Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Meet Jill Bonny!

November 9th, 2009 by

I have a great deal of respect for artists who willingly choose to fly below the mainstream radar.  It’s one thing to shun the mainstream, but it’s quite an entirely different matter to shun the mainstream and still manage to retain a loyal and devoted fan base.  This happens with various types of artists: musicians, writers, filmmakers and in this particular case, a tattoo artist.

Jill Bonny has and continues to lead a life as varied and colourful as the tattoos that she inks.  Living in New York City as a teenager, Jill received an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.  The Japanese artwork that she was exposed to at the museum greatly intrigued her, leading to further explorations of this beautiful and often mysterious culture.

Art it seemed, was Jill’s calling.  She received a full scholarship to the prestigious art institute, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City’s East Village.  Here she was able to really deepen her studies of Buddhist iconography and Asian art.

For Jill however, art was not strictly limited to the things that she studied at The Cooper Union.  At the same time as she was broadening her mind with works of Buddhist iconography and Asian art, she was also employed as a freelance circus performer in the contortionist group The Pain-Proof Rubber Girls.  Wow you say?  Wow indeed.  Jill spent five years as a member of this group before beginning her tattoo career in 1999.

In 2002, Jill was introduced to Japanese tattoo artist Horitaka, by friend and fellow tattoo artist Ed Hardy.  Horitaka and Jill became fast friends, motivated by a mutual desire to create a tattoo studio which had minimal traffic, but yet retained a strong and devoted customer base.  Through these similar desires, the pair managed to team up and create San Jose, California’s State of Grace Tattoo.

The shop runs on basic principles, mainly that advertising is kept to a minimum, word of mouth style and that the clientele base is more along the lines of those who trust the artist to create something wholly original than those who want a tattoo of Yosemite Sam or say, an iPhone.

Also, as of May 2006, Jill has received the honorary title Horiyuki from master Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi III.  To have this honor bestowed on her is something that Jill finds motivating but also quite intimidating.  Well, if her portfolio is any indication of what can be expected from Jill’s artistic abilities, I’d say that she has nothing to worry about at all.

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