Cleo Wattenström is a Swedish-American tattoo artist, best known as the former wife of actor Joel Kinnaman. Most of her tattoo designs are based on black and white images. Unlike other contemporary tattoo artists, she creates designs using black and grey inks only, which perfectly complement the Chicano style of art. Her love for art goes back to her childhood when she travelled extensively with her parents, absorbing a variety of cultural and artistic influences. At 14, she decided to explore the possibilities of becoming a professional artist and for that, she gave up her formal education. The youngster started to hone her skills at a local tattoo parlour and later turned her passion into a career. Cleo always gravitated towards unconventional art forms; and hence, she chose to pursue one that people can literally take to their graves. After establishing herself as a tattoo artist and creating a distinguished style, she now owns a tattoo studio. She is also working with an online art dealer.
Childhood & Early Life
Cleo Wattenström was born on June 12, 1992 in Belgium to a couple of Swedish and Ethiopian descents. She fondly calls her mother ‘Kicki’. Even though Cleo grew up primarily in Brussels, she extensively travelled with her parents until they finally settled in Stockholm, Sweden. The family trips exposed her to various cultures and art forms.
At 14, when she was living in Stockholm, she dropped out of high school to pursue her passion for tattoo making. In her interviews, she has mentioned that her drawing skills made it easier for her to learn the craft. Instead of continuing her education in a conventional school, she spent time in searching for a tattoo artist who could mentor her. Meanwhile, Cleo decided to start working so that she could live on her own. Soon, she took up an apprentice’s job at a tattoo salon, which was a perfect fit for the budding artist. Now she exclusively uses black and grey ink to create her signature style of body art. Her current tattoo art style can be attributed to her love for black and white movies and pictures.
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Cleo Wattenström became a professional tattoo artist at a young age. Additionally, she took up modelling assignments, posing for several books of glamour, retro, pin-up, Goth, fashion and horror genres. She also featured on the covers of many local and international fashion journals, including 'Inked’ magazine and 'Tattoo Life' magazine.
Currently, Cleo owns a private tattoo studio called 'Shanti Tattoo,' located in Venice, California while simultaneously working in a Southern California-based tattoo shop. She has partnered with 'Sullen Art Collective' to launch a variety of products, which are inspired by her tattoo designs. Many of her tattoo designs feature celebrities, such as the actress Marilyn Monroe and the painter Salvador Dali.
Family & Personal Life
Cleo Wattenström is the former wife of the Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman. They started dating in 2014 and began to live together soon afterwards. However, Joel was always tight-lipped about the relationship. The duo was first noticed by the media in August 2014, and they got official by the end of the year. Their subsequent marriage remained a secret until Joel decided to spill the beans himself. When he was promoting his upcoming movie 'Suicide Squad' in 2016, he was asked about his girlfriend Cleo by an interviewer. Joel rectified the interviewer by saying "My Wife."
It was revealed on 'The Late Late Show with James Corden’ that Cleo and Joel had a low-profile and quick wedding in early 2016. Joel told Corden that he took Cleo to 'Same Day Marriage' in San Vicente Boulevard, California. A Russian lady there told them if they wanted to get married, she would charge them $435 to officiate it. The very next moment, Cleo and Joel were married. Their relationship did not seem to be affected by Joel's previous, highly publicized affair with actress Olivia Munn. Cleo and Joel got settled in Venice, California and often took romantic trips all over the world. Cleo regularly posted moments from their getaways on her social media platforms.
The couple is no longer together, as they split after two years of marriage. However, sources reveal that the two broke up much before their official split. Even after separating, they maintain a friendly relationship and are often seen together with their group of friends. They once attended a UFC fight together and still comment on each other’s Instagram posts. After his separation, Joel has often been seen hanging out with model Kelly Gale.