Born and raised in Dominican Republic, tattoo artist and co-owner of No Idols Tattoo in NYC, Jon Mesa, has gone through many hours under the needle, as well as the laser. Mesa removed all of his first tattoos on his right arm before starting his second sleeve. He has also removed the illustrations on the right side of his neck as well as a dragon on his stomach. This dragon was covered up by another dragon, tattooed by Seth Wood. Close friend and fellow highlighted tattoo artist Alisha Gory wears many pieces by Mesa.
While Mesa has A-List celebrity clientele, including Pete Davidson, the 36-year old’s first tattoo was at 18-years old, of a warrior holding up the sword with an angel behind him, was chosen out of a tattoo book because it was within his price range. Now tattooing for over 10 years, Mesa knows what to look for for quality work. “With my first few tattoos I literally just walked into a shop without knowing anything,” Mesa said. “I’ve learned to I try to get tattooed by people whose art inspired me to be either a better artist or a better technical tattooer.” He adds, “After I commit to get tattooed by someone I pretty much give them full control of the tattoo unless they choose to ask me for my opinion on any decision making on the tattoo. I want them to be excited and focused on the piece.”
While there wasn’t one tattoo that sparked his tattoo addiction, Mesa notes that his first tattoo convention is what did him in. He says that seeing heavily tattooed people made him want to get more tattoos.
“I don’t really consider myself a collector I just consider myself a heavily tattooed person and the majority of my body was done by a few artist because I love big tattoos,” Mesa said. “I love getting tattoos because I like the way they look, I’m actually almost out of room. Getting tattooed is something that I do for myself almost like self-care.”
His tattoo collection, which he describes as “bold and legible tattoo imagery,” has been tattooed by more than 20 artists, including Paul Acker, Big Steve, Justin Hartman and Bang Bang. The rose on his left hand was tattooed by Mesa.
One of Mesa’s favorite tattoos from his personal canvas is his right sleeve by Chris Odonell. “It’s a tiger fighting a snake with cherry blossoms that I got after lasering everything on that arm,” he said. “The day I got this arm started I felt like a new man.”