Renowned tattoo artist Ami James became a household name, thanks to the groundbreaking series "Miami Ink," which debuted in 2005. As the first tattoo artist to gain such celebrity, James gave us an inside look into the tattoo culture on the hot streets of South Beach. After taking the industry by storm in Miami, the sharp-tongued, quick-tempered James brings his talents to the Big Apple this summer with "NY Ink" (Thursdays at 10pm on TLC). Click through this slideshow to see James's take on some of the most talked about celebrity tattoos.
Jennifer Aniston was recently spotted in NYC showing off her very first tattoo: the name "Norman" on the inside of her right foot. The fresh ink is a tribute to the 42-year-old actress's dog Norman, a Welsh corgi-terrier mix that passed away in May at 15 years old. "Memorial tattoos are a serious and often necessary thing, but Jennifer chose one of the worst places of all time to get it," says "NY Ink's" Ami James. "The foot is consistently being exposed to the elements, naturally exfoliating itself and being exposed to constant friction. Even a good tattoo will not withstand that for much time at all," the expert tattoo artist explains. "Jennifer will be lucky if that tattoo looks decent for even a few months."
The tattoos on Angelina Jolie's upper left arm show the map coordinates for the birthplaces of her children. The tats have been inscribed in the same spot where a tribute to the 36-year-old actress's ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton once lay. His name, along with a Chinese dragon, were surgically removed after the pair divorced in 2003. "Tattoos last a lot longer than most romances," James says. "Thank god for laser."
Newly engaged couple Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald wasted no time getting matching tattoos. After a two-month-long whirlwind romance, the "Twilight" actress and her "American Idol" alum beau inked each others' first names on their respective right-hand ring fingers. "I think when you have thought and effort, added with good taste, even the most simple tattoo concepts can be turned into something really nice," James says of the duo's expression of love.
Songstress Rihanna sports a Pisces symbol tattoo behind her right ear. "A fine line runs between a job stopper and something you can pull off in this location. A lot of clients do not take into consideration when they see a trendy tattoo location and how something of this nature can change your future prospects forever. I obviously do not support tattoo prejudice, but that doesn't mean it does not exist," James explains. "With a tattoo like this, something as simple as pushing your hair behind your ears in an interview may lose you a job to competition. Rihanna pulls it off, but then again, I doubt she will be looking for a job anytime soon either."
"Heroes" starlet Hayden Panettiere is often pictured showing off the tattoo she has running down the left side of her back, despite it being misspelled. In full, it reads, "Vivere senza rimipianti," which is meant to be "to live without regrets" in Italian. Unfortunately for the 21-year-old actress, her tattoo reads "rimipianti" instead of "rimpianti," adding an extra "i." "She got the wrong person for the job," James says. "A reputable shop double checks spelling." Although initially horrified about the misspelling, Panettiere says she is proud of her tattoo and wants to "live up to what it means."
How many tattoos does rapper Lil Wayne have? We're betting that Lil Wayne himself isn't able to answer that question. "I seriously doubt Lil Wayne put the thought necessary into any of his tattoos, especially the ones on his face," says James. "He went from very little to being tattooed everywhere in about a year."
Johnny Depp is another celebrity who's a fanatic lover of tattoos, having numerous tats all over his body. From dedications to his children (Jack and Lily-Rose) and ancestral heritage (Cherokee Indian) to even the ink he had altered (Wino Forever) after he broke up with actress Winona Ryder, Depp's tattoos seem to suit him. "Johnny Depp looks like he earned his tattoos with a mug of wine from some old pirates," James observes. "But somehow he still manages to make them look cool."
Pamela Anderson rocks a barbed-wire armband tattoo on her left bicep. James doubts that there's much meaning behind Anderson's tat, saying, "The overly trendy, everyone-has-to-have tattoo began its career as the armband, then it moved to the lower back, and now it is working its way back up again." The tattoo artist advises, "Tattoos should be about individuality, not what's hot, because it may not be for long."