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Denver tattoo artist inks her take on the wildly popular Bernie Sanders meme

Bernie Sanders tattoo
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 11:56:43-05

DENVER — Bernie Sanders is popping up just about everywhere — memes show him on a chairlift in Aspen and on the patio of local restaurants.

Memes might be fleeting, but a tattoo is forever.

"I just don’t think all tattoos need to be the most significant profound deep thing you’ve ever thought of. Let’s be silly. I like to be silly, why not? Especially in today’s world, you find your happiness where you can," said Sam Kuhn, the artist behind a tattoo of the meme.

The tattoo is instantly recognizable, depicting the Vermont senator wearing a blue surgical mask and mittens made out of a recycled sweater.

“It’s a good, silly, little tattoo," Kuhn said. "You can’t hate it. You can not like Bernie, and that’s fine. It’s just fun."

What ended up as a viral tattoo started off as a joke. Kuhn works at Copperhead Tattoo Parlor, which is located next to a barbecue restaurant.

"My neighbors at Owlbear Barbecue asked me to print out a meme for them to put into the window," Kuhn said. "I made the joke that, 'one of y’all should get this.'"

James McFaul took a break from his job running the smoker at the barbecue joint, and in less than an hour, he had a brand new tattoo. Kuhn was so pleased with the work that she posted a picture on her Instagram account, and it took off almost immediately.

"I’m almost at 10,000 likes, which is about eight times the likes that I’ve received on any other picture," Kuhn said.

McFaul has been friends with Kuhn for about three years. She has done other tattoos for him in the past, but they continue to be surprised by the reaction of his latest tattoo.

"Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense," McFaul said. "I mean, I figured people would like it, and people would hate it, but I didn’t think it would get as much attention as it has."

When asked if he was a Bernie fan, McFaul said, " I mean, it would be a weird thing to get otherwise."

Kuhn said it's not at all political for her, but, then again, she's not one to take things too seriously.

"It’s an old guy in some mittens. Everybody is arguing in the comments in my Instagram, and it’s hilarious 'cause it’s just silly," Kuhn said. "I’m still able to draw silly stuff for a living, so I couldn’t be more stoked."

She said most of the comments have been positive, and she's already received a few requests from others who want the Bernie meme to live on with their own tattoos.

“Oh, it’s a great tattoo," McFaul said.

Although, you could say he's feeling the 'Bern,' McFaul wonders what Sanders himself would think of the new ink.

"What did he say? He was like, 'I’m happy that we know they make good mittens in Vermont,' or something like that — that’s pretty cool," McFaul said. "Well now they know we make good tattoos in Denver."

This story was originally published by Liz Gelardi on KMGH in Denver.