Tiny tattoos are sophisticated and elegant, and New York-based tattoo artist JonBoy is an expert in the subject.
He has tattooed some of the most popular celebrities of our generation, like Justin Bieber, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Zayn Malik, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin, but for tattoo artist Jonathan Valena, better known as JonBoy, the real celebrities are everyday people who face the struggles of everyday life.
“The real celebrity is this lady who raised three kids, the real celebrity is a cancer survivor, the real celebrities are the everyday people that decide they want to wake up and live. The famous people are different. I tattoo a lot of famous people and it’s a whole new world that a lot of us don’t understand”, says the artist in an interview with Cultura Colectiva.
JonBoy is a cool guy who was born and raised in Chicago. He's of Filipino descent, and he has been living and working in New York since the early 2010s. Before becoming a tattoo artist, he entered a seminary with the idea to become a pastor, but he never imagined that his life would change and turn him into one of the most popular tattoo artists in the world.
His style is unique: tiny and delicate tattoos that look elegant and almost like a fashion accessory. “I love fashion and tattoos. Tattoos are fashion in a way, the way I approach tattooing is by sophisticated designs, simple and timeless,” he explains. His love of fashion has also made him obsessed with Gucci and closer to the fashion industry. He tattooed a couple of tiny angel wings on Bella Hadid’s ankles, just before her Victoria’s Secret runway in 2017.
His arms and hands are fully covered in tattoos. He remembers that the first one he got is a crown of thorns that reminds him of his faith, but he also allows some of his friends to ink him, like Kylie Jenner, who tattooed her initials on him.
One of the things that has helped JonBoy become such a popular tattoo artist is Instagram. His profile has more than 588k followers and has become a way to showcase his work. “If it weren’t for Instagram, I wouldn’t be able to reach people in different parts of the world. I love the fact that I can share my work and people can see it.”
Instagram has also changed the way people choose their tattoo artists. Previously, he recalls, everyone who wanted to get a tattoo would walk into a place and hope for the best, but now you have the chance to find an artist who suits you.
JonBoy’s tattoos are so tiny they can take less than 15 minutes to be finished, but the lines are so perfect and precise that the minimalist aesthetic can surprise everyone.
The daughters of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife Angélica Rivera are also on the list of famous people that have been tattooed by JonBoy.
But what does such a popular artist like JonBoy want to achieve in life? “I’m living my biggest dream in life. If I die today, I would be so happy.”
Photos from JonBoy's Instagram.
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