Tattoo shop owner gets ink from 4-year-old daughter

- A Largo tattoo shop owner's picture is going viral. It shows his young daughter holding the needle and drawing a tattoo on his arm.

The image has gotten worldwide attention, and more than 100,000 likes, shares and comments. Though, the attention hasn't come without a little controversy.

Most children Chloe Bellomo's age just want to keep their crayons coloring inside the lines. But this 4-year-old is quite comfortable drawing her own lines.

"Draw me something cool," her dad, Brad "Bob-Tat" Bellomo, said as he handed her a paper and colored pencils.

He owns 3rd Eye Tattoo on Walshingham Road in Largo. The walls are covered in his brightly-colored paintings. But a single ceiling tile stands out with tiny, painted hand prints. They're Chloe's.

"She had been really interested," Bellomo said. "When can I tattoo you? When can I tattoo you daddy?"

That's not a question you hear from most 4-year-olds, but her dad didn't hesitate. He started slowly, first allowing her to hold the tool with no needle. Then, testing to see if her little hands could hold the weight of the machine while safely controlling it.

In late October, he posted the picture on the 3rd Eye Tattoo Facebook page. It showed young Chloe giving her very trusting dad some brand new ink: a red and green strawberry.

It didn't take long for the buzz to travel from his shop to the rest of the world.

"It's got its little squiggles, but I can't see a 4-year-old even doing that good so I am super proud of her," Bellomo said.

Most people saw it as sweet bonding moment between dad and daughter, with a few parents sharing pictures of their own child-drawn tattoos.

But some went so far as to claim "child abuse," and even report the photo to Facebook as "graphic violence."

"It is a professional tool," Bellomo said. "But the way I was controlling the pedal as well, nothing could have gone wrong. If she were to move a different angle I didn't like, I was helping her to guide the machine."

This shaky strawberry actually has a much deeper meaning between dad and daughter.

"When we sing, 'Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?' We say, 'Have you berry wu?'" Bellomo said. "I was calling her 'Berry Wu' for a while, just because it was cute."

If you ask little Chloe, twirling around in her strawberry dress, why she drew a strawberry? She'll give you a different answer.

"Because they're yummy," Chloe laughed.

Young children can easily get under their parents' skin. As for this dad, that's the best thing she could've done.

"It was an awesome daddy-daughter moment," Bellomo said. "We say that a lot. Daddy-daughter date. We are going to go out, do this, do that, that's a real experience that she'll remember forever and I want it to be about her living and enjoying life."

As for Chloe, she hasn't committed to being a tattoo artist at the age of 4. She's happy being shop manager for now. But when she grows up, she'd like to be everything from an artist to a scientist to an astronaut.

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