Pop sensation Shawn Mendes is only 23 years old, but he’s got as much ink as some celebs twice his age. At this point, Mendes has 14 tattoos, and each of them has a special meaning. Have you ever wondered what his body art means?
Mendes’ first tattoo
Back in 2016, Teen Vogue told readers about Mendes’ then-brand-new tattoo. The ink on the inside of the Canadian-born singer’s lower right arm appears to be a guitar from a distance. It is, but there’s more to the story than that. Applied at Chronic Ink Tattoos in Toronto, the fascinating ink also features a stretch of the Canadian skyline, some water-reflected trees, and a visual depiction of a sound wave of his parents saying, “I love you.”
Mendes explained that he spent a year thinking about the potential tattoo before getting inked because he wanted it to be something that would make him happy forever. As he told Ellen DeGeneres, the guitar-shaped tattoo is symbolic of his connection to home, work, and family.
If you want to wear a sound wave tattoo of your own, check out SoundwaveArt. They make tattoos and jewelry that can be played with an app.
More telltale tattoos
Shortly after his maple-scented men’s fragrance debut, Shawn Mendes Signature, the pop singer, told Teen Vogue about the light bulb and blue orchid tattoo that’s inked on the back of his arm. It had not been seen until his “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” video and was done because he wanted to remember his first Oslo tour and that particular time of his life.
In September 2017, Mendes and his mother got matching tattoos on their fingers. Insider explains that the micro tattoos feature elephants because pachyderms are “pretty cool animals” and that mama Mendes is “obsessed” with them.
In December of that same year, Mendes went under the tattoo gun again, this time to have a swallow inked on his right hand. Done by Canadian tattoo artist Livia Tsang, such a bird was traditionally inked on sailors in preparation for a voyage or as a tribute to surviving an ocean journey.
The elephant tattoo Mendes got with his mom is not his only finger tattoo. Look closely, and you can see a small number 8 on the middle digit of his right hand. Hailey Baldwin explains in W magazine that the eight represents his lucky number, his birthday month, and his 2018 Met Gala date. Whether or not Baldwin’s current husband, Justin Bieber, appreciates the tat is anyone’s guess.
Visible in Mendes’ “Lost in Japan” video is a tiny tat on the inside of the singer’s right wrist. Look closely, and you’ll see that it’s a line drawing of a meditating man. According to Insider, the tattoo matches a one worn by his good friend, Brian Craigen, and reminds Mendes to remain calm, especially when he doesn’t have time to use the Calm app to squelch his anxiety.
“I had definitely sat down a couple of times and done a meditation on YouTube, but it really wasn’t until about two and a half years ago, when I was going through a really tough time and had a lot of anxiety, that I started using it regularly.”
Even more Mendes tats
In 2019, Mendes saw a fan-edited image of himself with a butterfly tat and liked it so much, he asked the fan, Mac Dreaper, to send him the original drawing. According to Digitpatrox, Mendes visited his favorite Canadian inker days later and had her apply the fan-drawn butterfly art over his left bicep.
On the back of the same arm, one can see the words “Good Luck.” The meaning is fairly obvious, and he got it in Singapore in October 2019.
Look behind Mendes’ right ear to find the tattoo he got in honor of his only sister, Aaliyah. It’s shaped like the letter “A” and was done by tattoo artist Kane Navasard. In 2020, Mendes paid Navasard for another sister-honoring tattoo that reads “Aaliyah Marie” on the front of his left collarbone.
That same year, fans began to notice another new tattoo that says “Wonder” and is most likely a tribute to his sweetheart, Camila Cabello, who supported him throughout the making of an album by the same name. Mendes’ sunflower tattoo is definitely for Cabello, who’s often said that sunflowers are her favorite.
Earlier this year, Mendes got even more ink, this time beneath the fan-inspired butterfly on his left arm. It says “Good Boy” and may have been inspired by his pet dog, Tarzan. Look to Mendes’ right shoulder to see the word “Fe,” which is the Portuguese word for faith.
With a mere 14 tats, Mendes is not the most-inked pop star around. According to Dragon Skincare, actor Angelina Jolie has at least 20, Adam Levine has more than 30, and Justin Bieber boasts no fewer than 60 separate tattoos.
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