Although my tattoos are made one piece at a time during the years, Twin Peaks forms a single, unified theme on my skin. I saw Twin Peaks for the first time somewhere between my junior high and high school years. I’ve spent my youth in a small town where life was mainly drifting without any social group that I could’ve felt I belonged to.
Then Twin Peaks came – a series about a small town where everyone was strange or messed up in their own way. If my history with Twin Peaks was a 100 meters race, the first 10 meters were just pure escapism.
I’ve always loved inspiring people, portraits and especially eyes. My first tattoo, however, is a text tattoo. A friend of mine found his own tattoo studio in 2011. He practiced tattooing for a long time before taking actual customers and wanted to try a text tattoo on my skin. I thought over what could be the quote that I’ve kept saying to myself even in the darkest moments, the so-called tagline of my life – and then it just popped into my head: Fire walk with me.
In a way, I’d say Twin Peaks and its people were my best friends when I was young. I remember walking outside in the evening and waiting for something to happen – that I would also face a major conflict that would push the things forward, and my life would suddenly form a synthesis and I’d have a destination to pursue.
At the same time, it was suffocating to realize that in reality, my imagination doesn’t make a difference to a world around me: if I make a move, it has no effect on anything, and nobody moves their pieces on my table. In a way, it also feels quite demanding to watch the series nowadays, since it brings back the whole past.
The Twin Peaks tattoo on my other leg is a bit different from the others. I wanted to have this mark or brand on my skin, in the same way animals can be branded. Once the animal is marked, people can identify its owner and home in case the animal goes missing. Now that I have this, I will always belong to Twin Peaks in some way.
Albert Camus said that all he knew about morality, he owed to football. For me, the same kind of guideline comes from chess. Like in chess, you have to choose between different paths and possibilities in life – the whole game is based on causal connections. In Twin Peaks, the dualism between good and evil is also in a key role, so I think chess suits perfectly to the same theme.
The portrait tattoo of David Lynch was an easy choice, but I had to arrange some playoffs on my other arm. I was close to get David Bowie tattooed here, but finally, I decided that Nick Cave still has more to offer. You got the vinyl, you got the motherfucking vinyl are something Cave said to me during the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ gig in 2014.
The gig itself was beyond amazing. At some point, he asked the audience “The next song is called Mermaids, do you know this song?” and I shouted, “Yeah, I got the vinyl” from the front row. At first, he didn’t catch what I was saying, so I repeated and added: “and I’ve got a picture of your wife” – there’s a picture of Nick Cave’s wife on the album cover. First, Cave looked at me murderously, and then he burst into laughter.
As the show was coming to its end, they played Stagger Lee, during which Cave pointed at me and said, “And you, you got the motherfucking vinyl”. It must’ve been the greatest compliment I’ve ever heard. I also went to see their gig last year in Athens, where the relationship between Cave and me got completely out of hand. I guess the most significant moment was when Nick Cave lifted my arm, saw my Nick Cave tattoo and showed it to the entire audience. The funny thing is, at the same time I find the whole vinyl quote very Kafkaesque.
Although Franz Kafka can be seen as a sad character in his own way, I love the way he observed the world. He saw the irony of it all, and unfortunately, many of the absurd things he wrote about are nowadays turning into reality. It’s easy to see Kafka as a caricature-like, quivering man who finds himself as a stranger and outsider in this world, who doesn’t belong anywhere and who constantly tries to battle against faceless obstacles and invisible barriers. It’s quite easy to relate to those feelings.
I’m interested in Kafkaesque, occasionally desperate view of the world in general. I’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Culture and Arts, and in the year 2016, I directed a play called Kafkan yökirja (Kafka’s nightbook). Before the premiere, I called my tattooist and told him that Kafka is now such a topical issue that I really have to get a tattoo about him. I guess in a way, it also served as a motivation for the rest of the group – I mean, it would’ve been quite embarrassing if the director was such a hardcore Kafka fan, and then the play would’ve been completely lame! I still don’t want people to compare me to anyone else than myself, but if somebody would someday find something Kafkaesque in my future plays, I certainly won’t be insulted.
The typewriter is a purely symbolic tattoo. I write a lot, and I identify myself and perceive the world through text. I also love old school stuff and old aesthetics overall. Letters and words have always been an important part of my life and will surely remain as such in the future.
Patti Smith is one of the most important women in my life right after my mother. The first time I heard Patti singing Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine in her album Horses, I knew I was in love. For me, Patti Smith is an epitome of a good person. She has both heart and fury, and I find purity and strive for goodness in her way of thinking. Patti Smith is a combination of strength and righteousness that I’d also like to seek for myself.
On my back, I have a tattoo of my youth idol, Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash is a guy who went through everything: loneliness, religious struggles, drug addiction, love… he left lots of great stories behind. His version of the song Hurt was also one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar. Sometimes I think whether I should tattoo other inspiring artists on my back, too, like Iggy Pop and so on. But we shall see.
All my tattoos are made by the same tattoo artist. My tattooist, Joona (link!), is my childhood friend, and we’re both movie fanatics. Usually, I just throw an idea to him and maybe draw a simple sketch of it, and he instantly catches what I’m after. I want to keep the style of my tattoos unified and maintain continuity and certain narrativeness in them. I wouldn’t get tattooed by any other tattooist than him.
They say you are what you eat, but in my opinion, you are what you read, watch and listen to. For me, tattoos represent things I want to carry with me, and at the same time they shape my own way of perceiving the world. Before Twin Peaks came into my life, I used to watch The Bold and the Beautiful together with my grandmother. I guess that if I had a portrait of Ridge Forrester tattooed on my arm instead of Laura Palmer and David Lynch, it would’ve molded my personality in quite a different way.
I still think Twin Peaks is the best series of all time. Even though I may have turned colder and more cynical over the years, Twin Peaks still brings back memories of a certain darkness that felt good and comforting, too. At the same time, Twin Peaks was a series that showed it’s actually quite cool to be weird – take a look at Dale Cooper, for example, who was super cool and yet super weird. It was important to realize the main character doesn’t have to be a tough guy to be cool.
I guess David Lynch has been the greatest reason of why I chose the art path in the first place. Writing, theater, music, and movies are all such a big part of my life thanks to Lynch. Also, it was through his art that I got acquainted with visual arts, such as the artwork by René Magritte and Francis Bacon.
All in all, it’s difficult to put the meaning of David Lynch into words. The style, aesthetics and the whole world he has created – they all give hope that it is possible to do things in your own way if you want to. I’ve gathered inspiration and vibes for so many years and from so many people that it sometimes feels like I’ve been carrying some sort of shell on my back, and now the time has come to leave that shell behind.
I’d like to direct my own short film in the near future. Lynch’s work has taught me a lot about how to do things and how to achieve new ideas. I’m especially fascinated by his thought of how ideas are like fish: if you are content with little fish, you can stay in the shallow water, but if you want to catch big fish, you’ve got to go deeper: down to where bigger fish and bigger ideas are.
My Twin Peaks tattoos serve as a tribute to David Lynch, but also as an inspiration for my own creation. I guess in some way, Twin Peaks will always be my safe haven to where I can return again and again. Whatever the future may bring, or even if one day everything would fall apart, all I need is a TV and Twin Peaks, and I know everything is going to be alright.