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charlesraven introI am always very happy when we have guests from far away and now is such case. Charles comes from Mexico City. He is vocalist of the Experimental Metal band SILVER F BULLETS. At Amazon you can find the band’s album ‘Apocalypse’; if you want to listen to more of their music, follow the band at SoundCloud.

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?
Charles:I got my first tattoo at the age of 20 and decided to tattoo the nickname they gave me in high school (Dark) AS - it was with that nickname that my life began to take shape and become what I am now.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Charles:I have thirteen tattoos. I will tell the story of the most representative:
“The microphone with the roses” represents my love and passion for music, singing for me is the best weapon to overcome my past and be a better person.
“The Baphomet” is an illustration of MARILYN MANSON’s autobiography (‘Long hard road out of hell’) that I read in high school and represents to me the respect and admiration I have for him.
“The smoking skulls” represent my angels and demons, the balance between good and evil, since I think that you cannot be bad without being good and you cannot do good deeds without having done something bad.
“The Dice on Fire” is my reminder to never regret anything, because without the bad decisions I had, I would not be where I am today and that is part of me.
“The plague doctor” - I believe we all are kind of a plague: we walk away and hurt our loved ones and also the world we live in. It remains me that I am not perfect but I can always improve myself.
“The harlequin” is very simple, it represents my humour, I am a very funny person but also my humour is something black and annoying and bothering people makes it funnier.
“The screaming skull” that tattoo I gave the meaning of my representation of pain, for me pain is what I transform into hatred and ends up being art made with love. Hate should not make you cause pain to people, your pain should be inspiration for whoever wants to heal.

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“The cobweb and anarchy” my life could be resumed as a constant trouble, for not being like most of the people and not following the rules at all time, it brought me many problems, however it was the best decision because being different from me and not suffering from the criticism of others is what makes me feel unique.
“The goblin on the bat” I feel like a free being, I think I can go as far as I want and also fall before going far, but in the end it is my decision and it will always depend on me and not on others what I achieve in my life.
“The skull and the two birds looking at each other” is funny because this was never the main idea, but today after many years everything makes sense, now I realize that it represents my love relationship, the two birds looking at each other and They are only separated by death, I know it was not a coincidence that she was holding my hand on the day of that tattoo.


RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Charles:Without a doubt I will do more. I’m addicted to ink.

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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?
Charles:Almost all of my tattoos are made by the same tattoo artist, and the tattoos that were made by someone else I chose because some of his work deserved to be on my skin, a couple of my tattoos were my idea and the rest were made by my tattoo artists.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Charles:Honestly, I like the pain of tattoos quite a bit, and I think my umbral pain is quite high, but I do admit that some have hurt a bit.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Charles: Never.

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?
Charles:I think I never saw it as a taboo, people feel uncomfortable with what is new or different, but it never happened to me that way. I personally would not tattoo food, it makes me something nonsensical; however, it is not up to me to decide who does it or not, each person is free to do whatever they want with their skin.

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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?
Charles:I consider my body a canvas to capture art, I think that the more tattoos I have, the more interesting and appreciable I feel. I had addictions in the past and I know that none of them are permanent and you can always stop, it is only a matter of what you want it to be, I’ll call an addiction because the pain that you feel and the satisfaction of knowing that it will be part of you until death, it makes you want to feel it over and over; but I’m sure that at some point I will stop.

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?
Charles:In my opinion I think that art would never die, because it will be represented in a thousand ways. I believe that tattoos are for everyone and each person will decide what they want to carry the rest of their days with and very few people or at least a minority design their own tattoos, but I don’t think that the love of art is mixed there, simply the tattoo artist works and constantly designs art so that people have many options to choose from; because if they waited for a client to ask them to design their next good tattoo, I don’t think they could make a living from that. What is being lost is respect for artists and people’s freedom.

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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?
Charles:We are more and more people with tattoos and I think that others are already calmer and less critical. Prejudices will never stop you just have to wait for something new that makes people uncomfortable to be attacked again, but that’s the fun part of it, because people not only are uncomfortable with how you look, people are uncomfortable with the success of others and of course it is but if the successful person has tattoos, piercings, is gay or of another colour. Being different will always make them hate you and discriminate but, what if we, the hates ones, are more now? Then the people who judged us before, now can feel a little of what many suffered. Don’t be afraid to be different and feel free to do whatever you want to be happy.

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?
Charles:My only advice would be, choose a good tattoo artist. The colour and design doesn’t matter if you like it, perhaps I would add that you go relaxed and do not be afraid, it may hurt a lot or a bit but it will be all worth it and the best thing is that you will see it every day in the mirror. Peace for everyone.

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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Charles Raven