Say you want a tattoo—something tasteful, clever, a conversation piece even—but the thought of lying down in a grungy saloon on St. Marks Place makes you more lightheaded than a long needle. Now there’s a place for you: the bright, spa-like Friday Jones Fifth Avenue run by self-described “couture” tattoo artist Friday Jones, located inside Senses NY Salon & Spa in the Flatiron district. Though Jones herself is, as they say, “sleeved” on both arms and once toured with the band Queens of the Stone Age, her client list is heavy on professionals, Hollywooders and social types. Jones is the one who gave Angelina Jolie a hidden Billy Bob tattoo back in the day, and she also recently inked Lydia Hearst.
So what’s a “couture” tattoo? We’re offering excellent craftmanship-—I’m a classically-trained artist—in a serene spa environment. You can get a massage beforehand. Also, I’ve partnered with a doctor so we can get you anesthesia or even a Vicodin.
Tell us about the process of getting a Friday Jones tattoo. First, we have a consultation to talk about why you want to get tattooed and where you want it. Then I start sketching on the body—I worked as a sketch artist in Hollywood for film so I can draw very quickly. Then we lay Saran Wrap over and I trace what I’ve done on the body and refine it. Next, we have a tattoo review—it’s just like an art review at an ad agency. Maybe you want it smaller or larger, something like that. Then we go straight to the job. Some of the more heavily-tattooed people are like “Oh, we’re just going to drop by!” But once I explain the process, they’re like, “I want my glass of Chardonnay!”
How much does a tattoo with you typically cost? Women usually spend between $125 and $300; men usually spend between $250 and $700 or $800.
Tell us about the tattoo you gave Angelina. I did her secret Billy Bob tattoo when he was still with Laura Dern in public. I didn’t want to do it but I finally broke down and gave it to her. I watered down the black so it would be easier to remove. And wouldn’t you know, within two days, Timothy Hutton proposed to her after she got it done! I’m not opposed to tattooing names, but you have to have a philosophy around it for the future.
You also did one for Robbie Williams, right? I did the music for “All You Need is Love” on his back. It was hard to tattoo those bloody straight lines on such a tight, muscular back! You can see it on the cover of his album, Escapology.
How did Lydia Hearst become a client? Lydia and all her hot boyfriends got the same tattoo at my friend’s shop. So she had this key on her wrist but it was washed out so I zhuzhed it up. I added some white down the middle to give it a little dimension, kind of just tricked it out.
Where did you learn how to tattoo? In Jacksonville, Florida, which is a great place to learn because there are three navy bases. I did tons of Tasmanian devils and skulls there.
Finally, what would you recommend for a girl who wants a tattoo, but isn’t ready to commit to a major statement? We’re really pushing white tattoos, which are super subtle, like a birthmark. I’m a sorority girl, Delta Gamma, and my girlfriends wanted tattoos but they didn’t want them to be black. White tattoos are high maintenance—there’s a thicker pigment and sometimes you have to come in again to get it to look more vivid, but for my market, it’s great.
Friday Jones Fifth Avenue opens on June 16.
Click HERE to see the tattoo on director Zack Snyder (Watchmen)