New York City-based tattoo artist JonBoy may be known for his high-profile clientele (Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin, included) in the world of pop culture, but it is his minimalist aesthetic that has garnered him a cult-like following on Instagram.
His latest work? A simple, barely-there cross just below Justin Bieber's left eye -- a replica of one that JonBoy himself has on his own face. The artist tells Pret-a-Reporter, however, that the tattoo wasn't just a whim, but one Bieber had been contemplating for quite some time as a symbol of his faith.
"I think it was already kind of brewing in his head. I think when he saw mine and just how subtle it is, I think he saw that and thought 'Oh, that's pretty cool, I could rock something like that.' It doesn't look gawdy on him," JonBoy said, adding that it was the placement near the eye specifically that was most important. "We were sitting there and chatting about why we wanted it near the eye, and it's really to see people through the cross -- to see people with our eyes through the cross with our grace and with our love."
In addition to JonBoy, who met Bieber through Hillsong Church in New York, the singer's friend Joe Termini also got inked with the cross tattoo. But although his faith played a great role in the inspiration for Bieber's particular tattoo, it's not his only influence.
The artist chatted excitedly about how the high fashion world has merged with the tattoo world in a new and provocative way, noting Gucci's creative director -- who JonBoy had the opportunity to meet last week in the midst of Met Gala madness in New York -- as a major source of inspiration.
"His art and the way he's basically given Gucci that new romantic look -- his imagery is very, very tattoo- [friendly] ...; that's the type of stuff that I was tattooing a lot before I started the very minimal line work stuff," he noted. "I just look up to him and he's doing big things and I got to meet with him and chat with him. Hopefully I can get him in the chair -- I know he loves tattoos. I think when he's ready to commit to a design, I'd love to put a little tattoo on him."
More celebrity tattoos:
Justin Bieber's tattoo artist JonBoy talks inking the pop star
Katy Perry is no stranger to the tattoo table, but the 'Dark horse' singer added another this year to commemorate performing in Super Bowl 49.
Miley Cyrus loves her ink, and this time headed to the tattoo parlour to pay tribute to her pet pufferfish who died.
Cara Delevingne's sixteenth tattoo is a code of arms by the famous artist Dr Woo.
Singer Drake got a new tattoo of the CN Tower in Toronto on his arm.
Rick Ross already had several facial tattoos, but his most recent one is the Miami Heat logo on his temple.
Rita Ora recently had a smiley face inked onto her ear, and Instagrammed this photo with the caption: "Smile though your heart is breaking....#newtattoo 💅 thank you @mensoone"
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Actress Jaime King, hair and tattoo detail, arrives at the Sixth-Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, Los Angeles at Will Rogers State Historic Park on October 17, 2015 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Actor Scott Mescudi, tattoo detail, attends the 'Meadowland' premiere at Sunshine Landmark on October 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 08: Pink, fashion detail, attends the Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala at Barker Hangar on October 8, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 12: TV personality Kelly Osbourne, tattoo and hair details, attends Cosmopolitan's 50th Birthday Celebration at Ysabel on October 12, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Rita Ora
at Sexy Fish on October 8, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Robert Milan/GC Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07: Tattoo Artist Kat Von D presents her new Make Up Collection 'Kat Von D Beauty' at the Callao cinema on October 7, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 04: Actress Lena Dunham, tattoo detail, arrives at The Rape Foundation's Annual Brunch at Greenacres, The Private Estate of Ron Burkle on October 4, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Musical artist Amber Rose attends the Amber Rose SlutWalk LA at Pershing Square on October 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Singer Rihanna, tatoo detail, leaves the 'L'Avenue' on 'Avenue Montaigne' on October 3, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress/recording artist Lady Gaga attends the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
With a client roster that would make any modeling agency jealous, JonBoy has already seen firsthand how his world can mesh seamlessly with the world of fashion. Just last month, the work he did on Baldwin's wrist was seen on the cover of Marie Claire.
"[The minimalist style] works for every walk of life, whether you're a model or a barista at Starbucks. It's very subtle," JonBoy said of why models seem to flock to his style. "It's like you can wear an accessory and look elegant and sophisticated and sexy at the same time."
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Whether Bieber's tattoos will inspire any face tattoo trends of their own remains to be seen. According to the artist, not everyone had a positive reaction -- but that's not something he's worried about. "He didn't do anything to hurt his fans. He's still going to create awesome music -- if anything, he's going to be reminded and inspired everyday why he's here on Earth, and that's just to love on people," said JonBoy. "I think as big as Justin is, he's going to be doing greater things -- greater than what he's doing now, and [he's] just going to be bringing glory to God."
Justin Bieber's tattoo artist JonBoy talks inking the pop star
Canadian pop megastar Justin Bieber (C) plays basketball with a young survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Palo, Leyte province on December 10, 2013. Pop megastar Justin Bieber sang to and played basketball with young survivors of the Philippines' deadliest typhoon on December 10 after he flew into the disaster zone to boost an international relief effort. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 27: The winner of Champ of Charity singer Justin Bieber (L) and singer Cody Simpson onstage at the 2014 Young Hollywood Awards brought to you by Samsung Galaxy at The Wiltern on July 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Young Hollywood Awards will air on Monday, July 28 8/7c on The CW. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for Variety)
The "Baby" singer headed straight to the salon for a new makeover ... this time going blonde! (Instagram)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 23: Justin Bieber attends a VMA Pre-Party hosted by Chris Brown & Pia Mia featuring Bera on August 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JAN 17: General view of a Justin Bieber for Calvin Klein Billboard located on Houston Street on January 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Tomas/IMAGES/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 15: Singer Justin Bieber arrives at Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace to celebrate his birthday on the nightclub's opening weekend on March 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 07: Singer Justin Bieber attends the 17th NRJ Music Awards ceremony at Palais des Festivals on November 7, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Justin Bieber and Corey Gamble are seen in Beverly Hills, Ca on January 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Light Brigade/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)