One of my girlfriends, Heather, and I have followed JonBoy and his work for a long time, we're huge fans. JonBoy (Jonathan Velena) is a New York City tattoo artist. Some of his most famous work has been the the white dot finger and "meow" lip tattoo he completed for Kendal Jenner and the miniature pair of angel wings that he tattooed for Bella Hadid. Heather really admires the simple, delicate flowers he has done in the past and I really love his whimsical script tattoos and his fine line work.
July 26th, JonBoy posted on his Instagram that he will be making his first trip to Canada to tattoo in Yorkdale mall: July 27 and 28, starting at 4 pm both days. Big thanks to Yorkdale because this was a free event (YES FREE!).
It was a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE event. Those who attend were able to choose from a custom Yorkdale/CONCEPT flashcard of tattoos, designed by Jon Boy, specifically for this event.
I called Yorkdale the day I found out about the event to ask them what time they were going to allow people to begin lining up. The woman who I spoke to told me they'd open the doors at 6 am... yes 6 am, when the event was to begin at 4 pm. So Heather and I (like the crazy girls we are) decided to be at the mall for 6 am.
I slept over at Heather's place the night before the event. We set our alarms for 5:30 am and left her place by 5:45 am. We had enough time to stop in at Starbucks on the way to Yorkdale the morning of the event. We arrived at the mall at 6 am and were the 5th and 6th people in the line that had started to form. We were so happy we got there as early as we did. We also came prepared with a blanket, bracelet string, and books to keep us entertained for the 10 hours we had ahead of us! We took turns going to the washroom and grabbing food to ensure we didn't lose our spot in the line.
The first few hours seemed to fly by, but the last 2 hours (from 2-4 pm) seemed like time was standing still. It didn't help that JonBoy showed up at 2 pm, and when he came we felt very ready for him to begin tattooing (so that didn't make the time go by any faster).
Erica and Colin stopped by to say hi to JonBoy (he had done both of their "C" and "E" tattoos), to see me get my tattoo done, and to head to our leadership retreat after in Niagara. They arrived at the mall around the same time JonBoy did. They stopped to chat with Heather and I for a bit before walking around the mall to kill some time, but they asked that I text them before I get my tattoo done so they could be there. They were going to grab dinner too, it was so sweet of them to offer to pick me up some food as well so we were able to head straight to the retreat once my tattoo was completed.
Before JonBoy began to tattoo anyone he went to apologize to those in line who he knew would not be able to get a tattoo done by him, which was A LOT of people (over 3/4 of the line). He did begin to tattoo shortly after 4 pm (well closer to 4:30 pm). I was a bit disappointed with him because before he began to tattoo those waiting in line (SINCE 6 AM) he tattooed 2 people (I'm not sure exactly who they were but I believe one was a blogger: Nathalie Martin, and the other girl... I have no idea). Once he began to tattoo those in line I felt relieved because then I knew Heather and I were guaranteed to get tattooed! We were offered multiple times by those who work at Yorkdale (and I assumed organized the event) to leave and return the next day so that a few girls who wouldn't get tattooed today could... they even offered us gift cards to the mall but Heather and I didn't wait all day for a gift card and the possibility of getting a tattoo done the following day (especially since either of us would be able to go back on the Friday).
Today was a test of patience, right before JonBoy was about to tattoo Heather and I (after tattooing for about an hour and a half) he decided to take a break to grab something to eat. I was a bit anxious because I figured with Heather and I being 5th and 6th in line we'd finish and be out of the mall by about 6:30 pm, at the latest. I felt like I was keeping Erica and Colin from making it to the retreat on time (it started at 8 pm) so I asked that they head out without me but they wanted to stay back with me and they said they'd rather be a bit late with me then have me miss the first night of the retreat all together. Colin offered to go grab my overnight bag from Heather's vehicle to save some time, since it was parked way on the other side of the mall. Before JonBoy left on his break they had us sign our waiver.
I had originally told Heather to her tattoo done first, since this was her first tattoo, but because JonBoy didn't get back from his break for about 40+ minutes (it was 6:20 pm at this point) and Erica, Colin, and I we're cutting it tight for time she told me to go before her (she offered first but eventually had to just tell me to)!
Once Heather and I were called into the actual tattooing area it felt like a dream come true... and a relief (we had both been up since 5:30 am and waited in line for about 13 hours at this point). It was around 6:40 pm by the time JonBoy began to place the stencil and start to tattoo me!
He was a great guy to talk to and I appreciate the time he took to place the stencil of my tattoo on the inside of my wrist. He also has a very delicate hand with his wireless tattoo gun. It was actually pretty funny, when he was about to tattoo me each time the needle of the gun got close to my skin the connection from the gun to wireless device would cut out... it was like a tease (and another true test of patience). The gun continued to cut out periodically as he was tattooing me but he still took his time and completed my "love always" tattoo with the same level of quality and care he puts into every tattoo he does.
Although I did have to choose the tattoo from the concept card, this tattoo has a lot of meaning to me. My grandfather passed away from cancer a few years ago and I have always wanted to get a tattoo in his memory. I find it impossible to put into words how much my grandpa truly means to me, we were incredibly close and so much alike. I've know for a long time that I wanted to get my next tattoo done by JonBoy because I love his script and when I saw "love always" on the concept card that is how my grandpa always signed off on each and every card he has given to me (which I have kept). So although this tattoo may have been a spur of the moment one, I believe it was meant to be and this was the tattoo I was meant to have in his honour! I'm so pleased with how it turned out and I can't stop admiring it.
I felt guilty leaving Heather to head to the retreat, but she told me to go. I really wanted to stay back and support her. She chose to get "go for it" from the concept card.I had her update me on how everything went and she sent me a picture of her completed tattoo - she was very happy with hers as well.
All together JonBoy only completed about 11 or 12 tattoos that day out of the over 100 people who had lined up. Aside from all the waiting and multiple tests of patience, the day was a dream come true and Heather and I got our JonBoy tattoo's without having to make an appointment and fly to New York! (And Erica, Colin, and I made it to our retreat with minutes to spare!)