Christina Perri’s Tattoos
Singer and songwriter Christina Perri has over 60 tattoos. “They’re pretty much everywhere. I’ve got one in every direction you look — between my fingers, on my arms, on my chest, on my back, all over,” she says. Both of Christina’s arms are covered with many tattoos. She started mainly with smaller pieces when she was younger but has added some larger ones recently. Though the tattoos were done over a period of 10 years, part of what gives it a cohesive look is that virtually all of her tattoos are done in black and red ink.
With so many tattoos, there are a few recurring themes. Christina has many tattoos representing her italian heritage including a flag, a map of Italy, and two sayings in Italian. She has three works of art: Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel painting, a design from graffiti artist Bansky, and a painting by contemporary artist Audrey Kawasaki. Her love of music is represented through tributes to The Beatles and Johnny Cash as well as symbols like a guitar and two treble clefs. She has tattoos for three different books: Twilight, The Alchemist, and Stargirl. She’s inked her love for both her hometown of Philadelphia and her new home Los Angeles.
Most of Christina’s tattoos were done by artist Reverend Mike in Pennsylvania, but since moving to Los Angeles she’s been seeing Taka Tamada at Body Electric Tattoo. She was extremely impressed by the work of Kat Von D, who did a large piece on her forearm. “I kind of can’t believe that you can take a painting and tattoo it on you perfectly, but she did an incredible job,” Christina says.
Christina started getting tattooed at a very young age. Her initial interest was sparked by her desire to imitate her older brother Nick Perri, a heavily tattooed guitarist who previously played in the band Shinedown and now owns his own tattoo shop. “I started when I was 15 because my big brother had one when he was 15. So I remember turning 15 and saying ‘ok it’s my turn.’ Even though maybe I wouldn’t have, but because he’s my big brother and I want to do everything he does, I insisted that I get one.” After that, she was hooked. “I just fell in love with the art of it, the self-expression,” she says.
Christina’s family haven’t always been the biggest supporters of her ink, but now they have come around. “My family was opposed to my tattoos when I got them from 15 to 23, but now that I’m doing well they tell me that they are cute,” she says. Christina has many tattoos in honor of her family including “mom” and “papa” on her arm and “La Mia Famiglia”–Italian for “My Family”–on her chest. She also shares a few matching tattoos with family members like the music note on her foot that she got with her mother and the Italian flag design on her ankle which her brother and father also have.
All of Christina’s tattoos have personal meaning and stories behind them. “I get them all the time either when I’m inspired by something, by someone, or I want to remember a part of my life, or do something crazy — there’s so many stories for each of them. It would probably take all day to explain them all,” she says.
Christina keeps adding more and more tattoos. “I haven’t stopped for 10 years. Every like six weeks or month or two months I always get a new one,” she says. She comes up with an idea and then feels like has to get it. “When I get a tattoo it’s pretty spontaneous, and it’s kinda a thing where I think about it and then I’m not satisfied until I get it, so it kinda happens really quickly.”
So what are all of her tattoos? Keep reading for the explanations of over 50 of Christina Perri’s tattoos.
Right Arm Sleeve
On Christina’s right shoulder is a woman hanging upside down on the Moulin Rouge windmill. Christina told AOL “On my shoulder is a painting of a french woman on the Moulin Rouge with armpit hair. My mom hates it. She thinks it’s satanic.” The Moulin Rouge is a famed cabaret in Paris as well as the setting for the 2001 movie of the same name, Christina’s favorite film. She’s confessed to a crush on actor Ewan McGregor and she cites “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return” from the movie as her favorite quote.
“1776” is tattooed on the inside of her left arm, right below her armpit. She hasn’t spoken about the personal significance of this tattoo, but 1776 is the year in which the United States signed the Declaration of Independence. The declaration was signed in Christina’s home town of Philadephia, PA, so this tattoo may be a reminder of Philly.
Beneath 1776 are the words “to thine own self be true,” written in the blurry typewriter font which has been used on all of her album covers. This quote comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. It is Polonius’s final advice to his son Laertes. Christina told The SF Examiner “Especially in this day and age, and in the music business itself, they’re words to live by.”
Christina got this tattoo as a symbol of how lucky she is to be able to be herself, especially in the music industry which is known for trying to fit artists into molds. Christina was fortunate to have been signed after she’d already proven herself with the success of “Jar of Hearts,” so her label told her to just keep doing what she was doing. She explains: “This [tattoo] means a lot to me because when I signed my record deal with Atlantic, there was this window where they could have changed me. You know, like put me in a box and changed my hair and changed my songs and told me to be this way. And I very much was against that and felt very strongly about being completely who I am, the girl who wakes up everyday, and this is just me, everyday. So kind of to remind myself I got this tattoo then.”
Wrapping around Christina’s arm is a red line which crosses right beneath the “1776” and is anchored on both ends by musical symbols. At first she had only the star at the top end, but then added this doodle of a guitar.
At the bottom end of the line is a treble clef with a star.
Christina has the signature of legendary country singer Johnny Cash on her left arm. “I love him as a person, not just as an artist,” she told Atlantic records.
On the outside of her left upper arm are the words “Roccia e Rullo,” which is a literal translation of “rock and roll” into Italian. Above it is another signature which I cannot decipher.
Christina and two friends all got Friday the 13th tattoos from artist Adam Daniel on September 13, 2013. Each friend got a unique design and Christina’s has a number 13 behind held up by a hand with puppet strings like the logo of The Godfather, one of her favorite movies. It is a tradition that many tattoo parlors offer discounted tattoos on Friday the 13th if the tattoo contains a number thirteen in it.
In January 2012, Christina and her family had their nicknames for each other inked. Christina and her brother Nick both got their nicknames for their father: Christina has “Papa” in a red heart while Nick has “The Captain.” Their dad, Dante Perri, got the nicknames for all of his children: “Goomba” for Nick, “Babycake” for Christina, and “Babby” for Christina’s sister. They got the tattoos done at Perri Ink in Los Angeles, the tattoo parlor that her brother owns.
In March 2013 Christina got this “Cannoli > Gun” tattoo on the back of her right elbow which is a matching tattoo. It’s a reference the the movie “The Godfather” in which the character Peter Clemenza says “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” It is also one of many nods to her Italian heritage as cannolis are a popular Italian dessert pastry.
Christina Perri has matching “Mom” and “Me” tattoos on the insides of her elbows. “Mom” is on the left elbow and “Me” in the right. Unfortunately her mother doesn’t like it!
Below her left elbow Christina Perri has the detail of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” from the Sistine Chapel. The painting depicts God reaching out to touch the spark of life into Adam. She was so taken aback by seeing this painting in person that she had it tattooed on herself: “I spent some time in Italy and I saw it – like with my own eyeballs – but you can’t take a picture of it, so I remember being like ‘ok I’m gonna put that on my arm when I get home'”
Beneath it is a cracked red heart. “I got this in January of 2012, I remember, because I locked my heart up. I quit love for 100 days because I realized I’d had a boyfriend my whole life since like kindergarten — which is good for writing material but then all of a sudden I really needed to focus on my career. So I quit love and I got that,” Christina says. The heart has has been broken down the middle and sewn back together to represent all of Christina’s heartbreak, “It kinda signifies my heart, like it’s a little bit cracked and ripped and stitched.” The center of the heart has a keyhole because “somebody has the key, I just don’t know who.”
Christina has a large portrait on her forearm done by celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D. It is the painting ‘My Dishonest Heart’, which is Christina’s favorite painting by artist Audrey Kawasaki.
She relates to this painting because she wears her heart on her sleeve. She told WRMF “It’s just this really pretty girl with an exposed heart and I feel like that’s me, like how I live my life with my heart out in the front.” On LA Ink she explained why she was drawn to the character’s face. “She’s got this look on her face like you don’t know if she’s gonna punch you or if she’s gonna cry…And that’s where I feel like I’m at in my own life.”
This tattoo on Christina Perri’s right arm (just above her ‘bitten’ tattoo) is a cartoon drawing of herself and Jason Mraz which was drawn by Jason. He sent the illustration to Christina in a Christmas card and jokingly labeled it “your next tattoo” — but she actually went through with it!
Christina Perri is a huge fan of Stephanie Meyers’ “Twilight” book series, and had the word “bitten” tattooed on her right wrist in the Twilight font. Below it is the Italian flag, a nod to Christina’s heritage.
Christina had her dreams come true when she got to write a song (“A Thousand Years”) for the Breaking Dawn soundtrack, but her tattoo predates her involvement with the Twilight franchise. She’s had it since 2009 and she told MTV “I’ve been a really big Twilight for years, since the books came out…I basically got this tattoo right when I read the books and became totally obsessed with the series…I just loved the story from day one.”
Why “bitten”? It’s a reference to a vampire’s bite but also how Christina was infected with Twilight-love. She connected with the story because she read the books when she had just been divorced and was going through a tough time. “The word ‘bitten’ is in the font of the Twilight books, and I got it to solidify my obsession with the book. I thought I was ‘bitten’ with the obsession of the series…and the love story…and I still am,” she says.
On the outside of her wrist are the words “Nothing is Random.” This saying was a on a Christmas card which she got from Jason Mraz, one of her favorite singers.
Left Arm Sleeve
On her shoulder, Christina has a simplified version of the “LA” logo for Los Angeles. This logo is used by the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, but for Christina it’s just about the love of the city. She told Radio Alice “I got the letters LA, which is kinda terrible and I feel bad for Philadelphia. I didn’t mean to have an LA tattoo, but it just kinda happened with my best friend who’s from LA, and it was kinda like a friendship tattoo where we got matching tattoos and she drew mine and I drew hers.” Christina is from Philadelphia but moved out to Los Angeles to pursue her music career, while her friend is from Los Angeles but had moved away.
Christina said she felt bad for Philadelphia because of her LA tattoo, but she has a tattoo to represent her hometown as well. Along her bicep is the outline of the Philadelphia skyline. Because she has tattoos for both cities, she joked “I’m calling it my destination arm.”
Christina has a portrait of her French bulldog Lexi on her arm, which she got so that “she’ll never leave me.” Lexi passed away in May 2012 and Christina got the tattoo a few weeks later. When Lexi died, Christina wrote “rest in peace now, lexi perri, our sweet sweet girl. we’ll always love you. thank you for 16 years of your love.”
Christina Perri got Christmas tattoo of a bough of holly or mistletoe on her elbow in November 2013.
Christina has few tattoos on the back of her arms, but one exception is the writing just above her left elbow which says “to the luna” meaning “to the moon.”
On her forearm is “maktub,” an arabic word meaning “it is written.” It is used in the novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Some time in 2013 Christina got a a black line that goes all the way around her arm.
Christina got a quarter on her arm for her 25th birthday to celebrate having lived a quarter century. “A lady liberty antique quarter for my 25 years of living,”she wrote. This particular coin is a Standing Liberty quarter, which is an old version of the United States quarter minted from 1916 to 1930.
On her wrist is the logo from Jerry Spinelli’s 2000 book Stargirl, which she got in February 2012.
Christina’s second tattoo is of the names of The Beatles – John, Paul, George, and Ringo – wrapped around her left wrist. Christina got this tattoo when she was only 15 and was attending a Catholic school where she expected the tattoo to be forbidden, but she lucked out through a fortunate mistake. “The funny story is that when I was in high school I wasn’t allowed to have any tattoos. I went to Catholic school. And my teacher came over when I was writing and he lifted up my arm and I instantly thought I was busted. And he was like ‘John Paul, the Pope?’ And I was like ‘Yes.’ And he was like ‘oh, very good’ and he put my arm down and he just never turned it over and saw George or Ringo.”
Christina has obviously been a Beatles fan for a long time and still cites them as her number one musical influence.
Christina got a cheeseburger tattooed on her wrist in January 2014. It is one of very few tattoos that she has in full color.
Chest & Torso Tattoos
Christina’s chest piece expresses her loves for both her family and her Italian heritage. It says “La Mia Famiglia” which is Italian for “My Family.” The words are written in a decorative script accented with swirls and with asterisks as dots on the I’s. Christina told AOL “My favorite tattoo is the one on my chest. My family means the world to me … and I remember that every single day just looking in the mirror.”
Although this tattoo is Christina’s favorite, her family aren’t fans. She told radio station WRMF “unfortunately they hate it. But I’ve always wanted a cool chest piece. And I thought about what would I want on my heart forever. I love my family the most.”
Christina has “ti amo” written on her throat, which means “I love you” in Italian.
In February 2012 Christina tattooed a red balloon on her shoulder with the words “sometimes you need to let things go” forming the string of the ballon.
Christina has “WAR” behind her left ear and “IS OVER!” behind her right. This tattoo is inspired by one of Christina’s musical idols John Lennon. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono rented billboards around the world reading “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko” in 1969 during the Vietnam war. Two years later, with the war still going strong, they released the single “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
The ankh symbol on the back of Christina’s neck was her very first tattoo, which she got when she was only 15. Unlike most of her tattoos, there’s no special meaning behind it. Christina told Face Culture “I have no reason, I mean I don’t know why I did that. But when I was 15 I wanted it.” The ankh is the Egyptian hieroglyph for eternal life.
On her back is an image of a skull wearing a military helmet. Its right eye is covered with an eye patch in the shape of a peace sign.
Christina added the words “we can be heroes” on back in October 2012. This a line from David Bowie’s song “Heroes” on the soundtrack of the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, adapted from the popular book.
The silhouette on Christina’s left side is the largest of all of her tattoos. The image is “Balloon Girl” by grafitti artist Banksy, which shows a young girl being carried away by the balloons which she is holding. The artwork has special meaning to Christina: “It’s a girl holding the eight black balloons. It signifies my eight wishes — I made eight lifetime big wishes. The little girl is like me,” she told Popeater.
This tattoo involves more ink than any of her others, and was subsequently the most painful. “I got it on my whole side, which was such a nightmare because it’s all solid black … I was in such pain. It was like six hours, and 25 minutes into it, I was like, ‘Why did I do this?’ But I had to finish. It’s really silly when you’re in it, and it takes like a whole day, but then you’re like, ‘Oh right, ’cause it looks awesome.'”
In October 2012 she covered the writing above her Banksy tattoo with something new, though we’re not sure what the old or new writings say. She captioned the above photo “covering up the past.”
On her right side is the word “karma” written vertically in large letters. Christina got this tattoo only a few days after her debut single “Jar Of Hearts” was played on “So You Think You Can Dance,” skyrocketing her to fame. The tattoo represents good karma for Christina finally achieving the success she deserved and bad karma for the hurtful ex-boyfriend whom she wrote “Jar of Hearts” about. It is in the font of the “Jar of Hearts” single cover, which became the font used for all of her album covers. Explaining its large size, Christina told KLLC-FM “I got that with my two best friends – who got it very, very little – and I had to be all badass and get it big, but that’s just how I roll.”
On Christina’s hip is a tattoo which looks to be a crescent moon, but it is rarely shown.
Hand & Finger Tattoos
In January 2013, she tattooed the Italian words “Capo” and “Nodo” on the insides of her fingers. On her instagram she asked “which one do you trust?” It seems that the two words mean “head” and “heart,” though from what I can tell “nodo” more literally translates to “knot” or “junction.”
Christina has the word “POWERLESS” tattooed along the side of her middle finger. College Times writes that she got this tattoo “as a reminder that she can’t control everything that happens in her life.”
Christina has a penguin on the side of her left hand below her pinkie, which is a matching tattoo. Christina loves penguins and even has a song called “Penguin” on her album lovestrong. “I’m a hopeless romantic and penguins I think are the most romantic, cutest little animals,” she explains. “Somewhere in the world there is another one, one someone’s hand so that when we hold our hands together it makes a heart. So this is just half of a tattoo.”
Christina has a small treble clef on her left thumb. This is one of two treble clef tattoos on her body and is a symbol of her love for music.
On the ring finger of her left hand Christina has a peace sign in the shape of a heart.
Christina got a tattoo of a crown on her right ring finger some time in 2013.
On Christina’s right hand is a solid black triangle.
Christina has initials tattooed on both of her palms. On her right hand is a letter “N” and on her left hand is “ST”.
Legs & Feet
Christina has a tattoo of a bow on the back of her right thigh. For all of the tattoos on her arms, Christina’s legs have remained relatively tattoo-free. Perhaps that will change when she runs out of space on her arms.
On Christina’s ankle is a tattoo representing her family’s Italian-American heritage. Christina’s father was born in Italy and Christina has spent some time in Italy though she was born in America. The tattoo is a map of Italy in the colors of the Italian flag on top of an American flag. It says “Perri” at the top and other members of her family also have this design.
She later added on to her ankle tattoo with grape vines wrapping around her ankle. Italy is one of the top producers of grapes for wine-making.
On her right foot is the logo for the MINI car company. Christina drives a MINI and got to collaborate with the brand on a promotional campaign in 2011. MINI wrote “For Perri, getting together with MINI was a no-brainer: it’s her favorite car. Not only has she been a MINI owner since 2004, but the car features prominently in the new music video for her single “Arms.” She’s even got the MINI logo tattooed on her foot. Now that’s real devotion.”
On the side of her right foot is a little cartoon man.
Christina and her mother got matching music note tattoos on their feet in December 2013, which was her mother’s first tattoo. “I can not believe my perfect little mother is now part of the tattooed club!!!!!” Christina wrote.
Christina tattooed the words “hold good” on the back of her ankles in June 2012.
sources: College Times, AOL Popeater, Radio Alice / 97.3 FM KLLC, 97.9 FM WRMF, LA Ink (YouTube), the San Francisco Examiner, MTV, VH1, VH1 (video), N-Joy, interview, Face Culture, Koeln, Spin, Daily Record, and Instagram.
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