What Guy Fieri and I Have in Common

Full disclosure: I am a tattoo addict. In a good way. Thirty sessions with my artist, a surly dude named X on St. Marks Place in New York City, in my thirty years on this planet. I like the sound of that: 30 in 30.

Given that, I couldn’t have been more excited when I first met Guy Fieri while working on his recent #1 New York Times bestseller, More Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, last fall. But actually I was more in awe of his incredible ink than his status as one of the premiere celebrity chefs in the country.

Later on, at a book event, I went to shake his hand, and despite my suit and tie, he noticed a new tattoo I had gotten since we last saw each other, and we chatted about its meaning.

Fast forward to this month. We’re bearing down on the launch of his new cookbook, Guy Fieri Food, which aside from irresistible recipes, includes original art by Guy’s own tattoo artist, Joe Leonard.

I recently chatted with Joe about his relationship with Guy and the art from the book.

How did you first meet Guy?
I met Guy just after I moved to California from Philadelphia. We met in a restaurant and I remember Guy chatting me up about my tattoos. He showed me some of his, and eventually he made his way to my shop to get tattooed.

What was the first tattoo you designed for him?
I can’t remember what I did on Guy first. It’s been a long time! I can tell you that my favorite is this weird eagle that’s gripping pasta, knives, and cooking utensils in its claws.

What’s the most recent one?
A memorial piece based loosely on Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”

How did you get your start as a tattoo artist?
I became interested in tattooing when I was seventeen. I was inspired by a book of photography called Pigments of Imagination. I got my first tattoo in 1986 and promptly purchased my first set of equipment. After graduating from college I did a formal apprenticeship and then moved to California to open my own shop.

Where did you get inspiration for the images in the book?
My contributions to the book are very stream of consciousness. I was given a lot of freedom to just do my thing, which meant drawing from my own vocabulary. There were some things that Guy definitely wanted to see included, but yeah, mostly I was just getting weird.

How closely did you work with Guy during the process?

I would check in with Guy periodically to show him progress on the illustrations. We have a long history and I’ve done a lot of commercial work for Guy in the past. I guess we didn’t have to do a whole lot of back and forth because our working dynamic is really established.

Guy Fieri Food goes on sale May 3rd. Pre-order your copy today!

2 Responses to “What Guy Fieri and I Have in Common”
  1. olathundey sahuhdi says:

    I love the you cook . if I can just one day be like fieri, am gonna be on top of the word. but to be like you, I believe in putting on your sweet tattoos on my skin.

    man, you are my roll model. I wish you come to Nigeria.

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