I got my scorpion tattoo in 2002. It’s made directly after a flash on the tattoo studio’s wall. The tattoo studio quit a long time ago, as the artist retired from his job. I also remember the price of the scorpion, which was 50 euros exactly. My workmate persuaded me for a long time to get a tattoo and said I should do it, as I’m clearly fascinated by the idea. I had just got my first proper job and had some extra money, so I decided to have a small tattoo so that the idea would stop haunting me. But as you can see, it became a habit. So, a friend pressured me into this hobby!
On my both arms I have memorial tattoos dedicated to my cat Lumppis and my dog Manta. The cat is all grayscale except the eyes that are bright green. I wanted to include the green as a detail, as he had exceptionally beautiful, green eyes. My tattooist said this was the first portrait she had ever done. Of course, I was a bit nervous, as she said that right before tattooing. But I’m very pleased with the result.
Manta was a pitch-black dog, so I wanted her memorial tattoo to be something else than a traditional portrait. I’ve always loved the song Ilona by Apulanta (link), and this quote was the first one I had in mind when planning this tattoo after Manta’s death in 2010. This tattoo has aged during the years, and the text has become a bit blurry. I also have here the four paws that I got after my other cat, Herkko, died. I wouldn’t say these are tombstones in particular, but these pets have been so important to me that I want to honor their memory in this way. They are all such personal creatures that leave a mark on your heart forever.
My leg tattoo is a home-made product. I hold no grudges, but clearly something has gone wrong in here – it has faded such a great deal, for example. If the price is low, the ink you’ll get will be cheap as well, that’s the name of the game. Nowadays I think that If you have a chance to get a quality tattoo, it’s worth paying a little extra.
The ankle was the most painful place to tattoo. I was just sitting peacefully there on the tattoo bench, and I think the tattooing machine hit a nerve or something. As a result, my leg cramped, and I kicked the tattooist by accident. He just said with a great calmness in his voice “perkele (in English: goddammit), I’ll tie you in this chair with cable ties if I have to, but you’ll stay here until the tattoo is ready”. He was such a nice man, and luckily, he didn’t even get mad despite me kicking him!
First, there were only these paws, and the original idea was to add some vines climbing around them. I have no idea how to fix this, maybe with a cover-up that has a little color in it. I’d like to have more stability between my left side and the right side. At this point, I have more stuff on my left side, so I’d like to have more tattoos on my right side in order to get more balanced.
The fairy is also home-made, as you can see. With this tattoo I attended a tattoo removal competition, where they sought as poor-quality tattoo as possible. The first prize was a laser removal of the old tattoo and a cover-up on top of it. I ended up in the finals but didn’t win, so apparently, this isn’t so bad after all, haha! One tattoo artist has been trying to fix this over the years. This is all spread up and probably made in the wrong depth in the first place. Luckily this is on my back, where I can’t see it myself, so it’s not a big issue. I guess this was made over ten years ago.
On my shoulder there’s also this kind of solution. You really can tell this is a cover-up. There used to be a lightning tattoo before I had it covered. I guess the tattoo artist who made this cover tattoo felt a little sorry for me as he saw the original image. He only said well, it looks like the previous tattooist was in a hurry when he made this. This tattoo isn’t ready yet, and I’ve been planning to have more skulls here.
Originally, I had lianas on my arm, but the tattoo faded so much during the years that in the end people started to ask me what it was supposed to represent. I wasn’t fascinated by mandala-themed tattoos at first, but I then decided to have a color tattoo for a change and thought this kind of pattern suited with colors quite well. After all, we’re not talking about neon colors here, so I think the image fits quite nicely with my other tattoos also. You can clearly see the line where the cover tattoo ends and where the next cover tattoo is going to begin. I have no idea for the next tattoo yet. I’d like to have something different, but whenever I get an idea on my mind, I feel like at least thousand people have come up with the same idea before me.
Even though I have these home-made tattoos that need to be fixed, I’ve never regretted any of them. After all, they are all marks of the life I have lived. I just went and did it, that’s my attitude. On the contrary, I sometimes regret if I have had a nice tattoo design in mind, and for some reason I haven’t carried out the idea. People always say every tattoo has a story, but I only have few tattoos that have a certain story behind them. For example, these roses are here just because they look so nice.
I have a low tolerance for pain, but I always think that whenever I sit on the tattoo bench, the quieter I’ll stay, the quicker the tattoo will be ready. In general, my point of view is that I’m not there to open up about my life to the artist – I think a psychiatrist is the better person for that purpose. I have told my current tattoo artist that if she feels like asking something about my other tattoos, of course she may ask, but otherwise I’ll let her do her job in peace, without having to listen to me chatting.
I can’t even remember all my tattooists, but the butterfly was the first one that was made by my current tattoo artist Terhi. The portrait of Lumppis and the mandala cover tattoo in my arm are also by her. Originally, I was going to see other tattoo artist, but he had so many customers waiting that he didn’t take any more appointments at that point. So, I browsed the portfolios of other tattoo artists and liked Terhi’s style immediately. I rather choose my tattooist by artist, not by the tattoo studio. Of course, the studio also matters, as I like to be tattooed in a relaxed atmosphere, where artists really focus on what they’re doing. I don’t enjoy noisy environment.
I used to work as a laboratory assistant, but I’d like to re-educate myself as a practical nurse. I’m aware that in some workplaces, tattoos and piercings can be a problem. I’m sure it pretty much depends on the attitudes at the workplace, whether tattoos will be an issue or not. They have nothing to do with professional skill, anyway. But still, when you work in the service sector, you have to be prepared that if you look different, you will hear about it – people will always comment your looks.
I’ve been seriously thinking that I could have a small facial tattoo at some point. Even if tattoos would affect my chances to get a job in the future, it seems like I’m ready to take the risk. I think that I’ll rather be unemployed and tattooed than working in a bad environment without any tattoos. I like to think that you don’t always have to dance to someone else’s tune. It would be quite a task to take off all your piercings and dress in padded overalls every day just to be sure your tattoos would stay hidden and no-one would get upset.
It’s quite surprising that I have encountered many elderly people that are very liberal towards tattoos. Once I met this older lady, who came to admire my tattoos and said how great it was that I’ve had the guts to get these, as she didn’t have enough courage to get tattooed herself. She felt like she was too old to have tattoos. I think it’s a shame that some people think that way. After all, we’re all here for a limited time, so you shouldn’t waste yours by thinking you don’t dare or you don’t have enough courage to do something.
As you can see from my tattoos, I consider myself as an unfinished project. My tattoos have been fixed over the years and will be fixed more in the future. Every time I’m going to get a new tattoo, I think dammit, it’s going to hurt again. But in the end, the tattooing only lasts for a small period of time, and as soon as it’s done, the pain will also come to an end. There aren’t many finished projects on my skin yet, but we’re getting there.