JUNCTION CITY — Post Malone, the American rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, created quite a buzz with a new tattoo on his face of a bloody buzz saw this past week. It was inked by local artist Ruben Reza from Junction City Tattoo.
Reza, originally from Los Angeles, has known Post Malone and his entourage for four years. During Malone’s Stoney Tour at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas, Reza met him through a mutual tattoo artist. He hit it off with Malone’s road manager and now contacts him whenever a concert is nearby for passes to the show. Malone asks Reza to bring his tattoo equipment along each time.
After Malone’s recent soldout concert at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. — which took place three days after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl 54 win — Reza gave him two new tattoos on site. Malone asked specifically for a bloody buzz saw, the first colored tattoo on his face. Reza also inked a Kansas City Chiefs logo, sans the arrowhead, with autographs from Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes on Malone’s arm.
“That guy is like a sweetheart, a really nice guy,” Reza said of Malone. “For as big as he is and as rich as he is, he’s a regular guy. Very humble.”
Reza has been wowed by the recent attention springing from his work on Malone. Articles about it have appeared on sites such as TMZ, Billboard, and People.
Reza lives in Prosper, Texas but travels to Junction City every ten days. He stays for ten days and then heads back home to his family — roughly two roundtrips a month. Though he works at another shop in Texas, he enjoys traveling here to “tattoo the soldiers — get them some good artwork.”
He and owner Drew De la Fuente go way back, which is how he came to work in Junction City.
Reza started tattooing in November 1990.
“It just fell in my lap,” he said. “My friend was tattooing at his house and got a job at Long Beach Tattoo, and I was his apprentice for two years. Then I apprenticed at the Pike in Long Beach, California at Bert Grimm’s for five months.”
Reza has also worked at Norwalk Tattoo, Sick Dogs Tattoo, and Dark Inks Tattoo.
“My first time here (at Junction City Tattoo) was in December 2018, and I’ve been coming since,” he said.
When asked about his style, Reza said, “black and gray realism is my go-to. It’s so hard to do but comes out smooth and clean. But I can do traditional, Japanese, color work, or whatever. From mild to wild.”
Reza has also inked other names such as comedian Jo Koy, rappers Big Si, Yung Pinch and Matics, Alex Scherff (a minor league pitcher in the Boston Red Sox system), and Canaan Smith, a minor leaguer in the New York Yankees system.
When he’s not performing inkwork, Reza enjoys shooting “and I do some painting here and there. It takes forever, but I like oil (painting).”
Junction City Tattoo opened in January 2018.
“We get a lot of military soldiers and people from out of town,” De la Fuente said.
The team is diverse, and most members play dual roles.
Social media guru Mario Rios said they “divvy up the responsibilities and teamwork makes the dream work.”
“We took the city’s name because it’s a way to help uplift the city and to give other entrepreneurs a dream to look forward to,” De la Fuente said.
The ownership and staff all take an active role in the community.
“We all know how it is. We all come from hard lives,” De la Fuente said.