Justin Bieber shocked fans on Saturday when he debuted a massive torso tattoo that incorporated existing smaller designs.
Bang Bang, the tattoo artist who gave the singer his new ink, talked to E! News exclusively about the meaning behind it. The tattoo took three days to create and was done in Beverly Hills.
“We added two angels, one on each side,” he said. “Below each one, they’re dominating the evil. Whenever I do an epic piece, there needs to be the positive and negative. There needs to be a balance…visually there needs to be contrast. Below each of the angels, there is a demon that needs to be defeated. The skeleton on one side and the serpent on the other.”
“It’s symbolic of Gothic art and the struggle between the light and dark, the good and the evil, Yin and Yang,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we had contrast in subject matter and imagery. The thing that made the most sense to me was a tattoo describing his spirituality. The animals he has, his spirit animals as well as the angels, his guardians. I was trying to make it super meaningful and not scattered.”
Bang Bang said Justin texted him about getting new ink.
“He said he has a mustache on his belly, referring to the eagle, and it just needed more around it so it wasn’t so isolated and floating in the middle of his stomach,” the tattoo artist said, laughing. “I don’t know why he thought it looked like a mustache. Maybe one of his friends told him that.”
Bang Bang said Bieber didn’t know what was planned beforehand.
“He said he wanted me to cover his front, so I sent him a bunch of options,” he said. “They were all religious in subject. I explained to him that the whole front should be one idea. I didn’t actually cover anything. There are no cover ups.”
Bang Bang said he worked on the design for three weeks. Inking it on Bieber took three days. During that time, Bieber was accompanied by a friend. On the last day, more of his pals came and they all had a Nerf Ball fight with the tattoo artist during a break. Bieber also periodically sent photos of his tattoo-in-progress to family and friends, who gave him good feedback.
“Everyone was really stoked about it,” Bang Bang said.
He said that while he was tattooing Bieber, the two “talked about life.”
“We talked about growing up,” he added. “We talked about people and their perceptions. How changes in life and people all come like seasons. We also talked about just figuring it out. I’ve known Justin for a long time and I’ve got to see this talented world famous iconic young man grow up. And same for me. When he met me, I was younger and we were in different spots in life. And it’s cool to see how we’ve grown.”
And Bieber is in no way done with tattoos.
“I’m coming back soon,” Bang Bang said, laughing. “I did the bottom half of his front but still need to do the top.”