Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time to make you doing it?
Alex: My first tattoo was a ugly scorpion. Got it in Miami Beach, Florida in 1991. It was my birthday and I was all by myself. Just wanted to celebrate my birthday in a cool way and decided to get a tattoo. I was such a wimp. It didn’t hurt much, but I was afraid that it would. So I forgot to breathe and nearly fainted. So dumb. That’s what happen when guys try too hard to be cool. Just be yourself.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Alex: Fifteen tattoos incl. a cover-up. I’ve always been really close to my mom and decided to get a portrait of her. She’s never been a big fan of tattoos, but that changed when I showed it to her. She loved it and was proud that I even considered to get a tattoo of my mother. Now she likes tattoos :) SEIGMEN symbol - it’s an old one. Really bad tattoo, but I still love it. I’ve got quite a few portraits. Some real, some fictional. Some have a story, some don’t.
RoD: Have you already made all tattoos that you wanted or will there be some new ones next time?
Alex: Cause of this interview I’ve got to get a new one soon :)
RoD: Have you done all tattoos by one tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose the tattoo artist? In addition, who makes your sketches?
Alex: It’s done by different artists, but for the last seven years I’ve used the same tattoo artist. He is really good and works mostly “freehand”. Love the guy and I should actually call him now to get a new appointment:) All the portraits are done by him. It’s a German guy, living in Norway.
RoD: Making a tattoo hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Alex: Listen to SLIPKNOT.
RoD: Do you regret of getting tattoo sometimes?
Alex: No. I actually regret getting a cover up of my first tattoo. They are all memories.
RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What will never be made by you and you don’t like to be made by other people?
Alex: No. We are living in a free world and people have the right to do want they want. There are places I don’t want to get a tattoo, but that is my own decision.
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, calling it simply a passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Alex: Sure. There are lots of people with only one tattoo. It’s not an addiction if you have more than one pair of shoes. I think we all use too much energy on what everyone else thinks. There will be some that get addicted, but I know people addicted to Starbucks cups too :)
RoD: Last Year’s tattoos are a new trend; many people do not think about the meaning, they just want to have something coloured on the skin, to be in trend. These people often just go into tattoo salon and ask to show what 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?
Alex: Haha… this starts to get really political :) I try to avoid politics. First of all: When I got my first tattoo, I was a “rookie”. I picked out a tattoo that every third person in the world had at the time. It was stupid. We are all copying before we find our own style. Tattoo is trendy now and has been for many years. If you want to get a tattoo that everyone else have, go ahead. But if you want something special, find a good artist with a good idea.
RoD: I would like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos too. Previously, many people thought that if you have a tattoo you will be never be successful and will not find a "good" job. Have the consciousness and people's perceptions changed or are prejudices still alive?
Alex: This is year 2016. I don’t believe a tattoo will make it difficult to get a job anymore. There are bigger problems. It’s so hard to find a really good, hardworking employee these days. If you are good, you’ll get the job anyway.
RoD: What advice would you give to people who are going to make their first tattoo? How to choose a tattoo artist? Colour or black and white? Just some practical advice?
Alex: If you just want one tattoo, don’t get one. You always going to want more. Never think about what it costs, but how good the tattoo artist is. Find an artist that does stuff you like. Never force an artist to do something he or she don’t wanna do.
Special thanks to the festival NCN - Nocturnal Culture Night for supporting the project and for giving opportunity to take pictures.
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Daria Tessa