Lately, most people have heard about the new back additions for both Adam Levine and Ben Affleck. As Levine is more heavily inked, the newest tattoo didn't come as a huge shock to the general public, but it's initial appearance did get criticized. Comparatively, Affleck has gone under a lot of scrutiny for his new back tattoo. Why are these two men getting so much criticism and is it worth it?
Most of the general public has heard about the notorious split between Affleck and his ex, Jennifer Garner, who happens to be America's sweetheart. When news broke of their official split and rumors circled about Affleck's extramarital affairs, many people ran to Garner's side, looking to support her in any way they could. About a month after the divorce papers were signed, Affleck was caught on the set of his new movie, "Live by Night," with a massive phoenix tattoo on his back. The tattoo got a lot of media attention with several publications speculating that the tattoo was a sign Ben was going through a mid-life crisis.
"Several publications speculated that the tattoo was a sign Ben was going through a mid-life crisis."
An opinionated matter
Both of his well-known ex's named Jennifer were asked about the tattoo. Garner, who discussed her 10-year marriage in depth with Vanity Fair, poked fun at it.
"You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.'" Garner told the publication in its March 2016 issue. "A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?" She winked. "I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes."
Jennifer Lopez, who dated Affleck prior to the couple's marriage, also commented on the tattoo in a more blunt way to Andy Cohen.
Lopez was more direct in her criticism: "It's awful! I mean, I would tell him that," the singer told Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live." "I would tell him, like, what are you doing? It has too many colors. His tattoos always had too many colors. They shouldn't be so colorful. You know what I mean? They should be like, cooler."
Yet Affleck isn't the only one who's gotten a lot of flack for his back. Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine has too.
Around the same time Affleck revealed his massive tattoo, Levine decided to show his off on Instagram. Levine's tattoo is also – interesting – for lack of a better word. Levine posted a photo of his tattoo that took six months to create, which is a mermaid angel surrounded by waves and religious icons. While the general public and media didn't have excitement over Levine's tattoo, with one publication's article reading, "Adam Levine's New Back Tattoo Is Worse Than Maroon 5," the singer was thrilled, according to Instagram.
"6 months in the making. Thanks @bryanrandolph for absolutely blowing my mind with this one! Woooo hooooo!!!!" Levine noted on the social media platform.
Of course, Levine and Affleck aren't the first celebrities to get large back tattoos. Some celebrities like Tom Hardy come onto the scene already with plenty of tattoos. Others like David Beckham and Justin Bieber choose to fearlessly get more. Yet while Affleck and Levine may have gotten a lot of negative publicity from their choice in ink designs, back tattoos are some of the easiest to cover up. They also are very complex and can potentially be works of art.
Adam Suerte, co-founder and co-owner of Brooklyn Tattoo, told Today.com that the back is essentially like a blank canvas that also happens to be one of the flattest parts of the body. As Affleck and Levine clearly showed, you can get a large image or several images comprised into one to tell a story. However, based on the aforementioned criticism, the media suspects that both of these celebrities stories aren't worth telling.
"A detailed allegory, say from the Bible, or a montage of events, maybe depicting experiences in someone's life, a series of portraits of loved ones, a famous master's painting the subject matter is really endless on the back," Suerte stated.
While a back tattoo may seem really showy, people who get this type of a tattoo often are introverts and may like to keep things out of the public eye.
"The back is easily concealable," Suerte continued. "Someone who is very introverted, shy or socially awkward can have their whole back tattooed, and no one would know. There are lawyers and doctors who have full body suits tattooed that are never revealed. There's no occasion so show a full back tattoo off, unless you want to."