Justin Bieber’s Very First Tattoo Is Based on His Favorite Childhood Book, Which His Family Adores
Justin Bieber has been a household figure in the ever-changing world of pop culture for more than a decade. As his career evolved, so did his quest for self-expression, most notably through his massive tattoo collection. While his tattoos have become a canvas for his own experiences and beliefs, it's worth looking into the very first tattoo that started his tattoo journey.
Back in 2010, Bieber was a young phenomenon who was taking the music world by storm. His youthful charm and music had won millions of hearts, but beneath the surface of this adolescent hit was a young man yearning for his own identity. During this time, Bieber went on a journey that would eventually lead to plenty of tattoos, each with its own meaning. But it was a stylized bird inked on the left side of his stomach that started it all, per The Things.
The narrative behind Bieber's first tattoo is a tribute to both his close-knit family and a beloved childhood book. In a 2016 interview with GQ, Bieber discussed the tattoo and its significance to him. He explained that the seagull tattoo was inspired by the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, which his entire family adores. This small but significant bird represents the desire to rise beyond the ordinary and strive for something greater.
He says, “The first tattoo I got is this little guy right here. It’s, uh, based on this book that my whole family read, everyone’s got it on their wrist and it was right before I really had any tattoos. And so, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t visible so I put it right here.” He adds, "The book is about a seagull who wanted to be more than just a seagull. I’m trying to be more than just a regular person. I’m trying to be extravagant.”
Interestingly, Bieber initially chose to have this tattoo placed on the side of his stomach to keep it veiled from public view. He was only starting to get tattoos at the time, and he wanted to keep this first tattooed tribute personal and intimate. While Bieber's journey of inked self-expression does not end with the seagull tattoo, it is a profound reminder of his upbringing. Bieber's decision to celebrate his familial bond and childhood inspirations with tattoos is a testament to his openness.
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Bieber's tattoos have risen in number as his career has progressed. He disclosed the origins behind several of his other tattoos in the same GQ interview, each one providing light on a different aspect of his life and personality. Each tattoo marks a chapter in his journey, from a tattoo of Jesus on his calf that he initially kept hidden from fans to a "LL" tattoo that encourages him to keep his head up and seek better days.
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