At least four people have gotten them in the last few months. Greg Caggiano, the artist behind the tattoos, is expecting more.
Caggiano tattoos at Atomic Roc in Rochester. The shop is co-owned by Laura Marie Wachholder, winner of the latest edition of the Ink Master reality show.
Rochester resident Joe Tash was Caggiano’s first taker. He got a Danny Wegman face in black metal “corpse paint” on his leg about three months ago.
He followed that up earlier this week with a Wegmans black metal logo over the face and “Füd you feel grim about” underneath. The slogan is a variation of the “Food you feel good about” line Wegmans uses on its store-brand products.
A third friend got Wegmans’ Butter Boy in corpse paint and “Every day you get our okayest” on her leg. That phrase is a play on the “Every day you get our best” Wegmans slogan.
A fourth “acolyte” got tattooed with a black metal twist on the Wegmans dish and utensil logo, Caggiano said.
“We are amazed at the lengths to which our customers will go to show their love for Wegmans,” company spokeswoman Jo Natale said in an email.
Exactly how Caggiano mashed up a love of black metal music with a love of Wegmans involves a Facebook group that started as a bit of a joke.
Titled Danny Wegman’s Memes You Can Feel Good About, it launched two years ago as a place for popular internet memes to take on a Wegmans-related flare. It was started by the friend of Caggiano’s with the Butter Boy tattoo, who goes by the internet handle Stormy Storms.
The group was meant to be funny. And there is definitely a tongue-in-cheek attitude about all this. But Caggiano, Storms and Tash all say the Wegmans love is real.
"That's the thing is, we're huge fans," said Caggiano, who is originally from Chittenango and has been tattooing for about nine years. "I go there every chance I can get."
The meme group exploded in popularity and now has over 8,000 members. Wegmans-related posts of all types abound.
Some denizens of the group were also fans of black metal, which Caggiano and Storms said has a big presence on the Rochester music scene. A subgenre of heavy metal music, bands in the style often focus on creating an atmosphere of dread with their songs and performances.
That sometimes involves appearing in a style of face paint known as corpse paint. Enter corpse paint Danny Wegman.
Caggiano created the Wegman image and the black metal Wegmans logo earlier this year as part of a T-shirt meant to resemble one a band might sell for a tour. Wegmans store locations appeared in place of concert dates on the back.
An image of the planned shirt appeared in the memes Facebook group and Wegmans soon sent a cease-and-desist letter. The shirt was never actually produced.
The tattoos using its imagery represent some loving rebellion, said Caggiano, who went to college at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
"You can take the black metal out of Wegmans, but you can't take it out of people's hearts," he said.
Tash is quick to acknowledge the humor. That’s partially the point. A friend has told him the tattoo is stupid several times and Tash doesn’t disagree.
He first saw the Danny Wegman image on a sticker Caggiano made for Atomic Roc. He decided it would look great on his leg.
Tattoos can certainly be serious, said Tash, who grew up in Rochester and now works as a house painter. They can just as easily be silly or goofy or weird.
"I know it's ridiculous," she said. "That's part of why I love it. It's a really great conversation starter."
But there's pride involved in these tattoos as well. Wegmans is deeply engrained in Rochester culture and is a real part of regional identity, said Storms, who got her Butter Boy earlier this week.
Tash's friend Caleb got the black metal Wegmans logo on his stomach in early September. He didn't want to give his last name, but said he's originally from the Rochester area and now stationed in Hawaii with the Army.
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“I’ve been all over the country and there’s no grocery store like Wegmans,” he said. “I love my city. I love my hometown.”
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