Special: Artists and their Tattoos - Devi Hisgen (guitar) from Cthuluminati
- Written by: Daria Tessa
Devi Hisgen is guitar player of the storytelling Psychedelic Metal formation CTHULUMINATI from the Netherlands. I found the word which is behind the band name play very interesting and funny, basically it’s a combination of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and The Illuminati. On 18th of May 2019, the band has released their album ‘Reliqideus’. If you want to listen more of this band and see them live, you can use the opportunity on 3rd October in Den Haag where they will play Festerfest 2020. But now, we talk 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?
Devi: I started to work on my first tattoo when I was 25. I had a lot of ideas earlier on, but most were dismissed. I have been designing it together with the tattoo artist
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Devi: I have this sleeve on my right arm. It’s a giant raven covering my shoulder and upper arm. I’ve got a son called Raven and this tattoo is an ode to him. I’ve got an hourglass on the inside of my upper arm, an all-seeing-eye and the molecule structure of LSD on the inside of my lower arm, the Freemason logo on the outside of my lower arm and E=MC² on my wrist. All of this with dead trees on the background. Currently I am working on a sleeve on my left arm. I have an inverted All-seeing eye covered in black work on my upper arm and still thinking about how it should continue.
RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Devi: Besides working on the left sleeve, I want to have my hands covered with nice symbolism and a giant squid on my back.
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?
Devi: I draw my own sketches, after that I look for a tattoo artist that fits the style I am searching for the best. I search online, like on Facebook and Instagram and ask around a lot. There will be working three different artists on my left sleeve.
RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Devi: I learn to enjoy it. Black work is a new kind of pain, but still I see it as an important part of getting tattooed. It’s a rite. Say, it is the next best thing for practicing spirituality for me, together with taking psychedelics and making music.
RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Devi: Not yet.
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?
Devi: I dislike goofy or “funny” tattoo’s. Also I don’t get the “stick and poke” thing. I don’t know what it adds. For the rest, the usual stuff, barbed wire, “tramp-stamps”, shallow symbolism, texts and most of all: faces of kids, parents, partners etc. You would never see me with anything like that.
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?
Devi: There are a lot of different motivations for people to get tattoo’s. and it can be a bunch of reasons as well. Sure, endorphin is something that lots of people enjoy, rather than suffer the pain. Also seeing your body transforming can be addictive in a way. There are a few parameters involved in the actual personal drive of an individual. Mine is also a stack of different benefits I perceive.
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?
Devi: I don’t feel much about this. Also am I not shocked in any way that people behave like this. What matters to me is that I can choose my path as I like it for myself. As for the “tattoo-artists”: business is business, right?
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?
Devi: Oh, the changes are drastic. But still some prejudices are there. I don’t believe they dominate currently. I have a fine job in Rotterdam’s psychiatry and don’t believe people tread me any less because of my tattoo’s. If anything, they complement me on it and are curious 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?
Devi: I’m not sure if I have any advice on the artistic aspect of it, just have fun with it. But I do want to mind people to make clear agreements with the artist about what he/she is going to do and how much money it will cost you. Some tattoo artist tend to be vague about money. And of course: DON’T SCRATH WHILE HEALING!
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Devi Hisgen
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