Lil Uzi Vert recently appeared at the music festivals Summer Smash and Something In The Water with a bold new look. No, we’re not talking about his Kodak Black-esque haircut or those head-to-toe Balenciaga fits he’s posted on Instagram recently. We’re talking about those insanely detailed tattoos of a Japanese oni mask and samurai helmet that cover his entire chest and back. Uzi’s latest ink wasn’t a run-of-the-mill tattoo job. It was done by a highly specialized tattoo artist named Joaquin Ganga, who tells Complex that Uzi’s latest tattoo cost well over six figures and was an arduous task.
“The complete work lasted 16 hours, which we divided into two 8-hour sessions,” Ganga tells Complex via email. “It is certainly a long and painful process. The client has to be very focused and aware of the development that a tattoo of that size entails.”
Ganga, who runs his own tattoo studio in Los Angeles, is currently one of the most in-demand tattoo artists. Since getting his start in body art as a teenager growing up in Spain, the 30-year-old tattooist has inked everyone from Lebron James to Lil Durk—the latter bragged about how he spent $200,000 for Ganga to tattoo his thighs on the song “Federal Nightmares.” Ganga has built an impressive list of celebrity clientele because of his hyper-realistic style that doesn’t skimp on the details. Whether it’s a tattooing a portrait of Tupac for Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers or an image of Virgil Abloh throwing a kite for Drake, Ganga’s meticulous tattoos speak for themselves.
Complex emailed Ganga to learn more about Uzi’s new ink, how he became Drake’s personal tattooist during the More Life European tour, why he puts some of his clients under anesthesia to complete his most expansive tattoos, and more.