Justin Bieber has sparked countless headlines for years, has numerous hits songs, has won an impressive amount of industry awards, and has a heck of a lot of money. The Biebs also has plenty of tattoos — perhaps even more than you would have guessed. Frankly, the pop star has over 60 pieces of body art that range in style, size, and meaning — and apparently, he adores them all even though he has to suffer for this particular kind of art.
“If tattoo[s] didn’t hurt everyone would have them. Well maybe not [e]very one!!” Bieber wrote on Instagram in April 2018 while posting a photo that showed off a fair share of his ink. Adding that it’s taken “over a hundred hours” to get all of the art tattooed onto his body, he claimed that he “wouldn’t take back a single one.” Biebs then explained that he “ABSOLUTELY LOVE[S] ART” and has made his “body a canvas and it’s SO MUCH FUN.”
If Bieber’s body is a canvas, then the overall piece he’s creating could be considered a collage of memories and tributes thanks to the fact that the star has so many varied tattoos. Read on to find out more about each one.
Justin Bieber has plenty of music-related tattoos
Considering the fact that Justin Bieber is a pop singer, it would almost seem odd if the tattoo enthusiast didn’t have any ink inspired by music. And frankly, he doesn’t just have one or two tattoos related to his art, he has quite a few that are perfectly suited to his melody-driven vocation.
As Cosmopolitan revealed, along with a tiny treble clef (above, left) behind Bieber’s left ear and an image of an old-school boombox on his arm, he also has a tattoo of the Kanji symbol for “music” (if you’re unaware of what Kanji is, Britannica explains that it’s a “Japanese writing system” that uses “ideograms [or characters] adapted from Chinese characters.”)
While the crown on his upper pec (above, right) doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with his career or passion for what he does, some “[f]ans think Justin’s crown tattoo is a tribute to the King of Pop (a.k.a. Michael Jackson),” according to Cosmopolitan. Biebs, who’s been called “the new King of Pop,” has “[made] it clear he wants to be nothing less than the next Michael Jackson,” and as he told McLean’s magazine in 2012, “That’s where I want to be. I don’t just want to be a teen heartthrob.” Having an abundant (and seemingly ever-growing) number of tattoos is certainly one way to leave the “teen heartthrob” image behind in order to embrace a more mature vibe.
Justin Bieber really loves his mom (and has ink to prove it)
It’s no secret that Justin Bieber is a mama’s boy. Frankly, thanks to a pair of highly visible, prominently placed tattoos that are dedicated to the star’s beloved parent, he couldn’t possibly keep it under wraps that, as Cosmopolitan points out, he’s “super close to his mom, Pattie Mallette.” As the outlet dishes, Mallette is “a fixture in Justin’s world” and the inspiration for at least two of his tattoos.
Speaking to GQ, Biebs revealed that on the inside of his left arm, right in his elbow bend, he has a large image of his mother’s eye (above left) which was reportedly a piece done by Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy. While sharing a shot of the tattoo on Instagram in July 2013, Bieber captioned, “Moms always watching
Justin Bieber has an interesting relationship with religion. While telling Vogue in February 2019 that he doesn’t consider himself religious, he admitted that “[it] confuses a lot of people” because he attends church. However, Biebs explained that he “believe[s] in the story of Jesus” and, for the star, that apparently translates into a lot of Christian-themed tattoos.
Get ready for a massive list! Bieber has a super-tiny tattoo of a cross to the side of his left eye and a significantly larger one inked on his sternum (ouch!) as well as a cross that has a bleeding planet on it. According to Cosmopolitan, “Urban legend says this bleeding world was based on a drawing Justin doodled in elementary school.” He also has Jesus’ face on the back of his leg (above left), an angel holding a clock on his arm, and the name Yeshua on his rib cage, “which many believe to be Jesus’ Hebrew or Aramaic name,” the Daily Mail explains while also noting that his dad has the same tattoo. Bieber also has a psalm on the back of his shoulder (above right), praying hands on his leg, an angel’s wing on the inside of his bicep (via Cosmopolitan), and angel wings on the back of his neck which, as he told GQ, took “almost four hours” to complete.
However, his biggest religious tattoos are his “Son of God” script and the scene of angels on his abdomen. Amen!
Justin Bieber is crawling with animal tattoos
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Or, if we’re referring to Justin Bieber’s abundance of animal tattoos: a lion (above right), a tiger, a bear, and a heck of a lot of other wild creatures. For instance, the star has a large eagle on his stomach and another on his arm, as well as a koi fish and fish scales.
Beyond the eagles, he also has other flying friends, including a bird on his neck, a folksy-looking owl on his arm that he told GQ “signifies wisdom,” and a tiny bird on his left hip which was inspired by Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a book that his entire family has read which is why they each share the same tattoo. Bieber explained the story, revealing, “It’s about this seagull who wanted to be more than just a seagull.” The star also noted that it was his first tattoo and was inked on a place on his body where he hoped to hide it at the time.
Moving on, his lion tattoo is likely the most popular of the bunch and not because fans are fond of it, but because it’s a design that both Demi Lovato and Cara Delevingne have gotten inked on them, according to BuzzFeed, while Ed Sheeran has a lion in the same spot as Bieber, though in color. Basically, if you want to look like a star, perhaps you should consider getting your own lion-like tattoo.
Script tattoos seem to be a favorite for Biebs
If you thought that Justin Bieber has a lot of animal-inspired ink, then prepare yourself for the vast amount of script he has placed on his body. Bieber has “Forever” on the side of his neck, which “seems to be a complement to Hailey [Bieber]’s ‘Lover’ tattoo,” according to Cosmopolitan, as well as “Patience,” which is also on his neck, “Forgive” on his hip, “Purpose” by his belly button, and “Grace” above his eyebrow courtesy of celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy. And we’re only getting started!
Bieber also has “love” on his arm and, as he told GQ, “LL” (“It stands from when my head’s low to lift it up”), as well as an “X” to represent the “unknown,” the letter “G” for the daughter of a friend named Georgia who “has a brain condition,” and “Bieber” in Korean. He also has “Believe,” the name of his third album, and “Trust” in what appears to be the same font.
However, the singer’s quirkiest text tattoo may also be one of his most thoughtful. We’re referring to the “Better at 70” ink on his thigh, which he discusses alongside an Instagram post of the design, writing, “I look back at a lot of things in my life, mistakes, insecurities, and although I have felt I’ve wasted a lot of time it also makes me want to be better faster! For me personally I want to work every day to be BETTER AT 70.”
Justin Bieber's knight tattoo looks… angry
While many of Justin Bieber’s tattoos can be grouped together in tidy categories, there’s one particular piece that is not like the others. If you take a glance at the pop star’s left forearm, you’ll spot what’s either a prince or a king (judging by the crown) who’s dressed in a formidable suit of armor. Behind him, a royal fortress looms. But it’s the figure’s face that’s so unexpected. He looks upset. Sad, even.
“Justin got this melancholy prince and his castle a few years back, and DAMN. No one has ever looked more bummed about being a member of the royal family,” Cosmopolitan remarked in December 2019. It’s true, most people would be thrilled to be able to wear a crown and have their own castle — but who knows what this knight has been dealing with — considering he seems to be trying to pull a sword out of a stone.
MTV pointed out that the medieval-like piece is a “change of pace from [Bieber’s] other, more cartoonish ink jobs” due to the fact that “this tattoo feels markedly more serious, from all that evident effort gone into illustrating and shading to the piece’s potential symbolism.” As for that symbolism, it’s not clear why the tattoo might be significant to the star, however, it could inspire bravery, loyalty, chivalry, or going back to the sullen face, maybe it just represents those times when Bieber is in a really bad mood.
Banksy dubbed Biebs' Ballon Girl tattoo 'controversial'
Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey Bieber, are both lovers of art who’ve been known to pick up (and later auction off) works by contemporary artists like Buff Monster, Virgil Abloh, Miss Zukie, Fidia Falaschetti, Pablo Dona, Ryan Hewett, and more. The pieces they gravitate towards are often “graffiti-inspired,” according to Architectural Digest, which is why it’s not surprising that Bieber chose to get a tattoo of a beloved piece by a figure who is arguably the most famous street artist around: Banksy.
As revealed by Daily Mail, Biebs “went under the needle during a late night recording session” in March 2014 in order to get an image of Banksy’s “Balloon Girl” inked on his forearm (rotated, right) by Canadian tattoo artist Glen Hartless. While Bieber was apparently fond of the piece (which was chosen as England’s favorite artwork), Banksy may not have been terribly thrilled by the pop star’s tattoo. When the singer revealed the body art, the Daily Mail dished that a Facebook page supposedly belonging to Banksy responded to the situation by “posting a picture of the ‘Baby’ singer and his new tattoo, tagging the pop star in, and saying simply, ‘Controversial.'” Hmm, maybe we can hope he meant controversial in a good way?
Bieber's laurel leaf tattoos could be 'a symbol of victory'
If you thought that Justin Bieber might be on the verge of running out of places to put his tattoos, fear not because there are still plenty of spots on his famous form to slip some in. That’s why he was able to take to Instagram in February 2020 to show off some new ink. The star gave his followers a glimpse at the laurel leaves that were placed right around his lower neck, just above his collar bones, which wrapped around to the back of his shoulders.
The design, which was likely either done by Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy or Dr. Woo (since he tagged them both in the pic), is another image that Bieber hasn’t bothered to explain yet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying to decipher its meaning.
“[L]aurel leaves have long been a symbol of victory; in ancient Greece and Rome, successful warriors would often wear them as crowns,” wrote Page Six, noting that the “leaves could also be a nod to his … YouTube Docuseries, Justin Bieber: Seasons.” For their part, E! News points out that “[t]here also could be a religious meaning with many viewing the wreath as a symbol of God’s victory and power.” So, although it might be another religious tattoo, it could also mean Bieber just thought the leaves looked cool around his neck.
So. Many. Random. Tattoos.
Justin Bieber has plenty of tattoos that fit a specific theme, however, he has many others that defy being categorized. For instance, Cosmopolitan spotted an 8-ball tattoo. Why? We don’t know! Maybe it holds a significant meaning, or perhaps it was just another snazzy design that Biebs was fond of at the time. You can wonder the same thing about his tattoo of a Super Mario Brothers ghost and a jester’s head (above left).
Check out his varied designs and you’ll also find a Korean mask, a compass, and two hashtag symbols (via Cosmopolitan). Frankly, you could make it a game if you time yourself and see how long it takes you to spot the rose, diamond, and heart. Cosmopolitan even tracked down the weird face (or fish?), peace hand, his sad-looking star, and (eek) the pair of guns that also say, “make em pay.”
One design that is easier to find is the Native American chief (above right) wearing a traditional headdress on the back of Bieber’s left shoulder, which is actually a hockey logo. “My grandfather always took me to the Stratford Culliton every Friday night,” the star wrote in an Instagram post that showed off the tattoo and revealed that it had been done by Chente Rios. “[T]his is for u Grampa.”
Justin Bieber tried to alter his tattoo of Selena Gomez
Getting a tattoo of a significant other’s name is certainly risky, but getting an image of their face inked on you when you’re still pretty darn young is beyond dicey. That’s something that Justin Bieber found out first-hand thanks to the fact that he has a tattoo of his ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez, whom he dated on and off from 2010 to 2017. Not just her name, mind you, which would surely have been awkward enough, but to make things even more cringe-worthy, Biebs got a permanent image of her face. Or rather, he got a tattoo of Gomez’s face (and, um, breasts) on the body of an angel.
“This is my ex-girlfriend,” Bieber told GQ in February 2016, not shying away from showing off the ink. However, he did admit, “I kind of tried to cover her face up with some shading, but people still know [what it is].”
What makes the tattoo even more awkward is that Bieber is now married to Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin), and yet he still hasn’t gotten the Gomez image covered up. You can even spot it when the star poses for a photo with his (apparently tolerant) spouse. The lesson to be learned from this: Don’t get a tattoo of someone you might not end up with for the rest of your life — especially if you’re both super famous.
And then there's all the filler work
Due to the fact that Justin Bieber has so many individual tattoos, they could potentially appear patchy if he didn’t fill the space in between each image with other bits of ink. “Basically, to get the best result for this, you should ask for flow,” Nicolas Gualteros, a tattoo artist who works out of Senaspace in New York City, told GQ, who then interpreted that by noting that it’s “tattoo-artist speak for ‘something that will flow nicely with other designs.'”
As for the ink-covered pop star, “Bieber’s filler consists of roses and clouds, which show up all over his body in order to lend a more cohesive vibe to his tattoos,” according to Cosmopolitan. He also uses simple swirls of shading to cover spots like his elbow (which Healthline points out happens to be one of the most painful places on the body) and tends to add beams of light around things like the cross on his sternum to fill in any gaps.
Granted, even though Bieber has embraced fillers, that doesn’t mean that he still doesn’t have plenty of space to get new tattoos in the future, which (let’s be honest) he likely will.
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