Want to give your passport an awesome makeover? Then why not have artist Leonard Combier turn it into a badass tattooed passport!
French illustrator and artist Leonard Combier has a unique medium in which he specializes, he tattoos peoples passports! The Berlin based artist began his passport tattooing while sitting in a classroom; “I was in a boring class, with nothing to draw on. I asked a friend if I could draw on his passport, and he said ‘Yes’. The result was better than expected, so I drew on more,”
Combier calls his creations 'tattoos' as he sees passports as the 'skin' he works on, a living document and universal certificate of identity. Filled with crazy designs like aliens, ghouls and abstract portraits Combier's passport creations are certainly something different.
“I really like the idea of having my drawings on the most official document of someone I don’t know,”
Using a thick ink pen Combier spends a day creating each passport and bases his work off of outsider tribal art and chaotic abstract works. Personalized like no other passport will be, the work of Combier has become a rather sought after product. His canvases and drawings are also in high demand and have sold for almost $5000!! Yet it is with his passports where his heart and passion lies.
If you're thinking of getting your own passport pimped by Combier then you'll have to make sure it's in date. For Combier the enjoyment of his work is that it is carried with people for almost a decade! “I’ve received many requests asking me to draw on expired passports, but I’ve always declined. “For me, it’s very nice to know that the owner of the passport will have my drawing within reach for 10 years (while the passport is valid). It’s a bit like a tattoo.”
Of course there are questions of the passports integrity and whether it is still usable after it has been tattooed. According to the US Customs and Border Protection “any document that has been altered, mutilated or otherwise changed by someone other than a government authority is not valid for travel into the United States,”. Although all Combier has heard is compliments and interest.
“Border patrol officers have questioned the passports, but not in the way that you’d expect,” he says. “First, they think it’s printed on the passport. When they realize it’s hand-drawn, they ask who did it, and then they say that they really like it.”
What do you think of Combier's tattooed passports? Would it be something you'd consider or would you rather keep the tattoos for your skin...