I came up with the idea of my first tattoo when I was 16 years old. Back then I wanted to get the tattoo on my forearm, and it would’ve been much smaller and made with black ink only. Eventually, I decided to get the tattoo on my chest, and instead of getting a small black tattoo, I ended up having a big and colorful, aquarelle-styled tattoo. Still, the design itself is the same as I originally planned.
Although I already had the idea in my mind, I didn’t get tattooed until I was 29, so my first tattoo is now five years old. One reason for the delay was that I wanted to find a proper tattoo parlor which values I could relate to. I remember when I was still studying, and my roommate went to book an appointment for a local tattoo parlor. As my roommate walked in, he saw the tattooist tattooing a Neo-Nazi symbol on client’s skin. He forgot about his intention at once and decided it’d be the last time he stepped into that parlor.
Years after that, I visited the website of a tattoo parlor called Sacred Tattoo, and there was this announcement that they don’t tattoo any political symbols. I saw it as a good principle, so I booked my first tattoo appointment to Sacred Tattoo’s Martin Harrison.
This tattoo contains lots of symbolism. The whole design is inspired by the artwork of Finnish visual artist, Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo. I wanted this tattoo to illustrate the things that have changed me the most as a person. I work as a gardener, and the oak is related to my former learning institution. The tattoo also alludes to my long-term hobby, Scouting. Scouting is still a part of my life, and during the years, I’ve just changed my local district whenever I’ve moved into a new place.
This tattoo was done in three parts. The first session started right after my workday at 4 PM and lasted almost until the Midnight. It was not until I was leaving that I remembered the last time I had eaten was at noon, during the lunchtime. No wonder I was feeling a little dizzy! After that first session I’ve always made sure that I’ve eaten before getting tattooed.
I wanted my next tattoos to include themes that would reflect my own bad habits. I see my chest tattoo and these two rib tattoos as a single, coherent whole. The idea about the rib tattoos was already born when the chest piece was still in progress.
The drunken bourgeois-tattoo is done with shader machine only. The idea was to achieve a result that would look like it was made with a pencil. The style of the devil and the TV-tattoo is inspired by old woodcut prints.
The scarification on my elbow is done with skin removal technique. I had been thinking about getting my whole arm covered with a scar tattoo, but then I thought I should try with the elbow first. I must say that the elbow wasn’t the easiest place to heal, and I guess the scarification itself was quite difficult to make here as well. My scarifications are done by Lassi Sidoro.
The design was inspired by old crochet doily patterns. I was born in Rauma, which is nicknamed “The Lace capital of Finland”. In other words, this scar tattoo is my birthmark from Rauma.
I reckon the whole scarification process took about seven hours. After the scarification itself, the scars were cleaned with a detergent that included alcohol, and I have to say it hurt! The first couple times I cleaned the scars myself felt pretty nasty, too, but as the scars began to heal, the pain also relieved.
The scar tattoo on my elbow is made with cutting technique. Compared to skin removal, I found cutting less painful, and it healed faster, too. After the skin removal, I had to wrap my elbow in plastic quite long, whereas the cutting healed a lot faster.
I’m interested in original tattooing methods, and I find scarification and hand poke tattoos so fascinating especially because of their primitiveness. At the same time, they have a certain handcrafted feeling that you can’t get from machine-made tattoos. I prefer simple designs, and I think they go nicely together with primitive tattooing methods. Medieval church art is a great source of inspiration when seeking new tattoo material. The scar tattoo on my shoulder, for example, is inspired by the roof structure of Espoo Cathedral.
The hand-poked devils and flower ornaments are also Lassi’s artwork. The flowers are depicted in the same way as in old church paintings.
The devils are based on church paintings as well. The devil on my inner arm is based on an old painting in Espoo cathedral, where the original painting reaches above the whole arch. The other devil design was found on Pinterest. The original painting is probably located somewhere in Denmark.
The two female portraits are tattooed by Joni. These tattoos are also done with hand poke technique. The other woman is based on the Botticelli’s Venus, the snake lady, in turn, is inspired by a certain glass artwork.
I don’t follow any particular style in my tattoos. My whole arm is tattooed with black ink only because I work outdoors, and the colors could easily fade in the summer due to the sunshine. In wintertime, I shift from gardening to forest work, where my job is to maintain the municipal forests in order to keep them safe for citizens.
The tattoo on my leg is dedicated to my childhood hero, a Finnish singer called Irwin Goodman.
I sent to Joni an image of Irwin’s album Rentun Ruusu and asked if he could turn it into a Sucky Panther-styled tattoo. He was immediately into the idea.
The best thing about this tattoo is that it was tattooed around the midsummer, so it has a nice, traditional feeling of Finnish Midsummer – the only thing you need to add is a burning sauna.
My next intention is to continue decorating my left arm with another scar tattoo, which will be completed later with hand poke. After that, this arm will be ready. I guess. Unless I want to add some small fillers here and there at some point.