David Beckham's Tattoos
David Beckham's Body Art
Soccer star David Beckham is known as much for his fashion sense and tattoos as he is for his abilities on the playing field. After his start with Manchester United in the UK, Beckham then went to play for Real Madrid before signing a contract to play in the US for Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy team. After a "timeshare" deal which had him splitting his time between the LA Galaxy and AC Milan in Italy, Beckham is now retired from playing soccer. One of his new ventures is a restaurant in London.
However, no matter what this sports star does, the talk always comes back to his tattoos. With rare exception, in US sports the big endorsements and outside deals tend not to go to the guy with the largest tattoo collection, but with Beckham, it's almost like the opposite has happened. He's even had some friction with his tattoo artist over his body art being made the feature of some ad campaigns.
The majority of Beckham’s tattoos have been done by Manchester tattooist Louis Malloy, one of the most prominent in the UK. Malloy has said he talks no more or less with his famous client about his art as he does any other customer, preferring to discuss the technical details of the design, allowing the client to keep their own motivations for the design private. Aside from the time that Beckham paid for the tattoo artist’s airfare to Madrid, Spain to do the winged cross on his neck, Malloy has said he charges the same to David as he would any other customer.
David and his Tattoos
David Beckham's Back and Chest Tattoos
Beckham has kept his ink on the upper half of his body, adding to his back, ribs, and chest over the years. So far the collection includes:
- Brooklyn: the name of his first-born son runs across his lower back.
- Romeo: the name of his second son sits just below the base of his neck.
- Cruz: the name of his third son is placed just below the winged figure.
- Guardian Angel: this is how Beckham has described the figure with arms outstretched that sits between his shoulder blades. This tattoo was later expanded to include larger wings.
- Winged Cross: Beckham was in the midst of the 2004 UEFA Championships when he had his UK tattooist, Louis Malloy, flown in to do this piece on the back of his neck. The British fans' reactions were a bit mixed, with some saying this tattoo and his shaved head made Beckham look like a hooligan.
- Chinese Characters: this one was revealed March '08, coming close on the heels of the full left forearm he had done in early 2008. Sources say the tattoo seen running down the left side of his torso on his ribs is Mandarin Chinese and reads 'Death and life have determined appointments, Riches, and honors depends upon heaven.’ The work was done in Hong Kong as the LA Galaxy did some pre-season appearances.
- Jesus on the way to the cross: revealed in January 2010, this piece on Beck's lower right ribs is inspired by the painting "The Man Of Sorrows" by Matthew R. Brooks. It was spotted when Beckham took off his shirt following a soccer match.
- Jesus and cherubs: The latest piece of ink (debuted early 2011) was something David got in LA from artist Mark Mahoney. The portrait of Jesus is styled to look like Beckham himself (sans ink) and shows him being lifted from his tomb by three cherubs which are representations of the three Beckham boys.
- Harper: You didn't think David wouldn't get a tattoo in honor of his new baby girl, did you? When the little lady learns to read, she'll be able to read her name tattooed at the base of her Daddy's throat just over his heart.
David's Left Arm TattoosClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Left Arm
David Beckham's left arm has a lot of designs that seem to focus on his wife and his personal life. Wife Victoria, also known as former Spice Girl "Posh Spice," was commemorated with the rendition of her name in Hindi script. Interestingly, some have claimed that this tattoo has a misspelling in it, noted as the inclusion of an "h."
Below that tattoo is a phrase in Latin. "Ut Amem Et Foveam" translates as "so that I love and cherish." A Hebrew phrase has also been added above his wife's name. A symbol of indeterminate meaning is on the inside of that wrist as well
In January '08, Becks got a brand-new tattoo of his wife, Victoria. It's a reproduction of a Brigitte Bardot-like pose that was taken for Pop Magazine back in 2004 and it covers the entire outside of his left forearm. A variety of sources report this is David's favorite picture of her. The tattoo has some stars around it, and the phrases "Forever by your side" and "'Til death do us part."
In December 2008, a new cherub was seen on the inside of his left upper arm, which balances against another cherub on the right arm in the same spot. The Hebrew saying "My son, do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart" was also added.
In July 2009 during an appearance on the US Today Show, a ring of ten roses was seen going around the lower bicep. This piece of ink is said to mark the Beckham's tenth wedding anniversary.
March 2010 - After a game in Rome, Italy, a new piece was visible at the top of his left arm, bringing the growing sleeve almost right up to the top of his shoulder. It's a Renaissance image of Cupid carrying his wife Psyche up to heaven. One small alteration of the 15th-century image was made: a scarf drapes delicately over Psyche, covering her otherwise-bare body.
October 2011 - Victoria herself broke the news on David's latest piece of ink, tweeting an absolutely adorable picture of the word "Love" tattooed on the back of her husband's left hand, while new baby daughter Harper's fingers can be seen clutching one of his. It would seem the word applies to the whole family's feelings in general.
More on Beckham's Tattoos
David's Right Arm and Hand TattoosClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Right Arm and Forearm
Beckham's right arm contains a variety of designs that seem to speak of his career. There is the Roman numeral VII, as "seven" was his Manchester United number. He's also got the Latin phrase "Perfectio In Spiritu" which translates as "spiritual perfection."
His upper right arm has a large angel on it, and there are cherubs on the inside of his bicep, representing his boys.
In April 2007, Beckham had artist Malloy turn the piecework into a complete tattoo sleeve with the addition of another angel, flames and the phrase "Let them hate as long as they fear." It's interesting how many news agencies have listed the tattoo as being like the designs seen in the TV show "Prison Break" when in fact, the designs are quite different. Also, that TV show did not invent the idea of tattoo sleeves.
After many years, David "finished" his right arm. In September of 2013, he had the back of his right hand tattooed with the name "Victoria." This tattoo was in the same flourished script as the "love" tattoo that is on the back of his left hand.
Do You Think David Beckham Will Eventually Have a Full Tattooed "Shirt?"
Having slowly grown his tattoo collection from a few random pieces to full solid sleeves, David Beckham has been adding most of his new ink to his upper chest and torso. He's still keeping the imagery all black-and-white, so the pieces from over the years all flow together nicely and he's had the artwork done so that it has background fill and isn't just a collection of floating images.
Do you think he'll just keep adding more tattoos until his entire body from the waist up is solidly-covered? Do you think he'll fill in the open spaces on this back? And do you ever think he'll start to get tattoos on his legs? Or will that wait until he's retired from playing soccer?
Share your thoughts in the comment capsule below!