Jonathan Valena went to seminary school thinking he’d become a youth pastor. Instead, he became the go-to for inking the celebrity fashion set.
Valena, who operates under the moniker JonBoy, is a Filipino-American artist who specializes in micro tattoos. He has inked thousands of people, taking as many as five appointments in one day, and his work appears on the bodies, faces and inner lips of some of the most famous names in fashion and music — Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, Bella Hadid and Travis Scott included.
This month, JonBoy opened his first stand-alone shop in his nearly 20-year career. The space, located in a room in the lobby of Bar Moxy at The Moxy Hotel in New York’s Times Square, features his byname in purple neon lighting, an Instagrammable wall printed with his face and a slew of exclusive Gucci and Supreme items, the most prominent of which is his signature black Gucci print tattoo table.
JonBoy seemingly inherited his love for Gucci from his mother.
“Growing up, we were poor, but my mom rocked a Gucci tote,” he said, sitting next to his tattoo table on a matching Gucci stool. “We’d go to Sizzler for all-you-can-eat shrimp, and she’d stuff it