When I was young, I waited for a long time that I would turn 18 and could get a tattoo. When I finally turned 18, of course I was prepared that they would ask to see my papers at the tattoo parlor. But when I went there, nobody asked for my papers. I remember how disappointed I was – if I had known that nobody would ask my age, I could’ve got tattooed many years before!
There are some minor color details in some of my tattoos, but apart from that, all my tattoos are either black or black and grey. I started with black and grey, and I still think black tattoos look best. And besides, if I started to get some multicolored tattoos at this point, where would I even place them?
I see rough, nasty and grim imagery as a crucial part of tattoo art. Even though I’m just a kind father of a family myself, I still want my tattoos to be a bit evil. I just think rough themes fit better in tattoos compared to pretty images.
Sometimes I find it funny how people are so eager to make presumptions based on other people’s appearance. Old ladies, for example, tend to clutch their purses a bit tighter whenever I come near, and they are clearly thinking of whether they should watch out because I look so scary. And how confused they look when a guy looking like this turns out to be polite and addresses them formally, opens the door for them or something like that!
Or when I’m at a grocery store with my kids and they hug me, hold my hand or do something else that all the kids do with their parents. That’s when I often notice people staring and wondering at us. But when my kids look at me, of course they don’t see someone with lots of tattoos. They only see their dad.
A while ago my four-year-old daughter told me she wants to get the same kind of tattoo that I have. As I asked her what tattoo she meant, she just gave me the finger. I have to admit that it was a pretty difficult situation – of course it’s forbidden to give the finger, but yet the fact is that I have a middle finger tattooed on the back of my head! I considered my answer thoroughly and eventually, I just told her she’s free to tattoo whatever she wants on the day she turns 18.
My aim is to be tattooed from head to toes in the future. There’s still plenty of empty space left on my skin, so I guess it could still take 20 years until I’ll be ready. It’s funny how you always notice the empty space on your skin. When I look in the mirror after a shower, I always think hey, there’s that empty spot, I wonder what kind of tattoo could fit there?
My back is still empty, and I’m going to get a single backpiece there at some point. I’ve had a certain idea for it for many years, but I’m still not sure who could draw it on a paper exactly the way I see it in my mind.
Above all, I see tattooers as artists. My regular tattoo artist Joni, for instance, is an Artist with a big A. I think it’s great if a tattooist doesn’t just copy images from the internet but wants to design their own stencils instead. When I tell him about an idea I’ve had, you can almost see the light bulb going off in his head as he starts to plan the tattoo right away. Usually I just tell him to go for it and release the creativity!
There are many things in my life that I’m surely going to regret on my deathbed, but I know tattoos won’t be one of them. The only thing that sometimes bothers me is that some of my tattoos could’ve been a bit different. As I’ve noticed afterwards, I have some small tattoos that could’ve been bigger in the first place.
Sometimes people have asked me whether I have any tips for someone who’s about to get tattooed. I have a couple of tips at least. First, always choose carefully the placement of your tattoo and consider what kind of tattoo would look best on that particular spot. And always listen to your tattoo artist. If you have an idea of a certain sized tattoo and your artist tells you it should be bigger, then it really should be bigger. If you end up getting a tattoo too small, you can be quite sure you’re going to regret it later, because it’s difficult to combine small tattoos into a coherent whole.
Furthermore, always remember to put safety first when you’re getting tattooed and pay good attention to hygiene. Always trust a professional tattooist, because in the worst case, that friend of yours with their China-made machine can cause some serious damage on your skin. A tattoo made by a professional artist will be more expensive, and you will have to wait for it longer, but the result will surely reward you.
And finally, when you’re choosing an artist, explore the work of different artists and choose yourself a professional whose style you find the most appealing. I recommend giving the artist as free hands as possible because that’s how you will usually achieve the best result.
The size or the style doesn’t affect on how important a certain tattoo is for me – the semicolon tattoo, for instance, matters to me a lot although it’s so small. The tattoo on my hand is also an important encourager. It depicts a tree and a rope that someone has set for himself, but then he has thought he doesn’t want to hang himself after all and has decided to walk away instead.
Some of my tattoos may even contain pretty radical themes. Most of those tattoos are hidden on purpose, since I want to keep them personal. They are mostly images that reflect my own views on life.
I see tattoos as a form of art and above all, a truly difficult form of art. If you’re good at drawing, it’s always easy to draw fancy pictures on paper, but try to draw on someone else’s skin with a needle – permanently!