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SalRamazzini BrunoRagolia titleToday our heroes are talented and friendly guys from the rapidly gaining popularity in Ukraine and abroad band THE GITAS. Sal Ramazzini (bass) and Bruno Ragolia (drums) shared with us their thoughts about tattoos.

RoD: First of all, thank u very much guys for your time. We are very happy to see you and we are very happy that you will be also a part of our tattoo project about which I have told you so much. Let’s start! When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? How long did it take you to decide to get it?
Sal Ramazzini [Sal]
: So my first tattoo I got three years ago. It’s Ganesha. Are you familiar with Ganesha?

RoD: Ganesha is a God?
: Yeah, from Hinduism. I really wanted something meaningful, and Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles, and I was going through really hard times in my life. I think it was calming me, that things are going to get better. It took me three sessions of eight hours, it’s all hand drawing. And this artist is actually Ukrainian. I got it in Los Angeles. But he is from Ukraine. His name is Slava.

RoD: Interesting. And what about Bruno?
Bruno Ragolia [Bruno]
: My first tattoo was this one. I did it like five years ago and we went to a tattoo artist with friends and we did the same one, different parts, but it was meant like we are altogether going through same path, same direction.

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RoD: Great! So, Sal, how many tattoos do you have?
: I have 10 right now.

RoD: How you got them? And do they have stories?
: Some of them have, I think, all of them have story or meaning. And all of my tattoos are from Ukrainian artists, all of them. So, I started from this one, then I got this one is face and it is representing Kali- the God of destruction. Then I got The Gitas’s Tiger, then I came to Ukraine last year and I got my first wolf. It’s a wolf with a body of a tiger and skin of a dragon. And in same trip last year I also got this knife that means “never give up”. And I also got this arrow. This one, this one, and this one from Slava And this one by artist Dima, tattoo artist from Ukraine, that was last year. Slava also did this one.

RoD: It’s a crow?
: It’s a crow, yeah. And then Scady, a tattoo girl from Ukraine gave me this as a gift, she said: “wanna give you something”, so she made this tattoo. And this year I got this wolf from Dima as well.

RoD: Looks amazing.
: So, all my works are from tattoo artists from Ukraine.

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RoD: Can you please tell some stories of your tattoos.
: Kali for me represents destruction of celebrity life, it’s a reminder that a life of celebrity is a life of destruction. You have to be human, you have to be humble, and we are all equal. Tiger of The Gitas means brotherhood. Then, wolf, it’s like my spirit animal, I love wolves, so that’s the meaning. I got this tattoo, a girl from Kyiv, we were talking for almost one year, when we finally met, it was something really nice for us, the arrow is always keep moving forward. The rose, the meaning is I just like roses and triangles, I let her do anything she wanted, there is no meaning, I wanted some art and let her ink me. The crow on my heart is here because my heart is free. And lips because... it’s sexy.

RoD: Bruno, please. How many tattoos do you have? And stories behind them.
: I have The Gitas tiger, I went to South Korea with the band, I toured and I just wanted to get a tattoo from South Korea and I like tigers. I used to work with colleague and she wrote my name almost 10 years ago.

RoD: Do you want or plan to make some new?
Sal and Bruno (together)
Sal: There is a lot of virgins in there, next time when I get here.

RoD: After some years we can meet together again and conduct interview about your new tattoos…
: Yeah, I see all the collection. Bruno, what do you want to get inked?
Bruno: I wanna do my whole arm.
Sal: Aaa, yeah. Do it!

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RoD: Getting tattooed hurts. How do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
: I think, after five hours of sitting down you ignore it. When you go there, you know it will hurt, so you’re accepting the pain, that it’s gonna hurt. But it’s different, for example, I hate going to the dentist, because it hurts. It’s not the pain that I want. But the tattoos… I want this, it will come with satisfaction. It’s not the pain that is killing me. It’s a good training for your mind. Life is painful as well. Getting a tattoo is like a meditation process.
Bruno: You go there ready to feel pain, to suffer, but it hurts first couple of hours until skin gets numb and it’s like something else, it’s done and it’s the best part when the say “it’s done” and you “thank you so muuuch”.

RoD: Do you have any taboos when it comes to tattoos?
: I’d say when I was growing up in Guatemala, in Latin America, there mostly criminals and gangsters have tattoos. So for the longest time it was a big taboo to have a tattoo. But the fashion changed, and everybody has tattoos now, and taboo is starting to break, but I feel like older people like parents, grandparents still have this consciousness - like: “Oh,criminal!” But it’s definitely changing now.

RoD: Bruno, what do you think about taboos?
: Now it’s getting more accepted. Ten years ago tattoos on the face and all over the hands were scary, but now it’s super normal.

RoD: Super normal? Really? On face?
: I mean, you can see people everywhere with tattoos on face, neck, but every time I see more, I want more, I wanna get my neck, maybe soon.

RoD: We must meet after some years!!!
: I feel like next year I come to Ukraine, we can do new interview.

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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?
: I think it’s something very subjective. In my case, I really enjoy finding the artists and let them do art. I tell the idea and just let them work. As an artist myself, I enjoy when I have freedom to create, when there is no restriction. That’s the problem of globalization, trends. People want to be accepted, people want to be a part of something. I don’t judge. Everybody has reason, even if there is no reason - it is still reason. If they wanna just look good, that’s enough. If you just like it - that’s enough.

RoD: It should be more than just a picture? It is so?
: It can or cannot. It’s your body, they can do whatever they want with their body. I’ll give you the example: drugs. It has become a trend as well. Before, I think, was a more spiritual approach to psychedelics, and now everybody smokes weed. You know what I mean. It’s just business now, but I actually enjoy it: more people can make tattoos and make a living out of it. Before it was a strange career, there were so few tattoo artists in the world.  So I enjoy it, I’m not gonna lie.
Bruno: I think, when you make first tattoo, second, third, it’s more like one meaning, it take more time to choose, when you have 15 or 20, 30 - there is no more meaning. You just want something here.

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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?
: For a part it changed, but for another, bigger part, it didn’t change at all. If you’re trying to get a job in a huge company, or international company, maybe it’s hard, because it’s a mind of a company, but nowadays more people starting their own business, so you go to the job and boss will like: Oh, tattoo. No, sorry. For a part it changed a lot, and a lot of people now have tattoos, at least one. If you want to get something special, there are some spaces… some spaces like neck, hands and face and if you wanna a super corporate job is kind of hard, maybe, not impossible.
Sal: I agree. Maybe we gonna see some day a president with tattoos or someone… Or for example we have entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg or these new entrepreneurs with tattoos. It’s gonna be interesting, someone as a global leader with tattoos, there will be more acceptance. As Bruno said, in the field of corporate job, that’s not a good thing. Also, if you wanna be a priest or work with spirituality, it doesn’t resonate very well, but thing are changing. But in 10 years we’ll see the effect of it. I definitely believe that. We are living in more free world, it changed in every field: now we accept gay marriage socially, before, 10 years ago, it was super weird. And now it’s common. I feel like humanity is advancing to a more open free world.

RoD: I can’t imagine Sal working in financial company…
: My first job was actually… I went to engineering school, and I was working as a chief of human resource, it was multinational. I had to comb my hair but I didn’t have tattoos. Can you imagine like that with tattoos? They would freak out.

RoD: What advice would you give to the people who are going to get their first tattoo?
: Get ready! It’s gonna hurt! If you are doing it or a real reason, it’s something that you really want, just hold on tight, don’t scream, and don’t cry.
Bruno: Go ahead and do it. Don’t think about it. But if you are not sure, try with part you done see. You should get a tattoo for sure! Try a small thing, somewhere where people don’t see it. But try to see what it is. You gonna like it for sure, you’ll start doing more.


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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa, Iryna Kalenska and Ira Titova
Photographer: Kateryna Lashchykova

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