Katy Perry’s Tradition of Tour Tattoos: A Story Etched in Ink


Katy Perry, the chart-topping pop sensation, has always embraced traditions, even if she once lamented the lack of them in America compared to England. In a unique practice she began in 2009, Katy Perry has consistently commemorated the conclusion of her tours and residencies with fresh ink. As the final shows of her Play residency in Las Vegas drew near, it was time for Perry to add another meaningful tattoo to her growing collection.

In an Instagram story, Perry excitedly announced, “8 more #PLAY shows left, so it’s tour tattoo time!!!!” She tagged renowned tattoo artist Liz Kim, known as @lizlizkimkim. The accompanying video showed Kim meticulously creating the new body art inside Perry’s left ring finger. Sharing Perry’s post, Kim expressed her emotions, writing, “Screaming crying puking,” in her own story. Meanwhile, another tattoo artist, Shannon Elliott, who goes by @paingardens, captured the session from a different perspective and revealed that Kim had inked Perry after her show.

Katy Perry gets a new finger tattoo in honor of her Play residency.
Katy Perry/Instagram

But it wasn’t just Katy Perry who received this particular ink. Shannon Elliott shared images of the same mushroom design tattooed on various crew members, revealing “over 50 shrooms for @katyperry and her crew.” In another story, Elliott explained that Perry has a unique tradition of getting a tattoo to commemorate every tour or residency.

The new finger tattoo marks the fifth in Perry’s collection, each representing a specific tour or residency milestone. Her first tour tattoo, a cartoon strawberry, was inked in 2009 to celebrate her debut headlining time, the Hello Katy Tour. Subsequent tour tattoos included a cartoon peppermint candy for the California Dreams Tour in 2012, a cartoon prism for the Prismatic World Tour in 2015, and a Saturn tattoo for Witness: The Tour in 2018.

Sharing her Saturn tattoo on Instagram in 2018, Perry wrote, “The end of tour tattoo tradition continues with #4 by the gentle precisionist @dr_woo. Saturn is the planet in the middle, and this journey has taught me many lessons, with a few tears. But I am happy to report a sense of real resilience as we wrap. I share this symbol with 45 other tour mates and an incredible year of memories with over 100 beautiful & kind humans and numerous gracious attendees.”

Katy Perry shows off a new finger tattoo commemorating her Play residency.
Katy Perry/Instagram

Katy Perry’s tattoo journey began long before her headlining tours. At 18, she chose to ink “Jesus” on her left wrist. Now, approaching her 39th birthday, Perry’s tattoo collection boasts at least a dozen distinctive designs, including a lotus flower, Hello Kitty’s iconic head, and “XLIX” in honor of her Super Bowl halftime show, among others. With her Play residency concluding on November 4, Perry’s tradition of tour tattoos will likely continue, mainly as she explores new music and the possibility of embarking on another future tour. Each tattoo tells a unique story and encapsulates a moment in her remarkable career, making her work musical, artistic, and deeply personal.

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