A Duke's Mayo tattoo.
All photos by Dylan Lewis | Photo Editing by Ricardo Nagaoka

These People Love Mayonnaise So Much They Got It Tattooed on Their Bodies Forever

In Richmond, Virginia, Duke’s is revered as the king of all condiments—so Yellow Bird Tattoo gave out free flash in its honor.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
photos by Dylan Lewis

If you live in Richmond, Virginia, you don’t fuck with Hellman’s—not publicly, at least. Nor do you deign to eat Heinz, Kraft, whatever the hell Sir Kensington’s is, or, god forbid, Miracle Whip. If you’re having mayo, you’re having Duke’s. To even consider doing otherwise borders on sacrilege. 

Folks from Richmond have been riding hard for Duke’s for decades, partially because the company is headquartered there, and partially just because Duke’s rips. Though the mayo was created in South Carolina (where it’s still made and bottled today), it was acquired by the Richmond-based C.F. Sauer Company in 1929. It’s had a cult following in Richmond ever since—a following whose most devoted members decided, earlier this month, to consecrate their love for Duke’s permanently, in blood and ink.


On May 13, about 70 people got Duke’s tattoos at Richmond’s Yellow Bird Tattoo. Duke’s partnered with the shop to give away mayo-themed flash for free, and Yellow Bird’s artists—including Nate Streeter, Joseph Fessman, and Devonte Tejeda—drew up 47 different designs for folks to choose from. They ranged from goofy (a gravestone marked “HELLMAN’S”) to deeply tight (mayo + snake, mayo + dagger, etc.), and they all came out great.

VICE sent photographer Dylan Lewis to Yellow Bird to capture the scene, and to document a few of the best tattoos he came across. You can check out a collection of his favorite photos from the flash day below. 

Long live Duke’s. Death before Hellman’s.

Shop owner Joe Fessman in a Duke's x Yellow Bird t-shirt.

Shop owner Joe Fessman in a Duke's x Yellow Bird t-shirt.

A Duke's mayo tattoo

A quaint Duke's still life, immortalized on the back of someone's calf.

The facade of Yellow Bird tattoo.

The facade of Yellow Bird Tattoo in Richmond, replete with neon.

Yellow Bird's owner, Joe Fessman

The owner of Yellow Bird, Joe Fessman, perched before a wall of flash.

People waiting to be tattooed inside Yellow Bird

A Duke's loyalist waiting to get inked, sitting with his daughter.

A guy getting a Duke's tattoo.

A Duke's fan getting tattooed at Yellow Bird.

Yellow Bird's piercer, Ash, sitting behind the counter.

Ash, a piercer at Yellow Bird, sitting behind the counter.

A Duke's tattoo on an inner thigh.

A Duke's tattoo on an inner thigh.

A Duke's flash tattoo sheet.

All 47 Duke's flash designs.

Duke's mayo tattoo.

Atlas… Duked? Not smart or funny enough to legitimately pull off this bit.

Sweet Dyl, a tattoo artist at Yellow Bird

Sweet Dyl, a tattoo artist at Yellow Bird, ripping a cig.

Duke's tattoo

A Duke's tattoo in a particularly painful spot.

Duke's skull tattoo.

This one honestly goes hard as fuck

Duke's tattoo falsh sheet.

Hellman's… RIP

Dylan Lewis is a photographer based in Richmond, Virginia, and Athens, Georgia. Follow him on Instagram.

Drew Schwartz is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow him on Twitter.