Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Though the world of teenyboppers is not Rakewell’s usual stomping ground, he was pleased to read that singer-songwriter sensation Ed Sheeran has become the latest musical star to dip a toe into the murky waters of contemporary art. Sheeran recently revealed that he is a pal of Damien Hirst, telling the Sun on Sunday that he had come up with the cover art for his latest album in the ageing YBA’s studio. ‘He just left me in there with a load of paint and I just threw it on this spin machine and created my album cover’, he said.
But the fruits of the Hirst/Sheeran love-in do not stop there. Hirst, Sheeran says, has designed a custom tattoo for him. ‘Damien has drawn my next tattoo so I’m going to get that done’, the popster explained. ‘It’s a skull, it’s very cool.’
Sheeran may well be on to something. In 2015, Hamburg’s Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe staged a major exhibition recounting the history of tattoo art. Writing in the Guardian, critic Jonathan Jones praised the show for highlighting this much maligned but ‘rich and sensual body art’. ‘So get a tattoo,’ he wrote, ‘if you want to be part of a great artistic tradition that goes back to the stone age.’
Whether Jones envisaged this particular union of cultural colossi, the Rake knows not. As for Sheeran, he is faced with another problem entirely: to wit, finding a space for Damo’s new doodle on his already heavily inked physique. ‘I’ve got way more than 60 tattoos so I don’t know where it will go yet,’ he admitted.