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?
Charly: I had my first tattoo done in 1992 in London, it was a scorpion. Back then, I paid twelve British pounds. Strictly speaking, the scorpion was my second tattoo; the first one was the “male” symbol, which I did myself, but now it is underneath the scorpion tattoo. Fortunately, you cannot see that embarrassing logo anymore – it was badly done and I’m not sure you can even call it a tattoo.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Charly: As I said, the first tattoo was a scorpion. Five years later I went to a tattooist to have that tattoo expanded. It is now framed by a black billiard ball, four ace cards, bull’s horns with flames and an eye. There really is no story to explain it, since I had no idea back then as to which images I wanted, so I let the tattooist decide. The next tattoo I got was a black band, three centimetres wide, around my left forearm. On the band, in red writing, it says “Fictional”. I was a huge fan of the band and wanted to show that. On the inner side of my left forearm I have another tattoo which reads "Faith Hope Love", which are the three main foci of a faithful Christian. On my left wrist you will find a tattoo of the road builder logo, which I had done in celebration of my successful master’s examination. On my left hand I have a skull tattoo, which had been a wish of mine for years. On the fingers of my left hand I have an anchor symbolizing my home, then a female skull representing my wife, a sword reminding me to fight for my dreams and a steering wheel so that I will always find my way home. On the side of my neck I had the word "free" tattooed, which is the first song from EISFABRIK with respect to the technical production.
RoD: Have you already made all tattoos that you wanted or will there be some new ones next time?
Charly: I still want to tattoo my entire left arm and I have a lot of ideas of what I would like to have done. As a Hamburg native, I definitely have to have a sailing ship, then I would also like the EISFABRIK logo and I need a small free area for my favourite soccer club, Schalke 04. I also have a dog portrait planned on my right calf. My dog "Ebano" died a few weeks ago and I would like to have him with me always.
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?
Charly: I've been tattooed by four different tattooists who also made the sketches to my own specifications. Previously I did not think about whether one can tattoo well or who is the better one.
RoD: Making a tattoo hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Charly: Friendly conversation with the tattooist or good music definitely helps me to bear the pain.
RoD: Do you regret of getting tattoo sometimes?
Charly: No, not at all! I would gladly have each of my tattoos done again.
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?
Charly: A would never get a face portrait tattoo, and I also wouldn’t be comfortable with the name of a woman. Otherwise I can’t think of any taboos right now.
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?
Charly: I think that once you start getting tattoos, it can become an addiction. For me this effect is limited. An expansion of tattoos usually isn’t possible for me due to the long waiting period, which can be up to 6 months. And when your appointment finally arrives, an important appointment might just come up. We shall see what obstacles the future holds for me so that I can never get done with my tattoos. :)
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?
Charly: It’s everyone’s own choice whether to have a story to one’s tattoo or not or the reason for which one had the tattoo done. What is important is that one is satisfied with oneself, and if one or more tattoos are a part of that, then that should be accepted.
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?
Charly: Whoever still thinks tattoos are not normal in 2016 really slept through the past few years. Nowadays I cannot imagine people not getting a job or being left out in other areas of their life due to their tattoos. Sometimes I don’t even notice obvious, eye-catching tattoos anymore because I think it is so normal.
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?
Charly: I don’t really have any advice, and I’ve never really thought about that. I think that if one looks at tattoos the tattooist has done beforehand, and likes what he has done so far, there isn’t much you can do wrong.
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Daria Tessa (https://www.facebook.com/tessaswelten)