Tuesday, Bieber announced on Instagram — after adding a few more pieces to his extensive tattoo collection — “Done with tats 4 a while … Where I wanna be.” Admirable restraint, Bieber, but I don’t buy it.
As a person with more than a few tattoos (but far fewer that Biebs) I know this statement to likely be false. Tattoos are addictive and, well, there are still vast expanses of Bieber’s flesh that have yet to feel the kiss of the needle. You will go back to her like an errant mistress, fair Biebs, we all do.
In anticipation of his inevitable backslide onto the tattoo table, I hit up Matty No Times of New York’s illustrious Three Kings Tattoo and Rocky Rakovic, editor-in-chief of Inked magazine, to highlight Bieber’s best ink — and offer up some suggestions for how he can improve his tattoo steez next time.
Because, come on, there will be a next time.
Bieber’s Best Tats
1. The Knight And Castle
“The knight and the castle are really nicely done,” Matty No Times told MTV News. “They are drawn well and executed well. The shading is smooth, there are varying line weights, which create shape and shadow in the armor of the king. This is a nice tattoo.”
Perhaps the Biebs should stick with tats in the fairytale vein. Beauty and the Beat, anyone?
2. His Mother’s Eye
The striking eye on the inside of Bieber’s elbow is one of his most personal pieces, a tribute to his mother Pattie Mallette by celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang.
“People often get an eye to symbolize many things,” Bang Bang told MTV News. “For him, it was just like his mother watching over, kind of like a protective thing. It’s totally from mama.”
Mama’s love must have been shining, because No Times picked the eye as one of his favorite tats as well. “The eye is a great tattoo, also,” he said. “It is very detailed and realistic.”
Just don’t get her whole face, Bieber — that’s pretty much always creepy. Uncanny Valley, we do not want to go to there.
3. The Rose
Bang Bang scores another top tat, according to No Times.
“Let’s talk about the rose tattoo done by the same artist,” he said. “Again, the shading is done beautifully and it’s soft and delicate and really nice.” (No Times added that that tat could use an outline, though, so perhaps you should chair it up soon, Bieber?)
La vie en rose is working for you, dude.
4. The Cross
And Bang Bang strikes again! Another of Bieber’s best tattoos was inked onto his chest while on a private jet by the explosively monikered artist.
“The artist who dared ink up Bieber’s chest at 40,000 feet above terra firma on a flight from Panama to Canada is a talent,” Rocky Rakovic told MTV News. “While the cross maybe boring, it is well-executed, crisp, with good lines — especially considering Bang Bang had to work with turbulence.
Now let’s try this while off-roading, Bieber — “Jackass” style! Maybe sub in Bang Bang for Henry Rollins, though.
1. Go Bigger
While No Times dug a few of Bieber’s tattoos, he cautions the pop star to go big or go home when it comes to really detailed ink.
“It is solely for the reason that [your tattoos] will hold up over time better,” he said. “You shed skin every day of your life and this causes tattoos to break down. So when you put a lot of detail in a smaller space you will see it break down faster in a shorter period of time.”
Keep that in mind when you get your Lamborghini backpiece, Bieber.
2. Location, Location, Location
While No Times thinks Bieber’s eye is aces, he’s not so hot on the location.
“Putting a detailed tattoo like that in the middle of your ditch is a terrible idea,” he said, referring to the inside of the elbow. “‘Why?’ you ask? Well, what’s going to happen to that tattoo when you open and close your forearm 10 million times in the next few years?”
This seems like good advice given Bieber’s guns — I’m guessing that elbow gets a lot of lifting action.
3. Get Original
Bieber’s been a little fast and furious with the ink since age 16, amassing more than 30 over the last four years. Rocky opines that perhaps the singer should go beyond the tattoo wall when it comes to choosing future pieces.
“I’m a big believer (Belieber?) in that one can do as they please with their body, but Bieber just went and filled out his lower right arm with a tattoo starter kit,” he said.
“Let’s examine his choices of left forearm body art: Spade, Banksy girl, video game figure, pool 8-ball. Those are five of the top 10 tattoos gotten by people getting their first tattoos,” he added.
You’re far from a tat virgin, Bieber, it’s time to get creative! Maybe you have some doodles in those music journals of yours?