Adam is a “tattoo collector,” as he told The Daily Beast in 2015, and he often talks about his ink on social media. “At a an old friend’s tonight and my 4-year-old found my picture from a decade ago on the wall among many,” Adam tweeted in 2019. “He said he identified me by my tattoos. You know. Like a corpse.”
Read on for more on Adam’s tattoos, his tattoo muse, and his aspirations of becoming a tattoo himself!
Adam Goldberg’s arm tattoos honor his love of jazz.
In a 2015 Interview Magazine feature, Adam said that he was a “gigantic jazz fan” and that he got quotes from Art Pepper, Billie Holiday, and Chet Baker tattooed on his arms.
“I was sort of obsessed with Coltrane, David Bowie, and Elvis Costello — I had this triumvirate of music I was obsessed with as a teenager,” he added. “My mom had a boyfriend when I was 10 who was a huge jazz fan, and when I was 16, he gave me a big percentage of his record collection, which I’m staring at as we speak. It was when people were making the switch to CDs. I just went in deep.”
In fact, his love for one of those artists even had a detrimental influence on his academic record. “I like to cite the fact that I was up one night spinning Art Tatum records or something like that into the wee hours the first time I took the SATs,” he said. “I just did miserably. I also had a NyQuil problem, and I remember being very sleepy, during that particular exam. [Laughs] I underachieved quite extraordinarily on that exam.”
He says his tattoo artist, Mark Mahoney, is a “scholar of the medium.”
As he served as guest editor Magnet Magazine in 2011, Adam wrote an ode to tattoo artist Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood, Calif., explaining that Mark is the reason he has so many tattoos.
“Were it not for Mark, it simply wouldn’t be,” he added. “I wanted to own his art, and it’s the only art he sells. Brilliant, fine-line work. A scholar of the medium, of art itself, of architecture, design, clothes, music, speak and all that is cool. … Mark is a muse of mine who himself is far more talented an artist than any interpreter or documentarian could do justice.”
And Adam isn’t Mark’s only celebrity fan. The Hollywood Reporter calls Mark the “high priest of Hollywood tattoo artists,” noting that he has done ink for David Beckham, Johnny Depp, Adele, Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey. (Lana even cast Mark in two of her music videos.)
He once considered becoming a tattooist himself.
Talking to Brightest Young Things in 2018, Adam said he “went through a brief phase” of trying to learn tattooing. “And this is just incredibly ironic, because I’m a horrible drawer,” he added. “If you saw my penmanship… I mean, if I was some really important person, and my journals were left behind, it’d take some kind of code-breaking linguist to figure out what the hell I’m writing.”
The actor even talked to Mark about opening a place together before he realized that tattooing is not for him, as he said in the interview. “My wife [creative director and illustrator Roxanne Daner] is an incredible artist, but if I even trace something, and it comes out looking remotely like something that isn’t abstract expressionist, then I’m shocked.”