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octobernoir tomnoir 02Tom Noir is vocalist and bassist of the Goth Rock-Doom band OCTOBER NOIR from Pensacola, Florida and burdened with heavy influence from TYPE O NEGATIVE. In the following interview, he will tell us more about his tattoos.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take you much time until you decided to get it done?
Tom:I was 34 when I finally decided to sit in the chair. I remember being 19 and stepping into a shop to have Michaelangelo’s Green Man inked. The image I brought was apparently too small to work off of, so the lady says, “but we have one on the wall just like it!” I entertained her suggestion but it looked like a child’s drawing. I immediately walked out of there and never returned.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Can you tell us their story?
Tom:I have two. The Green Man was done in honour of my upbringing and childhood reminiscence of playing in the woods, my love for nature and more paganistic influences, but also ultimately representing the face of God in nature. My second is the OCTOBER NOIR band logo which was developed loosely off of reaper scythes and the moon. I had when I was in my mid-teens. It was extremely vivid but I remember being in an open grassy field at night, there was a high wind and suddenly the moon swiftly rose. It had a scythe hanging off of the side of it but it was actually a part of the moon. It was very surreal in feeling, but yeah...

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will there be more in the future?
Tom:Currently, yes. I am extremely picky on having something on me permanently. I will always question its purpose before I do it; Will I be happy with it 10 years later? Who will be the perfect artist to make it happen? Where is it going to go? I can get very sceptical and pessimistic when it becomes time to narrow down the margin and choose to take to the chair again.

RoD: have all of your tattoos been done by one artist or different ones? How do you choose the tattoo artist? In addition, who draws your sketches?
Tom:The Green Man was taken on by Loren Miller who is a renowned oil painter from Three Fates Tattoo here in Pensacola. The band logo was taken on by an artist named Nick Work at Shades of Grey in Pensacola. I knew that I wanted the green man to look like it was etched of stone so I needed an artist who was very applicable in shading. I want to say that the total time was around 8 hours and cost close to 800 dollars in US currency. With the band logo I knew I needed someone who was more proficient in line work. The green man was just a picture taken from an actual mold of his craft while the band logo was given from the design I had crafted on the computer. I’m a stickler for symmetry so I don’t prefer any hand drawn tattoos because my OCD can crank into overdrive.

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RoD: getting tattooed hurts. How do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Tom:Quite honestly, I don’t feel any pain during sessions, well, other than when the top outline of the green man was being lined in right on top of my shoulder bone. But it was merely uncomfortable for a short moment. Nothing to cry about. Everything else on the process just felt like vibrations against my skin. I’m usually of very calm spirit at all times so for me I just sat and let the guys work without making it an annoying experience.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Tom:Not at all. For me, I’m going to sit and really make certain that what I am going in for is what I personally want and will be happy with until death. I am also going to make sure that I dig and research for the proper artist for the job. It’s easy for me to walk away if I am in any doubt.

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?
Tom:I don’t personally feel like tattoos are taboo. I just feel there are good ones, there are bad ones, and there are “what the fuck were you thinking?” ones. But I will say any portrait tattoos are probably the absolute worst to ever have. I have seen some portraits done well, but again; it all falls back to my OCD with symmetry. And this is almost never accomplished in portrait 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 addiction, simply calling it a passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Tom:Nothing is impossible. I think it also depends on the personality of the individual. Some find it addicting while others (like myself) don’t really give it much thought outside of what they want. Addictive personality types are also the ones who end up getting inked with something they quickly regret later on.

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 anymore, they just produce consumer goods. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this situation?
Tom:I feel that following trends is never a good thing. I tend to avoid them and think for myself. But to each their own.

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RoD: I would like to talk the social aspect of tattoos, too. Previously, many people believed that if you had a tattoo, you will never be successful and you will never find a “good job”. Has this state of mind and people’s perceptions changed or are these prejudices still alive?
Tom:I have personally seen, even in the work industry, that the newer generations in the positions of power are a little more open minded with tattoos. I’ve had jobs where the elderly seemed to be the most disgusted with them. But I also believe that it is driven more so just based off geographics. For instance, more Bible Belt locations tend to have more problems with it. But you can also overdo it with body art and even those who are more accepting of ink can feel it’s too much when you’re representing a company that has to face the public. I suppose a good tale of the wise would be fitting: “everything in moderation.”

RoD: What 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?
Tom:Line up all of the questions... and have answers to them before making your final decision. Understand that ink fades, colour more so than black, you get old and saggy which can ultimately affect how your tattoo will look in that age, is it something you can live with and it stay true to meaning for the entirety of your life? Can the artist tackle the design as necessary (shading, colour, lines, popularity, recommendations)? Truly research it and be willing to spend what it takes to have it done right; don’t cheap out and take it just because another artist may be much cheaper. A good artist knows his craft and capability.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Tom Noir

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