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Some mega-fans tell us why they got David Bowie tattoos

After Lady Gaga recently commemorated the Thin White Duke with some ink, we ask some Bowie lovers what their tattoos mean to them

It’s been over a month now since David Bowie died, and the shock that many felt the world over is now settling down into a more subdued, less raw form of grief. Bowie’s death was gut wrenching for people from every walk of life, class and creed, and it’s hard to remember a time that a public figure was so universally mourned since the death of Michael Jackson or Princess Diana.

Lady Gaga recently made headlines after getting a tattoo to commemorate her extended Grammys tribute to Bowie. The tattoo – from Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover – was inked onto Gaga’s ribs and accompanied by an Instagram post that read ‘this was the image that changed my life’. As someone with a rib piece, I can tell you that Gaga genuinely loves Bowie a lot, because that tattoo would have hurt like a motherfucker. 

Of course, Gaga isn’t the only person to have come up with the bright idea to have Aladdin Sane cross-stitched onto their body with needles and blood. To find out more about what David Bowie meant to his fans, we thought we’d ask the true believers ­– the ones who commemorated his life with ink – to explain what the Thin White Duke meant to them.

Moe Foster, got her tattoo three years ago

Bowie truly and honestly means everything to me. He’s shaped who I am as an individual and an artist. If you love Bowie, you just know there’s a piece of him that lives in you. When the news of his death broke I sat and watched the celebrating Bowie tag on Snapchat and just cried – not out of sadness, but out of joy for how much love that man generated around our world.

My tattoo is of Aladdin Sane for personal reasons. My Dad always had exquisite taste in music and it was the first record he got me. I remember my young brain blossoming and forming into the weird motherfucker I am now. That album cover always had such a strong hold on me visually, emotionally and of course musically. I remember just thinking I want to grow up and be as badass and as beautiful as this strange looking man.

My Dad died after his 11-year battle with leukemia just two days prior to Bowie's passing. My two heroes went too soon. I had to face up to the fact that David Bowie wasn’t immortal and that news hit me with all the power of a freight train. I am utterly heartbroken and am still struggling to accept that this is real. I gave birth last May to a beautiful baby girl and I’m proud to say her name is Bowie. He’ll forever live on for me through her.

Melissa Dziedzic, got her Bowie tattoo two years ago

It isn’t easy for me to put my love for Bowie into words. I’ve always been an oddball, and at times growing up I’d wake up and think ‘try and be someone else today. Try to talk less so you don't embarrass yourself, agree with people even if you don't agree with their views, because it is the polite thing to do’.

When I was 14 I discovered Bowie’s music through my Dad. He taught me to be myself. If people don't like me talking loudly or being obnoxious and talkative, then they can leave. I no longer felt that I had to adapt to my surroundings- he taught me to be whoever I was, and that it was okay not to fit in the mould. He was beautifully androgynous, and I admire him so much for being himself.

I got my Aladdin Sane tattoo on my forearm by an artist in Chicago. When Bowie died, it felt like a close relative had died. Not everybody will understand that, since I have never met him. When you realize that the biggest influence in your life is no longer in the same world as you, your heart shatters. I cried. I was late for work. I just sat and cried, I couldn't believe it. I listened to Blackstar and the whole album finally made sense...he was saying goodbye to all of his fans, everybody that has been influenced by him. I escaped a few times at work to cry in my car. I got home and cried more. I have listened to the album Blackstar every day since he say he died, and I still tear up every time. His presence on this earth was a missing piece to me. I am proud to carry his picture with me everywhere that I go.

Graham Myers, got his tattoo 25 years ago 

I got my tattoo in 1991 after watching Bowie in Utrecht. I was talking to this Dutch guy up the front and he managed to get me backstage. Bowie autographed this guy’s back and mine and we went straight to a tattooist and now Bowie’s autograph is with me forever. I never saw the Dutch guy ever again and often wonder where he might be now.

I started following Bowie at the age of 13 and he inspired me throughout my life. One of my passions is cooking and I always listened to Bowie when cooking. I actually competed in Masterchef in 2009 and I used to think of Bowie when I felt uncertain and wanted to feel more creative and confident.

The day he died I played Lazarus in the car on my way to work. When I got in my colleagues were surprised that I was so happy, they didn’t realise I hadn’t heard the news. They sat me down and told me and I spent all day trying not to cry. When I got home I cried and cried. It took weeks for me to be able to listen to his music again, but now I feel lucky that I was around for most of his career. I almost believed he was immortal, like a real life superhero.