Artists: Jon Mesa
Profile photo by Sarah Marie
How has your art and style developed in the time since Freshly Inked last spoke with you?
I feel like my artwork has become more complete and has more of my personal style. Every year I become more critical of the work that I’m doing and I keep trying to push myself to get better. I’ve been working a lot on the anatomy of the things that I draw and the level of realism that I can achieve while still trying to keep a tattoo looking like a tattoo.
What first brought you to work at Bang Bang NYC?
I’ve known Keith [Bang Bang] for a few years. We met when he tattooed me at Last Rites. We clicked from the go and have been friends ever since. When he was ready to open up Bang Bang Tattoos he called me up and it just seemed like the right move to make.
How has such quick success in the tattoo industry affected you and your art work?
Honestly, it has pushed me to keep getting better and to set a high standard of quality to every piece I do, whether I’m at Bang Bang’s or on the road working at a tattoo convention. So I make sure that every tattoo I do and every tattoo somebody sees from me out there, that they have the same feeling of “Wow, that’s just as cool as when I saw it online.”
What was one of the strangest pieces you’ve ever tattooed on someone?
One of the strangest pieces I’ve tattooed is still in progress, actually; my client wanted a collage of work from, like, 15 famous artists as a half sleeve. He has stuff in there ranging anywhere from Mickey Mouse for Walt Disney to a melting clock for Salvador Dalí. I was kind of skeptical about the concept in the beginning, but it’s turning out to be a really cool piece.
If you could tattoo anyone, who would it be and why?
I think I’d tattoo my mom. She’s the one person I’ve always wanted to tattoo.
How would you say the tattoo scene in New York is different than other places you’ve worked in?
I think that the New York City tattoo scene is really diverse. No style dominates the city. There are good artists in almost every category of tattooing, which makes it a very competitive market.