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Tattoo Project Season Of Melancholy title
Today our guests are SEASON OF MELANCHOLY, a romantic Metal band from Kyiv. This is the first time in our practice when a band takes part in the project almost in full line up, the exception was the guitarist Pavel Gushchin, because he has no tattoos, but as the guys said - he is with them mentally. Now let’s see what the guys shared with us.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time to decide to get it done?
Pavel Shpak [Pavel S.]: I had my first tattoo at the age of 18, I think. I took a ballpoint pen, attached a motor, a needle from a string, a power supply with a speed switch hidden in an old guitar wah-pedal - by the standards of “self-made” it turned out quite well! But the paint I had was good, branded! One evening I made a small drawing on my foot above my ankle - youthful maximalism, nothing else. Of course, it got blurry, and quite quickly... A year later, my friend, who was a beginner tattoo artist, has corrected this part. I called it “Scolopendra”, probably, as a sign of my bad character.
Andrei Garashchenko [Andrei]: The first tattoo was made by a friend at home. It took me a while as it was an inscription in Latin: “Inter Arma Silent Musae” (“When the weapon speaks - the muses are silent”). I love this tattoo because it was the first one and I love its meaning at the same time.
Vad Greek [Vad]: I got my first tattoo at the age of 30, I think. The choice of the master was not very successful, and in the end, I got two tattoos, not quite very bad, but close. One of these tattoos is still on the left hand. We have to cover it, but then there was no time or then there was no money. The second tattoo was covered with a “sleeve” on the right hand.
Pavel Novakovsky[Pavel N.]: At 18. This is the contour of the eagle-owl, inside which is space. A guy is looking at it sitting on a tree branch. I saw the sketch at the age of 16 and since then I have fallen in love with it. But it is not finished. In the future, the guy will not be alone on this branch.

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RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Pavel S.: Apart from the first small tattoo on my leg, I have my whole right arm tattooed: “sleeve” from shoulder to wrist. 12 sessions, each from 4 to 6 hours. I started thinking about global work more than 10 years ago. You know how it happens: you start to play music, you play Rock, you wear chains and leather jacket, and like any novice musician full of Rock’n’Roll and protest, of course, you dream of a cool tattoo! Fortunately, later everything changed… I’m still studying music now, but the tattoo, in my understanding has grown into art, symbolism, and self-expression. Thinking about the idea for many years, I came to the first serious session with the confidence at 30. A conscious choice as a gift for the first conscious anniversary. At that time, I was already aware of 99% of the subject matter that the artist applied it to my skin.
Andrei: Nine in total. They do not have any stories. As a rule, the process of choice goes quickly and I am always satisfied, for example, I love one of the first tattoos on the hand - a stone angel, I like the sculptures of sad angels, it is so gothic. 
Vad: I only have three tattoos. Two on my hands, one on my leg. There is no story, I liked it - I did it.
Pavel N.: I have five tattoos. An owl is the only coloured one, the rest are black and white. Each tattoo carries a great deal of meaning for me, but it’s very personal. Except for the crow, it was inked because of the film of the same name, in which the main role was played by Brandon Lee.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you want or will you get some new ones in the future?
Pavel S.: I can say for sure that there will be work for the whole left hand, the idea is almost formed, and there are little things left to discuss with the tattoo artist. And then we’ll see. If there are any ideas and wishes, there will be more tattoos.
Andrei: Fortunately, there is still enough room for new tattoos, I still need to work on correcting those that are already on me, in general, and I’ve got something to strive for.
Vad: I don’t know. Probably, there will be more.
Pavel N.: Of course, there will be more! There are a lot of ideas.

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RoD: Have all your tattoos been done by one tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose a tattoo artist? Also, who draws your sketches?
Pavel S.: Finally, given the cover-ups of my first unsuccessful work, all my tattoos were made by one master, my friend, Klim Slobodyanik (Slimdeadtattoo - How did you choose? I have not. Of course, I have watched the works and the level of other masters, but when you observe the entire path of a man from an artist to a professional tattoo artist, and you like his style, creative look, and there is a full understanding from desire to result, the choice is obvious. I think I'm lucky, because many people have been throwing themselves into doubts for a long time, and I already knew who to turn to. I trust Klim with all the sketches. Although I draw myself, but I believe that only the artist, who will do the tattoo, knows his capabilities, the subtleties of his equipment and the features of the paint used, based on which, he will make the sketch that will be transferred to the skin in the best way possible.
Andrei: Almost all my tattoos were made by my good man, tattoo artist Yaroslav Skromyk. As a rule, we prepare sketches very quickly and immediately start the tattoo session. I trust him to the fullest, as I saw the process of his becoming a master and say that he is on the right way.
Vad: Two artists. The second corrected (covered) the work of the first artist.
Pavel N.: By Different artists.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Pavel S.: I don’t do this. Often it does not hurt too much, and sometimes I tolerate it. Maybe I have high pain tolerance. In any case, the process of tattooing does not make me uncomfortable.
Andrei: Pain in tattooing is nothing compared to the pain of listening to LJ’s songs. Seriously, it's quite tolerable.
Vad: I tolerate it. I don't like to get tattoos, but I like to have tattoos.
Pavel N.
: I don’t.

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RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Pavel S.: At the age of 18-19, when I noticed the result of my first unsuccessful tattoo experience, a blowout tattoo, I was upset and regretted that I hadn’t learned how to do tattoos properly first. I have never felt regret again.
Andrei: That never happened, I was probably more afraid that the tattoo would heal badly and fail.
Vad: No.
Pavel N.: Yes, my tattoo is on my chest. I used to think it was horrible. Now I am more philosophical and look at it as an incomplete one.

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?
Pavel S.: Complicated question. Tattooing is a form of self-expression and, of course, art. Who can condemn another person’s thoughts or an artist’s idea? Because other people’s tattoos do not concern me. What kind of tattoo I wouldn’t do to myself is a strong scene of violence, vulgarity, a portrait of an idol. And this is not a taboo, just “not my cup of tea”.
Andrei: I’ve seen all sorts of tattoos on the Internet, sometimes people do very strange things for themselves. The main thing is not to push it over the edge, it concerns not only tattoos.
Vad: No taboo. But I would not do portraits. If everything is harmonious and beautiful - OK.
Pavel N.: Something occult or vulgar. I believe that tattoos can influence your life.

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?
Pavel S.: I don’t think it’s happening to everyone, but for me it is. It’s not about the pain or the process itself, although I won’t hide it, there’s something special and even pleasant about it. It is a culture, a worldview and a way of thinking. The desire to leave your thoughts on your body forever in the form of a picture, manifestation of a special attitude to your views and beliefs, responsibility. And also this boldness. And still protest. I think this rattling mixture creates a desire not to stop.
Andrei: Exactly, there is always a desire to make a new one, but there are also those who stopped.
Vad: It’s probably individual.
Pavel N.: I don’t know. In my opinion, everyone has different ways.

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RoD: Recently, tattoos have become a new trend; many people do not care about the meaning, they just want to have something inked on the skin, to be in trend. Those people often just go to a tattoo parlour 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?
Pavel S.: In my understanding, art begins with an idea. Some tattoos don’t even require a sketch. But even getting someone else’s sketch done well and competently - already a display of skill and not a wide range of consumption. As a designer, I can say that I perfectly understand tattoo artists who sometimes do not do what they prefer, but what the customer wants. I am glad that people more and more often go to a particular artist, whose style they liked, not the first tattoo parlour, where it is cheaper. Fashion gradually turns into understanding. I’m not chasing fashion. Coloured tattoos seem to be in the trend now, but I don’t like them, I like only black paint. It has a certain depth and philosophy. And I also joke that when I have kids, I won't have to spend money on colouring books, but only on felt-tip pens.
Andrei: Shortly parents will say to their children: “Eh, son, how will you live without a tattoo, what people will say, look, your peers have already done everything”. Fashion comes and goes, I never tried to be “fashionable” or “trendy”, I prefer to be myself and do what I want. And about “stampers of consumer goods” - it is necessary to see the difference between the artist and the amateur.
Vad: I do not see a problem. Everyone gets what they need: a client gets s tattoo, artist -money. If everyone is happy - OK.
Pavel N.: It was fashionable before. Everyone has the right to ink what they want to their bodies. This is everyone's choice and nobody can forbid it.

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 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?
Pavel S.: It seems that these prejudices are not even present in all the people of Soviet education. Now I do not even meet those who would behave biased at the sight of a tattoo. And you should agree that people see tattoos almost every day: images of different complexity, themes, and colours applied to the skin, become common in society. And this is no longer a source of resentment. Everything changes, people change, and with them their views.
Andrei: In my opinion, there are still a lot of stereotypes left over from the older generation, but the progress is visible, people are not so reactive and are used to seeing tattoos. It is necessary to think wider in any aspect, it is useful.
Vad: It’s hard for me to comment on this question.
Pavel N.: People’s consciousness changes every day. What’s the difference between having tattoos and not having tattoos if you’re a good specialist?

Tattoo Project Season Of Melancholy title

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?
Pavel S.: The first and most important thing: to understand why a tattoo is made. Every desire must have a clear argument. This is not a passing whim, it will remain with you for life. And in old age, it will not be as beautiful as now. Ideally, the tattoo should carry some meaning for the person. And even if you think this is just beautiful and you don’t put a special meaning in a tattoo, then choose a good story for yourself and a part of the body where it will look as attractive as possible, first of all, for you. Remember: you make a tattoo just for yourself. Yes, it is fashionable, but it is not a thing in the wardrobe that can be changed quickly and costly. In most cases, the tattoo cannot be changed at all. The choice of the artist can be started with subscribing local artists and parlours. Ask tattooed friends, find out who they approached. Ask a person on the street if you really liked his tattoo. Of course, if you are madly in love with the work of the master who lives in another country, then you should not deceive yourself and look for a replacement closer, because then there is the risk of constant and obsessive regret. Write to him and find out how to organize a session.

Yes, it will be more expensive, sometimes the trip can cost more than the tattoo itself, but you will get a result that you will enjoy every day. Colour or black and white tattoo - it does not matter. It all depends on preferences. It is important to remember: in the first days the tattoo is a wound, and each line in it is, in fact, a cut. The artist will tell you what to treat his work. Care often determines the quality of the healed tattoo. Instead of morality: if you really want to, but you still doubt the choice of a picture, a place on the body, or even the fact of a tattoo at all, then do not rush. It is better to wait and think than to regret.
Andrei: I recommend always and everyone to choose a good artist, this is very important, making it “cheaper” you risk. Young guys, do not make the tattoo before the age of 18, until the age of maturity you can make a lot of mistakes. Remember, to cover a bad tattoo is more expensive. Also, take care of the tattoo in the healing process.
Vad: I fully agree with the foregoing.
Pavel N.: Listen and hear your instinct. It knows the answers to all our questions.

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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Photographer: Maria Lokhmatova (,

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