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{jcomments on}DoretteGonschorek1byMichaelSchwettmannUNPLACES released their new record, ‘Changes’, on 1 June. And we had the opportunity to talk to Dorette about tattoos and distract her a little bit from the release right before the first concert of their German tour. Now I would like to share our conversation with you.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? How long did it take you to decide to get it?
Dorette: I got my first tattoo at the age of 18 or 19, in time for high school graduation. It was a female angel with a halo and a bared chest holding a “metal axe” (an electric guitar) in her hand. I did not mull over it for very long, I just wanted to get it, and the image just simply fit me.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Can you tell us how you got them?
Dorette: I have two tattoos. I have already told you about the angel on my left shoulder, and the second one, which is by the way much larger, that stretches over my right arm and reaches the shoulder. The angel embodies my passion for the music and that side of me that is tied to it. I am first and foremost an organized, but really good, endearing and good-natured person, so from my point of view, I have the positive traits of character that I would attribute to an angel. But that angel has another side, which I let out as a musician. I can be egocentric, especially on stage, allow my feelings to take over, convey the subjects that are important to me. The angel encourages me not to overdo it, but allows me to "let go". The second tattoo is much more artistic. I was going through a phase in 2012-2014, when I was thinking a lot about what is really important to me in life, what I want to invest my time in, and so on. The four main aspects have emerged and became the focal points that I want to concentrate on: they are satisfaction, confidence, serenity and passion. They are engrained as symbols in my tattoo, so that I could remind myself about them again and again.


RoD: Did you already get all the tattoos that you wanted, or do you plan to get some new ones in the future?
Dorette: I have come to like tattoos and tattoo artists who have their own unique style. I would like to get a tattoo done by an artistic duo known as Expanded Eye ( I would like them to interpret my lyrics to our song called "Time". I would like the tattoo on my lower left arm. But they are very busy artists and picky too, so I don’t know if I can get in. I also follow a facebook page called Ink On Sky. That’s where people post photos of very high quality tattoos. There I have come across Eva Krbdk (, whose incredibly detailed round tattoos have fascinated me. I could imagine making such a landscape tattoo, because I am very close to nature and I like being outside. We’ll see what happens and what else inspires me.

RoD: Did you get all your tattoos done by the same tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose a tattoo artist? And finally, who draws your sketches?
Dorette: The two tattoos that I have were done by two different artists. The angel tattoo was available as a ready-made template. I do not remember the name of the tattoo artist, but he had his studio in Hanover right besides “Am Schwarzen Bär”. Why did I choose him? Most likely because my friends recommended him to me. It was so long ago... The second tattoo that depicts my life’s key focal points was done by Noon ( in his studio in Troyes, France. All he tattoos are motives, and he does them in his own unique style. I first learnt of him through his guest article in a tattoo magazine that was dedicated to Outsider Art genre. I spent a long time thinking about what that tattoo might look like. But you don’t exactly get a “specific tattoo” with Noon. You tell him your ideas ahead of time, then then you come to his studio, and he sketches the tattoo directly on your body. He is an artist and therefore interprets your ideas freely. You have to be prepared for that, because at the beginning of the day you won’t have a faintest idea of what the end result might look like. I am very happy with what he has created and glad that he has added his “thing” - namely me, with stylized eyes, mouth, nose and cheeks - because I am responsible for following these key aspects of my life and implementing them myself. Incidentally, the whole thing is put together in the shape of a flower, which signifies life.


RoD: Getting tattooed hurts. How do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Dorette: If you want it, you just have to go through this. And I don’t really think it’s THAT bad.

RoD: Have you ever had any regrets about getting tattooed?
Dorette: I’m pretty sure I have not.

RoD: Do you think there are any taboos when it comes to tattoos? What image would you never get yourself and what don’t you like seeing on other people?
Dorette: I think that inhuman, racist or discriminatory tattoos on others are a taboo. Otherwise, tattoos are matter of taste. I am not a fan of skulls, violent motives or anything of that sort. Tattooed names are also not for me.

RoD: Some people say that the drive to acquire new body art is addictive while others say that it fails to meet the true definition of addiction, simply calling it passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Dorette: It’s possible and I am no exception, but I don’t feel any uncontrollable urge to get the next tattoo. If I let myself get more tattoos, it is important for me that I am completely confident and that they have a meaning for me. Getting tattooed just because the picture is pretty is not my thing.

RoD: Tattoos have become a fashion trend; many people do not care about the meaning behind them, they just want to have something colourful on their skin, to be trendy. Those people often just go to a tattoo salon and ask them to show which drafts they have. Tattoo artists are not artists any more, they are kind of like production line workers now. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this?
Dorette: You cannot expect that every person who wants to decorate themselves with a tattoo has a deeper meaning behind it. If someone gets tattooed for purely aesthetic reasons, I can fully accept their decision. I think that even a tattoo artist has an option not to do every single image that a customer wants. I have already had such experience myself. When I went to a tattoo artist and shared my idea, he made it clear to me in a preliminary conversation that the image, as I imagined it, was not right and that I should go home and think about it again. He did not want to tattoo it that way. I'm very grateful for that, because otherwise I would not get the tattoo of my life’s key aspects that I have today.


RoD: I would also like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos. Back in the day, many people believed that if you had a tattoo, you would never be successful and would not find a “good” job. Has this mind-set and people’s perception changed or do these prejudices still exist?
Dorette: Is the fact that tattoos were considered anti-social not a prejudice in itself? Was this assumption not limited to certain people, circles, context and societies? However, tattoos have certainly become more socially-accepted in the modern world. I hope that this has something to do not only with fashion, but also with the overall increase in tolerance. Sadly, there are still too many prejudices, not just about tattoos, but about the colour of people’s skin, world-view, sexual orientation, etc. One photographer at a concert told my band that she had expected to see a “Melissa Etheridge cover band”. Just listen to this! She is a woman herself and a concert photographer, so she has seen and heard a lot, but she came to this conclusion just because the leader and singer of the band was a woman and played guitar! Women are incredibly underrepresented across all industries, and especially in the music world. I find these fundamental social problems much more important than whether or not someone has a picture on their skin.

RoD: What advice would you give to the people who are going to get their first tattoo? How should they choose a tattoo artist? Should they get it done in colour or in black and white? Can you give any practical advice?
Dorette: First and foremost, you need to like that tattoo. You should be thinking, whether you are confident in the image that you want to get. So it is better to think on that idea for some time than to follow a spontaneous inspiration.


Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa & Perverted-Puppet
Photos by Michael Schwettmann (,

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