Viral tattoo FAIL star no more!

I promise I won’t make a habit of reposting viral images, but I thought this one was worth it. Scott Versago, tattoo artist at Akron’s Empire Ink (, got to “tackle the official #1 worst portrait tattoo in the world”.


I don’t know if I’d agree that it’s the #1 worst — I’ve seen some scary portraits — but there’s no denying that this tattoo was terrible enough to make nearly every blog post cataloging portrait tattoo calamities, to the point where it’s one of the world’s most famous tattoos. As Scott says, “I’m sure you’ve all seen it a million times online, as had I.” He continues,

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when this guy walked in and showed me this project. I think my jaw literally hit the floor. He went on to tell me the story behind the portrait; He had just married his beautiful wife and not even three months afterwards she was killed in a horrible house fire accident leaving him to raise their three children alone. Shortly after he went to a local tattoo studio to memorialize his wife and was left with this abomination. He later returned to that studio for one more session, thinking that perhaps “he had done something wrong in the healing of the tattoo” and they butchered it even more the second time. Touched by his story, I gifted the entire project to him for free. Now he has closure and I have an amazing story to add to my portfolio!”

The story really puts a guilt-trip on all the posts torturing this guy, don’t they? But it is wonderful to hear the story, and it’s made even more wonderful when you see the salvation that Scott Versago provided. Click for a larger look at this absolutely beautiful proof that even hilariously bad tattoos can be saved with a rework by a talented artist.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

10 thoughts on “Viral tattoo FAIL star no more!

  1. I really can’t believe how beautifully this turned out. Glad to see this tattoo has a happy ending.

  2. if you guys, see the work of jean paul zilli, brazilian tattoo artist, you will change your mind of “crap tattoos”

    check out zilli tattoo on google and vomit!

  3. shocking this person is a scratcher and needs to get his eyes tested,there is no resemblence to the photo .

  4. Scott should be proud of himself – both for the beautiful tattoo that really captures the lady’s lovely smile & for the gesture of fixing a scratcher’s fuck up for free. It’s nice to know there are decent people in the world!

  5. I’ve seen this tat EVERYWHERE and always wondered what the story is. Love the new one..truly beautiful. God bless that man and his children.

  6. I remember seeing this abomination on a “worst tattoos” page on facebook awhile ago. I read the story and felt really bad for the guy. I am very happy to see it has been beautifully recreated. Great job.

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