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jonasolofsson introThis time our project has brought us to Sweden - to Jonas Olofsson from VANGUARD. The band is playing alternative electronic music and you maybe already have seen the guys on some German festivals. On March 8, 2019 the band has released their album ‘Manifest’. But of course, today we will not talk about their music, but about tattoos…

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?
Jonas: It was a couple of years back and it was the logo for the band. I figured the music and this band is something I will always be proud of and carry with me for the rest of my life. Besides, it’s a pretty good spot for making promotion for the band.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Jonas: I have four so far. The logo for the band on my right arm and then three on my left arm starting from the shoulder down, it’s the beginning of a sleeve with Nordic mythology as a theme, something that’s always been interesting for me growing up here in Sweden. The latest one is a vegvisir on the inside of my upper left arm.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Jonas: More for sure, I want to finish my sleeve and start with the other arm. I have some ideas.

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?
Jonas: The first one was done in a studio in this town but the sleeve have all been done in another studio in a smaller town an hour away from Gothenburg. I have decided to stick with this artist for the sleeve because I want it to look coherent and he is a really good tattoo artist.

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RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Jonas: I just try to sit through it without to much whining. No pain no gain, right?

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Jonas: No, not so far. I think if you are the person that might regret getting a tattoo, don’t get one in the first place. But if you don’t care, just go for it.

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?
Jonas: I would not tattoo my face, and never anything political. Views can change and well my face is just pretty as it is.

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?
Jonas: Once you start you kind of want more, addiction or not but it’s definitely addictive.

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?
Jonas: Sounds boring. All tattoos do not have to have a deep meaning but at least they should in my opinion be something connected to you and your personality. The will to express something or just have a meaning for you or remind you of something.

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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?
Jonas: In Sweden people are fairly open, you can basically get almost any job here while having tattoos. I think and hope it will change so that people see that tattoos does not equal a certain personality trait.

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?
Jonas: Go for something that you love to do, something that has a connection to you and your interests and personality. Even if you in the future loose that interest you can always look back on it as a memory and a period of your life that you will always carry with you. And please don’t consider what other people think are cool or not, just do your thing.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Portrait pictures by Peter Engman, tattoo picture by Jonas Olofsson

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