Since 1997 New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik has been THE MAN behind the mic. He's the guy owning the stage inspiring kids to pick up an instrument and start their own band. He's the one singing hit pop-punk singles from 2002's gold certified album, Sticks and Stones, and pumping out new tracks from the latest NFG record, 2014's Resurrection. To tattooist Ian White, however, Pundik was nothing more than an artist who showed enough potential and dedication to earn a tattoo apprenticeship.
Pundik has always had an illustration background, constantly doodling creatures and designing logos for various musical or comical purposes, but never had the opportunity to take his art from paper to skin. By meeting White, though, the door to tattooing was finally opened. “I’ve always been an illustrator,” says Pundik, “and I always thought about [becoming a tattooist] but never had the opportunity to learn and do it. Then we went on tour in probably ’06 or ’07 with Bayside. Their friend Ian White was on the tour and I started hanging out with him.” After hearing about Pundik’s passion for drawing and desire to become a tattoo artist, White decided to take him on as his own apprentice. In return, Pundik helped White open up his very own shop, Safehouse Tattoo in Nashville, Tennessee. ���I ended up moving out [to Nashville] for a little bit over a year,” continues Pundik, “I was basically helping him open his shop from the ground up and learning from him.”
While Pundik did get a proper apprenticeship, he also found himself doing his first tattoo in a kitchen like many tattoo newcomers. “The first one was actually on Ian. We were setting up in my kitchen and he’s like 'Alright, I taught you how to set up stuff; I want you to tattoo me. You gotta get a feel for it.' So I took a Sharpie and drew a little crappy self-portrait of myself with wonky eyeballs and tattooed that on his shoulder. I was sweating, my pits were sweating, and I was getting hot flashes and shaking. I dug into him a little bit, but he still has it.” Though Pundik may have been nervous for his first tattoo, his inner confidence shone through in his work as most beginners tend to not dig in enough for their first tattoos causing the ink to inevitably fall out during the healing process. Pundik knew how to leave his mark.
Eventually Pundik would graduate to tattooing actual clients apart from his brave mentor, but those hints of nerves still tinged behind him knowing that what had once just been fun doodles were now turning into commissioned works of permanent body art, including his first attempt at tattooing New Found Glory fans. “It was within the first week that I was in the shop at Safehouse tattooing,” explains Pundik. “That was nerve wracking in itself, but there was this one kid who had me tattoo my autograph on his ribs. I’d never tattooed ribs before, let alone my autograph, and I’m like man, lettering and ribs, I’m so fucked right now.” Luckily, Pundik was able to make it through his first week as a real tattooer, and soon was slammed with clients looking to get ink in his signature style.
From Pundik’s baby steps into tattooing he would eventually fall in line with a minimalistic black line work aesthetic embellished with hatch-work shading to characterize many of the fun creatures Pundik has been known to design. Though his time with New Found Glory does not drive his tattoo skills or set style, some of Pundik's musical side has crept into his tattoo subject matters as many dedicated fans have decided to get their favorite band tattoos from the frontman himself. “I’ve done a creepy Mr. Fox face,” explains Pundik. “This was the email, 'I want a creepy fox wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses and smoking a cigarette with the lyrics You’ll never know I’m after you.’ I did it on this guy’s leg and it’s actually one of my favorite ones that I've done.”
With the recent release of New Found Glory’s self-produced eighth studio album, Resurrection, it looks like fans will have even more words for Pundik to ink in the future. “It was the first record where we actually had everything done before we even went into the studio,” explains Pundik. “which is a big feat knowing that we were going in recording and self-producing it.”
New Found Glory has had some serious ups and downs over the years, but none quite as jarring as the highly publicized removal of founding member and former guitarist, Steve Klein, who was asked to leave the band in late 2013 due to several felony charges. With this eighth studio album as the first full-length recording since Klein’s departure, it’s no wonder the group was stoked to have everything written before production began. “We intentionally went in as a four piece, focusing on one guitar riff. It was one of those records where it was a very cathartic process for us writing it, being that the four of us went through a lot of tough crap. That’s what a lot of the record’s about, just dealing with those shitty situations, coming out stronger and using those things as fuel to make yourself a better person, a stronger person. That’s the reason why we called it Resurrection.”
Though the band may have grown up from their younger years, they are still very much the same guys at heart as when they first formed New Found Glory all those years ago. “I feel like this is the most relatable record we’ve written in a long time,” notes Pundik. “Since Sticks and Stones, and I feel like that’s what a lot of people might be comparing it to. Even though that was a different subject matter back then when we were young, talking about relationships, break ups and dealing with stuff as a teenager or young adult, where now it’s like we’re talking about stuff where we are now in our lives.”
The guys behind New Found Glory continue to prove that they can overcome any challenge placed in their path no matter how big or small. Whether it's returning from the shocked gaze of the public eye with a chart-topping studio album or becoming a tattoo artist with a loyal clientele after a shaky start in a home kitchen, these pop-punk pioneers have the skills and confidence to make it happen. Now, New Found Glory get to relax and enjoy the rest of their worldwide tour, and maybe pick up some killer ink from their frontman along the way.
For more information on tattoos by Jordan Pundik follow him on his Instagram or email tattoo inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.