Mark is a multi-talent; in his music career he combines two very different music styles. He is bass player in SOLARUS, a Canadian Symphonic Metal band hailing from London, Ontario, Canada. And Mark has his own Hip-Hop project MARKEISE, which is young but had already have a first release, ‘We Are Confused’, at the 26th July 2020. As his music life, also his tattoos are very extraordinary too. So, let’s have a look on them.
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?
Mark:I got my first tattoo when I was 18 of my last name in old English script across my back. Honestly not at all, my older brother had it done years earlier so I was eager to carry on the legacy as soon as I was of age to get one.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Mark:I have seven if you count each sleeve as one and all my ink is black / grey. I have both arms done, both sides, my right heel and calf and my back. That’s tough as each tells its own story. I get this question a lot and find it difficult to answer. If there were two words to describe the themes I’ve chosen, they would be music and family. I have various lyrics, album art and expressions of artists that have truly inspired me.
RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Mark:I plan on getting more in the future that’s for sure. I’m getting a lion and a snake to symbolize strength and weakness. Lions are my favourite animal, because of their power, and snakes are my biggest fear. I also want Mac Miller’s lyrics “I’ll pick you up I’ll help you get around”.
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?
Mark:Many of them are done by a woman who worked on me over the years but I have ink from artists in Waterloo, London and Alberta. I usually bring a few pictures of the idea to the artist and have them create the final piece that’s unique and captures the vision I have. I discover tattoo artists by checking out their portfolio for starters, then discussing the artwork with them to get a feel for their style. The only advice I can give is if there is a particular style you’re looking for, ensure the artist you choose reflects that in their art so you’re not disappointed.
RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Mark:Each area feels different so it depends where I’m getting inked. Typically any ditch is terrible to sit through for long periods. I find picking an album you absolutely love and zoning out completely to the lyrics helps me take my mind off the pain.
RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Mark:Never, like I said earlier, every tattoo tells a story, my story. Each piece is an expression of who I am and what I’ve been through.
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?
Mark:Tattoos are personal so there aren’t many. One style I’m not huge on is tribal. It’s just not my thing. To me anything offensive is toxic. Like this hero I met who got “dump em” indicating to women he’d appreciate them flashing him. Beyond lame. Stuff like that has absolutely no meaning and only upsets people. Good luck trying to explain that to your daughter.
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?
Mark:It’s an interesting concept when you think about it. I would say it’s more of a passion, for me at least. It’s one hell of a commitment to have something on you for life. If it is an addiction, it’s definitely not due to the pain. I’ve endured my fair share of injuries and avoid pain at all costs, haha.
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?
Mark:I’m a little unsure still, it’s seems a bit bizarre. I do want to ink myself one day, as bad as it will look. As a musician I always want to see artists excel and be as creative as they can be with projects they take on.
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?
Mark:Tattoos are becoming more and more accepted by society and employers but it can still be a barrier at times. For instance, I work in insurance and as much as I would love to get my hands and neck inked I won’t as I have to keep a professional look being in a business environment. Having my arms and torso done never caused any problems for me, thankfully those are able to be covered.
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?
Mark:My advice is to do your research in choosing the right artist that suits you. Whether you want vibrant colours, black / grey, or a specific style, take the time to find someone who can produce exactly what you envision. Don’t bother running it by your parents, haha, chances are they’ll try to talk you out of it… unless your dad is Travis Barker.
Links to Marks band and hip-hop project:
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Nich Longe @theendisnich
Special: Artists and their Tattoos - Mark (bass) from Solarus, Markeise
- Written by: Daria Tessa
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