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Blackout tattoo trend has people covering bodies in solid ink

Blackout tattoos went from a last-ditch effort to cover an unwanted mark, to a veritable fashion trend.
/ Source: TODAY

Americans spend $1.65 billion on tattoos annually, according to the Pew Research Center. So it's safe to say this increasingly popular body art is keeping the tattoo industry "in the black" — and now, quite literally!

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People are shading in large parts of their body with pitch black ink, a technique that was once used as an alternative to laser tattoo removal to correct an unwanted mark.

But these deep, dark-pigmented designs aren't just being used to cover up a mistake — they've become a trend in their own right. And like most unique style choices, it's garnering quite a bit of attention from all sides.

After raking up more than 1,000 tags on Instagram and sparking conversation on Twitter, the "mistake correcting" move became an artistic statement in and of itself.

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For example, take Latvian tattoo model, Monami Frost.

She has a blackout tattoo on one of her arms with the only "exposed" areas of her skin creating portraits of young Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking's faces.

She says she loves how appealing the "all-black" look is and in fact, did not want to part with the tattoos she had on her arm before getting the blackout.

"The more the better," the self-proclaimed "tatted mom" told her nearly 250,000 YouTube subscribers.

"So that's why I thought I should just cover all of the old stuff. Not because I wanted to cover it up, but because it would look amazing," she continued.

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Tattoo artist, Chester Lee from Singapore also has a large social media following and often creates blackout tattoos.

"I do this because ... it has no boundaries," Lee told TODAY. "I can play it along with contours of the body [to] amplify certain portions." he explained.

But be warned: This is no quick project. Frost said her full black sleeve took multiple five and six hour sessions that were "not too painful."

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While it may take time (and perhaps a bit more pain than Frost admits), Lee said it's about embracing and appreciating all forms of art.

"[At the] end of the day, we are searching for different forms of art. Chasing down that line lead me to this," he said.