03/26/2009 at 04:10 PM EDT
's eclectic tattoo collection are a cluster of stars
on the back of her neck (later matched by Chris Brown) and a Maori-inspired tribal mark
on her right wrist. But new amongst them is a gun on her right side that represents strength, says New York-based tattoo artist BangBang, 23, who came to Rihanna's home in Hollywood to do the new work on Thursday, March 19.
"She has a necklace that I love that I saw about a year ago," BangBang tells PEOPLE. "I was like, 'You should get a little gun tattooed on you. Then when I was in L.A. to tattoo her friend – she brought me there for his birthday as a gift to him – she wanted to get a tattoo and I brought the gun out again and I stuck it on there and she loved it."
The singer and the artist had also considered putting guns on her shoulders, but BangBang says "she's very beautiful and it took away from her face a little bit."
Guns are not the first contribution of BangBang's to Rihanna's collection of body art. "I haven't done all of her tattoos but the majority," he says, adding that they initially got acquainted when "she saw a tattoo I did of Freddy Krueger. She loves Freddy Krueger so she tracked me down and I did the tattoo on her hip. That was the first one."
And it won't be the last. The pair have another design in mind, "something along the lines of a very soft, light grey [tattoo] that will be blended into her skin," he says. "She loves getting tattoos. They mean a lot to her."
As for how Rihanna is doing now, BangBang says, "She's doing great. She's having a blast. She's on top of the world right now. Everybody loves her and supports her and she's got great friends. She's very tough and she's got more than enough people around her that if she needed anything, she's got it in a heartbeat."