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atlasheaven introToday, we have a guest from an Alternative Rock band - TEARS’ HEAVEN or TRST from Italy. Atlas Heaven is the singer, he played bass and synth in this band. A few years ago, the band released their first album, ‘Origine’. It was a real joy to speak with Atlas about his tattoos. I am always happy to meet people who accept the tattoos in the same way as I do, as art and something personal and meaningful. I hope you think so too…

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?
Atlas: I got my first tattoo relatively late: it was 2017 and I was 22. As soon as I decide I would go through with this, I called the parlour and booked an appointment. This took me approximately two weeks.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Atlas: At the moment, I have “only” eight tattoos. The first one was the letter “A”, which for me is not strictly an initial as it represents the reasons that brought me to write my former band’s album. Then I have three doves surrounding a crown and other two doves reaching out for each other in flight: they symbolize peace in a manner taken from Karate, which I practiced for many years; I consider it to be my spirit animal while I was practicing. The red rose on my hand represents my love for music; it’s a sort of signature. The black roses instead are derived from a song in the upcoming album. The phoenix symbolizes the first song that I recorded in a professional studio. The cat is MY cat, Sophie, as I wanted her to be with me, metaphorically speaking, even when I’m away. Last but least, the Eye Of Horus as, since a young age, I have a passion for ancient Egyptian mythology.

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RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Atlas: Of course not, I’ll get many more in the future, but I want absolutely sure of what I’m getting. They need to be meaningful.

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?
Atlas: My tattoos were done by two artists from the same studio. There was an immediate understanding as their sketches faithfully represented the ideas I had in my mind. It might sound trivial, but I choose the artists depending on how they draw, and all the sketches were designed by them.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Atlas: As we all know, there are some more painful spots, such as the hand, and spots in which you don’t really feel anything. I try not to think about by chatting with the artist, listening to music, looking at him work… I try to keep my mind off it.

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: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Atlas: No, I’m happy with all my tattoos.

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?
Atlas: I wanted only tattoos that have a meaning to me, and I would never get one just for the aesthetics. I’m not at all into tribal or Maori styled tattoos.

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?
Atlas: Absolutely not. Many people stop after the first one, but I guess it depends on how you live body art.

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?
Atlas: Tattoos are art and tattoo artist will always be artists. At times they need to come to an agreement with the customer, mostly pricewise, and the product might be less refined, but It’s part of the job.

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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?
Atlas: There will always be some prejudice. People with some colour on their skins are easy targets because it’s something that anyone can see. It’s not really that far from bullying, if you think about it.

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?
Atlas: My main advice is: “be sure of you are getting done; if you have the slightest doubt, wait and think about it”. You need to find the artist the perfectly matches with his drawings the way you are in your daily life. I don’t really like to suggest colours as they are strictly personal. Last thing: always be sure of where the tattoo is going to be placed, as you might easily get tired of bad placed tattoo.

Thank you for having me and for letting me share my own thoughts on the subject at matter. The questions were very thoughtful and I enjoyed answering.

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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Atlas Heaven

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