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Our guest today is Antman, living in California and playing guitar in the Hard Rock band FAILURE BY PROXY. The band is using the current time of crisis for working on a new record. Many shows were cancelled or moved. The band was supposed to play with AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE in May, but those shows are cancelled. Still they have big Vet-Traxx festival in October where they will be playing with FLAW and JAMES DURBIN (American Idol). We have used the possibility and time to speak with Antman about his 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?
Antman: I got my first tattoo when I was in my mid 20’s. It took a while because my parents where against that kind of thing. I knew what I wanted - it just took time to get it. The first tattoo was on my right arm. 2 guitars (Jem guitars) over a cross and a banner that says “for the love of god”

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Antman: Hard to say how many because there is one large one that encompasses several themes. Each revolves around music. My chest piece is musical notation. It is the opening riff to “Aint talkin’ ‘bout love” by Van Halen. Not only were there a big influence in my playing, that was the first song I learned to play. I also play piano and some drums so those pieces are intertwined as well. In the snare of the drum however is my sons nickname “Bash”. Everything that means something to me so far is tattooed.


RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Antman: Is that a real question? Ha. I’m not sure if anyone is every really done with getting tattoos once they start. My answer is no. I’m not done. It has to mean something special to me so I don’t just randomly show up and get one. They are usually drafted up and then I send the concept to my tattoo guy to bring it to life.

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?
Antman: Mine have been done by two different artists. Usually these are referral based and then I check their work online.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Antman: After the initial penetration you become numb. If I wasn’t for the weird position I had to be in, I would have taken a nap.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Antman: Never. Because I take the time to review what I really want, there is never regret.


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?
Antman: I don’t care what people do however, I could never do the face tattoo. I’m a business professional as well and it doesn’t go well in that environment.

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?
Antman: Of course, it’s possible to stop. That would mean that someone desires to stop though. This depends on the person. I do not possess an addictive personality so for me, it would be easy to stop. My life would be unchanged one way or the other.

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?
Antman: Do you recall tribal bands? Fads are fads and I don’t subscribe to that. That is why I have no regrets to my tattoos. They meant something to me and always will.


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?
Antman: I think much has grown in society. There is certainly more tolerance to tattoos. Business professionals have sleeves, nurses have arm tats and so it’s becoming more prevalent in society. Still there is a place for it. I would not expect to get a job as a Judge with a face tattoo. You could limit your professional career. Be smart about it. Society takes time to change.

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?
Antman: Go with something that means something to you. If it’s special, no one can take that away and you won’t have regrets later with something permanent. And stay away from girlfriend/boyfriend’s name. Unless it’s your child’s name, I wouldn’t do it. Bad mojo.

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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Monica Rock Photography

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