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alexandrababiy introSometimes it's good to change well-established rules, and that's what we're going to do today. The project exists already for more than one year and we have always tried to add a new interview every Thursday to our schedule. At the beginning of the second year, we decided to give up this rule. This does not necessarily mean that project interviews will go less often, sometimes, as for example this week, there will be more of them here. Today the charming Alexandra Babiy, vocalist of Kiev based metal band AZATHOTH CIRCLE, agreed to answer our questions.

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?
Alexandra: I did the first tattoo already at a very mature age, after 20. Now I just cannot say at what time exactly it was, I think 22 to 25. I have always been a connoisseur of tattoo art, but I needed much time to choose my own tattoo. I wanted to do something that would remind me of the unchanging essence of things, and not just a picture in honour of a milestone in life.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Alexandra: I have a sleeve on my right arm, four tattoos on my left and one on my chest. And I plan a few more. My first tattoo (the heart pierced by Jedi swords) is a reminder that a person must always be spiritually strong. I often had to start from scratch or to move forward into unknown world, I can say. The sleeve on the right arm... hmm... we will assume that this is a kind of "armour", ornamental art in an abstract style. This tattoo was done by Roman Saenko and it was originally conceived as something black, some kind of second skin. Tattoos on the left hand are more occult, both figures on the inside part are esoteric symbols, under one of them there is a name of a Kabbalistic angel. We will assume that they share energy with me. At least, it was conceived so.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Alexandra: As I said above, there are a few more planned. One of them will be connected with my musical activity. The rest of them, most likely, will bear a mystical character, embodying my irrational aspirations.


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?
Alexandra: My tattoos were done by three different tattoo artists: Andrei "Sid" Chuyev - coloured realism, Roma Sayenko - dark ornamental, Ivan Konstantinov - mystical signs. Of course I choose the tattoo artist according to his works, but what is no less important to me - it is the inner feeling that I like the person and I want to do this work with him. Whatever one may say, a tattoo is still a kind of sacred rite, even intimate in its own way.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Alexandra: It’s painfully. But this is the pain you want to endure. You will realize something that will bring you great satisfaction, and this smoothens out all the unpleasant sensations. And if a session is long, then at the end it is even a kind of catharsis. I endured, endured, and, oh, a great result, deliverance, relaxation, joy. And also to speak with the tattoo artist is also not boring at all. Or to sleep sometimes.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Alexandra: No. I hope, it will never happen. Although I had the experience of meeting with a not good tattoo artist, whose work was corrected by another person.

RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What kind of tattoo would you never get done and don’t like to see on other people?
Alexandra: Tattoo is a rite of initiation, renewal. And everyone, it seems to me, is putting a deeply personal meaning into his new skin. What I would never do to myself... Haha, smiling cake (forgive me, bearers of pies). Seriously, I would never do to myself that does not make sense to me personally, but is a desire or idea of someone else.


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?
Alexandra: Maybe. This happens to many people. I immediately wanted more than one tattoo. So, it's hard for me to judge.

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?
Alexandra: It is their business. They want to do it - let them do it. I cannot say that I like this approach. But to say that I resent this to the depths, I cannot either. It just seems like a pretty stupid idea for me to do tattoos or piercings, or even to dye my hair just to please fashion. Fashion passes, and a person must do those things that bring him spiritual comfort, and not just out of a desire to stand out.

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?
Alexandra: Based on my experience and experience of many of my friends and friends, this stereotype lives out its days. Now, without problems, you can get a really good job with a tattoo. There are many office workers with full sleeves, as well as cooks, programmers and even policemen. Although, perhaps, it is only in the capital. The devil knows what's in small towns.

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?
Alexandra: I would advise to weigh whether they really want it. Does this idea cause them inner satisfaction, or is there a zero, emptiness. If everything has converged, then watch the work of the chosen tattoo artists, do not hesitate to ask who did what and where, and to make sure that the entire instrument was clean and sterilized. And if it will be black or purple - it will already be the person who chooses. Even if it is a completely crazy sketch, the main thing here is to anticipate and let slosh on the way to the salon.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Andrey Shlenchak

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