An Interview with Joa Antoun

Photos by: Charbel Karam
Interview by: Jenn Lee

Joa Antoun is a young Lebanese Tattoo artist who started tattooing in 2011 while working on a graphic design degree. She continued tattooing during her time at university because she says, “I wanted to put something on someone’s body that they could carry for the rest of their lives. I could affect people in such a personal and interesting way by giving them a tattoo that was meaningful both to them and to me.” After graduating and starting in her graphic design career she later traveled to Istanbul to apprentice under a few professional tattoo artists. She has returned to Istanbul several times and traveled to other countries to serve guest spots, tattooing clients from all over the world. She opened her studio in Beirut, where she calls home. She is known throughout the region for her very fine, delicate lifework and acute attention to detail. She’s been Voted #2 as one of the “Best Places You Can Get A Tattoo In Lebanon” by (Sept 2017) 

Joa also offers free Breast cancer reconstruction tattoos. After a personal and extremely emotional experience with a breast cancer survivor, she began offering free tattoos as either a realistic nipple tattoo or a design that would conceal the scar. All of this is offered for free in the goal to refresh the woman's faith in herself again. 

Joa says “Art has always been an integral part of my life, a passion that permeates everything that I do. As a tattoo artist, I get to bring that love of art to life and share it with so many people. This is why Joa Antoun Tattoos stand out.”

What is it like being a female in the middle East tattooing? In the beginning, it was hard because the entire concept of tattooing was something new to the middle east. But with time it got better.


You mentioned you did your apprentice in Turkey and recently traveled to Egypt to do a guest spot. What are the different tattoo trends in these areas?
I do travel a lot around attending conventions all around Europe not only in Turkey. In Egypt they like old Egyptian symbols and Arabic calligraphy designs, moreover they don't like colored tattoos and that is normal since their skin is darker and colors look better on lighter skin. In Europe, they like more geometric shapes and colored tattoos.


Does Lebanon, Turkey or Egypt have any tattoo conventions? If no why do you think?
All the above-mentioned countries do have conventions. In Lebanon, we have two to three conventions that happen every year and a lot of international tattoo artists attend these conventions every year.

You mention you have a degree in graphic design. Do you still work in this medium?
Yes, I do I have my own graphic design company that has also expanded to handle digital media as well. We have a photography studio and a creative team that handles everything related to that.


Did you learn design tricks in graphic design that allowed you to tattoo more effectively? If so what are some of them?
Yes, I believe that everything that is related to the designer programs that helped me design concepts and to be able to assort fonts and designs... 


Do you do some fun small scripts which can be really challenging? Sure, the small scripts nowadays are becoming a trend and I don't find them challenging since I love doing small details. 

Who are some of the tattoo artists that inspired you and why?
The first tattoo artist that inspired me is Eva Krbdk because she proved to me that small designs can be done and perfectly as I imagined them to be.

What is your favorite style of tattoo to do?
At the beginning, small details and small tattoos were my favorite because they were a challenge for me. However, now my favorite style is using colored portraits and the details in these portraits. I am working on my skills and attending many seminars to perfect it even more.

You have some Arabic calligraphy on your Instagram account.
For sure I have Arabic calligraphy. I am currently learning how to do calligraphy design as well. Most Arabic Calligraphy found on my page is done by my instructor who is teaching me how to do Arabic calligraphy. He is very famous not only in Lebanon but also in Europe and his name is Ghaleb Hawila (Instagram: g.hawila ). My aim is to integrate the Arabic calligraphy with western designs.

Wanna see more from Joa? Check out these links below!


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