bang’s owner — getting more high-profile clients, such as Adele, Selena Gomez, and Katy Perry.


Bang has a bit of Magic Ink on himself, in the form of a small red heart on his wrist. Within only a few seconds of using a white light flashlight, he was able to make his tattoo disappear, making it reappear with a few seconds of UV light exposure. McCurdy said that Rihanna’s reaction to Magic Ink was very similar to his, which was, “What the f*ck?!”


If the name “Magic Ink” transports you back to the days of invisible ink, you aren’t totally off the mark. The idea came from a team of scientists, doctors Carson Bruns and Jesse Butterfield, at the Atlas Institute at University of Colorado.


They’ve been laying the groundwork for “tech tattoos,” a way to incorporate their love of ink with biomedical benefits. “Tattooing hasn’t changed for the most part. Some of the tools have, but the particles are just essentially soot in skin,” explained McCurdy. Bruns and Butterfield initially wanted to create a “solar freckle,” which would alert you when there was UV presence on your skin and indicate that it was time to reapply SPF. McCurdy understood and respected the original use for this technology, but also saw so much creative potential in a completely different context.


Magic Ink is not yet available to the public but has made its debut by way of NFTs. “People love tattoos, even if they don’t have tattoos. Everyone has skin; everyone has this relationship to an idea—like ‘how would I externalize what I internally feel, you know what I mean? ‘How do I do that visually that represents my style, my shape, who I am?'”


If you’re trying to get your hands on this or another NFT, but have no idea where to start, follow this easy step-by-step guide.


Photo via Bang Bang