The plus and minus was my first tattoo. I had booked the appointment while I was still under age, and got the tattoo a week after I turned 18. First, it was going to be ± Iita, but it would have been so small and blurry that I decided to change the idea. And then I only got this, plus and minus.
Originally plus and minus came from Mariska’s song Matematiikkaa (in English: Mathematics), which tells about how life is all mathematics, but later my friends have been giving new meanings for this tattoo. Like, for example, it can refer to the Duracell Bunny, and plus and minus signs in a battery, as I’m quite energetic. And it can also reflect volume: if I’m being too loud, you can always reduce my volume from here.
The day I met my friend. That sums up pretty much everything about it – we both have the same tattoo on the same spot. She’s one of the people I could get a tattoo for. This tattoo was an 18th -birthday present from my friend Roosa, so these two tattoos are taken within a short period of time.
Then, after a while, I got this Scout tattoo. Actually, this is the first tattoo made by my regular tattoo artist, and from this on all of my tattoos have been made by her. The wood anemone reflects my local group Vuokot (in English: Anemones) that I’ve been a part of for the last 13 years. It’s like the other family for me and it deserves a tattoo because of that. We got tattoos at the same time with my friend Iida. We found Heini (the tattooist) on Instagram and we thought her tattooing style looked nice, so we just asked if she could do a tattoo for both of us. Iida got herself a lily of the valley and I got this anemone, so this is a bit like a friend tattoo, but still not quite.
My only colour tattoo. This is also made by Heini, and a week before my appointment I just said to her “Heini, I’d really like to have a tattoo of rose-coloured, heart-shaped sunglasses” – it was just a whim. Everywhere, when I must tell something about myself, I always tell how I’m looking at the world through rose-coloured, heart-shaped sunglasses. Even if there’s some dirt in your life, you have to remember there are good and lovely things too. This will probably remain as my only colour tattoo. Generally, I have always liked grayscale tattoos, but I just had to get some pink on this one!
I always knew I wanted my brother to design a tattoo for me. Eetu is a graphic designer and he can draw all kinds of horned animals, so I asked him to design a ram for me, since my astrological sign is Aries. Aries describes my personality in all except one thing, which is I’m not an extreme person at all – it’s like, yes, I have a fiery personality, but in Linnanmäki (an amusement park in Helsinki) I’m only willing to go in the coffee cup carousel.
So, my brother sent me million different sketches and showed me some old drawings like “Hey, I’ve got this kind of idea and that kind of idea, what do you think?” and I told him, yes, but could you add some wild flowers in it too? And then he added some violets there also. Earlier my brother had designed a fox with some salmiakki pattern (salmiakki: rhombus-shaped Finnish candy), and then the same design ended up on this ram, too. At first, Eetu designed a colored version of this, so I sent the drawing to Heini and asked if she could make it grayscale. I also asked her to add her own touch to it, so she added some dot work and other things. This ram was the first tattoo she did that was based on someone else’s design. So this is like a fusion between the artworks of my brother and Heini.
After I had taken this tattoo my mother said to me that I should have at least got it on a prettier place. I just told her it is only now that my thigh really is pretty. If in your eyes my thigh wasn’t pretty before, at least now it is pretty. I didn’t think for a second about tattooing this anywhere but on my thigh. It took eight hours to finish this, and it has been the longest set for me. Although this was made in two parts, first the lines and then the rest of it.
I thought for a long time that I didn’t want to have any text on my body, because text tattoos are always a bit of a challenge. But then my friend Iida moved to Tampere and my little sister went to study in Joensuu. I was like, damn, now I have to get Miau (in English: Meow) on my calf. We communicate quite often in this style, hah! And then we added some bluebells around it. At first, I didn’t even think of tattooing my legs, but after I got that ram it was like ok, here we go. And now I have planned to get some balloons and pick’n’mix candies there… That I would just throw some pick’n’mix on the table and whatever comes out of it, the tattoo artist may draw!
This trampoline is a kind of a friend tattoo also. The singer Sanni sings in her song Trampoliini (in English: Trampoline) that “When I’ve drunk too much and it’s no longer fun, you pour water in my glass and tell me that it’s wine” and “When I fall on the asphalt you are my trampoline”. When you’re about to hit the ground, there are always these people to catch you and so they are like your trampolines. And these kinds of people I have in my life. When my little sister left home, I suddenly lost my important support, as we both still lived in our parents’ house. Like, hey, we’ve been fooled, as I was not supposed to leave home yet, but I wasn’t supposed to be left there alone either. Then I got this trampoline for both, my sister Heta and my friend Iida.
At this point, all of my tattoos have a meaning. It’s been easy to begin like that, as I’ve had these situations in my life of which I’ve wanted to have a mark on my skin. I’m interested in this so-called sticker book style, where people have small tattoos around their body. I have planned my left arm to be the place that I collect all these meaningful pictures on. That whenever I feel like, damn, I want to have a coffee bean here, then I would just have a coffee bean there. It doesn’t matter that it won’t be a full sleeve, and it’s okay for it to look like a bit of a jumble. But this other arm is empty because I want to have some kind of unified piece on it. About scouting, nature or coffee.
I’m a barista, and for me, coffee is a big part of life. I know at some point I’m going to get a coffee-themed tattoo, maybe of a coffee plant and flowers and so on. I always had on my bucket list that I wanted to be trained as a barista – that I would take a course by the best barista in Finland, Kalle Freese, or something – and then I applied for a job in Espresso House and got it. I was there for almost a year and became a Senior Barista. Coffee is something I could really talk about for hours, and my friends are all bored of the subject. That’s why I always try to find new people to talk about, like, “Hello, may I talk you a little about coffee?”
I have so many ideas that I want to have tattoos of. But as I still have many years to come, I’ve got to slow down a little and tell myself, hey now, calm down. I love botanical tattoos and dot work, and dot work was actually one of the first styles that I got acquainted with. But I try to avoid mixing up different styles too much. If I ever get that full sleeve, it could include a tent, some spruce forest and a mountain, maybe a ram… and possibly a little color, too! I think the scariest thing in taking a big tattoo is maybe the fact that you really have to commit to the whole thing. But I still have time. It’s something I always try to think about when getting tattoos: Don’t rush. You are 21 years old, you still have plenty of time left.
For me, tattoos are a way to express myself, and I don’t take any tattoos just because they look nice. I always have the idea that I want to create an image of. It’s like, I want to have an anemone, I don’t know what kind of anemone – and then I can just ask Heini to do it how she prefers. I think tattoos are always a work of art, and I want the artist’s touch to be seen on them. It’s the feeling when you’ve found yourself a good tattoo artist whose style you really love – and whose artwork you can always trust.