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Simone Salvatori 0001Shooting with this musician was one of my reasons for the trip to Rome in February this year. And I am really happy that I have done this. If you think of SPIRITUAL FRONT you get the picture of the man in a suit with his guitar. Today we have the chance to see what is hidden under the suit and I promise you will be really surprised!

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time until you decided to get it done?
Simone:It was during the early 90’s, I guess 92,93, it was a useless tribal tattoo, but strangely still deep black. For some reasons I moved again in the area where I used to live and where I got that tribal one, I’m surprised to see that the studio is still there, with the same sketches on the main door. Nothing changed since the 90’s. I don’t think that deciding took such long time, I just had the urge to get a tattoo, I was an adolescent I didn’t know anything about that world, but at that time tattoos were not so popular

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Simone: I’m almost full. Well, most of them are religious oriented, except the right leg which is dedicated to those who, in a way or another inspired me: Marc Almond, Fassbinder, Elvis, Morrissey, Ennio Morricone.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Simone: I’d love to cancel some of them, hahahha. I was young when I started, I’m almost full, I’m afraid I can’t add so much stuff, I’d have loved to have Lehi, Duncan X, Jondix , Hooper tattoos, but unfortunately don’t think I’ll never have the chance to get them on me!

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RoD: Have all your tattoos been done by one tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose the tattoo artist? In addition, who draws your sketches?
Simone: Different tattoo artists, some of them are close friends from Rome. Sometimes I requested some subjects in particular, sometimes I wrongly trusted them!!!

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Simone: I became very weak!!! I use cream and when I have back session some medicine a la morphine! Can’t stand the pain anymore

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Simone: Many hahahahahaha

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RoD: You are also a tattoo artist yourself. How did you come to this?
Simone: I did it for a short time, while I was working in a studio, but it lasted for a while, it takes too much time, a full dedication, and I’m busy with music and other things

RoD: When did you do your first tattoo as tattoo artist?
Simone: To a guy who recently passed away, it was a small coffin on his leg. What a gloomy trick of destiny.

RoD: What is your style as a tattoo artist?
Simone: I love Russian prison tattoos.

RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What kind of tattoo would you never get done to you and will never do as tattoo artist?
Simone: Well, I don’t like so much traditional tattoos, but I did some. I don’t like Japanese and I never dared to do them.

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RoD: Some people say that the drive to acquire body art is addictive while others say it fails to meet the true definition of an addiction, simply calling it a passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Simone: If you start to explore the world of tattoos and you start to know the various style, all those great artists, you can easily fall in love with it. And, if you have a special relation with your body and the story of it, it can be even more dangerous.

RoD: Currently tattoos are a new trend; many people do not care about the meaning, they just want to have something coloured on the skin, to be in trend. Those people often just go into a tattoo salon and ask which drafts they have. Tattoo artists are not artists any more, they produce consumer goods. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this situation? Also from the point of view as a tattooed person and as tattoo artist?
Simone: I despise the mere display of style, the collection of perfect but useless tattoo, well done but without history or meaning. Of course, this is my personal point of view, and at the same time I’m conscious that not all tattoos must have a specific meaning, but the tattoos done just for being cool doesn’t work to me.

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RoD: I would like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos, too. Previously, many people believed that if you have a tattoo, you will be never be successful and will not find a "good" job. Have this state of mind and people's perceptions changed or are these prejudices still alive?
Simone: Depends by the job you intend to do! Thank god tattoos become less scary than some years ago, if you think about all the soccer players fully tattooed and with Mohawk haircut…it’s insane. Most of the people love to show super well done tattoos but sadly like other 2000 tattoos. Internet helped to spread this too. It’s a disgrace but at the same time it has being a fast vehicle for knowing the many artists around the world.

RoD: Which advice would you give to people who are going to get their first tattoo? How to choose a tattoo artist? Colour or black and white? Any practical advice?
Simone: I prefer black and white. First step they should decide what’s the style they prefer, second check the best artist (or simply the fav. One) and give him all the possible info’s to create a personal tattoo. Sketch is more important than the realization. If the realization is perfect but the sketch sucks... The whole tattoo sucks.

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More on Spiritual Front

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Daria Tessa (

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