“I Didn’t Realize She Had Such a Hard Time”: Rihanna’s Tattoo Artist Weighs In

Rihanna’s giving a whole new meaning to “no pain, no gain.”

The Barbadian songstress underwent a cringe-inducing tattoo process while visiting New Zealand Wednesday, but instead of the usual needle and ink, it involved more unconventional tools — a chisel and mallet.

But the grimacing pain is all part of the spiritual experience, the ink artist told Celebuzz.

And RiRi wanted to get rid of the negativities of her past — and she was open about her ex, Chris Brown, being part of those memories she’d like to forget.

“I didn’t realize she had such a hard time,” said artist Inia Taylor.

“Apparently, she had such an asshole of a boyfriend she said. The tattoo is just a reminder of the things in the past. Lord knows, she overcame a lot of that shit.”

The traditional Maori design process uses the ancient language of Ta Moko and aren’t just works of art. They have a much deeper meaning.

“It’s not about getting a tattoo, it’s a ceremony,” he added. “Tattoos aren’t fashion. They are a way to get rid of pain in your life. You have to create pain to get over pain.”

Before they got to work on her hand, the 25-year-old superstar and the artists collaborated on the design of the ancient symbols and said a traditional prayer.

“The symbols involved are of dreams, hope, aspirations and navigation with Polynesian stars on her fingers,” said Taylor, who was introduced to RiRi through New Zealand musician Tiki Taane.

And if her on-camera scowl (or blood) wasn’t bad enough, believe it or not, Taylor and Rihanna actually wanted to do something bigger (eek!), but didn’t have enough time before the “We Found Love” singer had to catch a flight to her next stop on the “Diamonds” world tour.

No matter the size, her newest hand markings are a rite of passage, according to Taylor. And despite the pain of her past she wants to forget, the tattoo is meant to remind her of how much she’s grown and what she wants to become.

“She’s a very brave girl and we applaud her for that,” he said.

“I told her when my family’s in the room, she’s not the only rock star. And she laughed. I actually don’t tattoo rock stars, I only tattoo family. So we consider her family.”

“It’s about stopping, reassessing, you make a mark on yourself, and you leave it behind. It’s a coming of age. It’s a moment to reassess.

“She’s tough and she’s been through pain. And she dealt with it in a majestic and horrible way.”