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saraleitao01I am very happy to present you an interview with Sara Leitão from Epic Melodic Death Metal band DARK OATH from Portugal today. Till now we did not have so many women presented in our project, so there is something we need to improve, starting with Sara today. The last release of the band was quite a while ago - the full-length album ‘When Fire Engulfs the Earth’ was released on 15 April 2016. I hope that we will get something new from the band soon, but until this will happen, please enjoy the interview with Sara about her 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?
Sara: I got my first tattoo when I was 18. It’s a pair of wings on my back, and it was something I’d always wanted to get but it took me a bit to decide and be sure if that was the one that I would get first.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Sara: I think I got 15, 16 tattoos. Some of them are already intertwined with each other, so it’s hard to keep count. In a general way, I have a lot of tattoos that reflect my appeal to this duplicity of life and death, ugly and beautiful.I’m not religious or anything, but I just think that there’s something more, the universe, forces of nature, something. It’s my way of dealing with this uncertainty of what happens when we die. Representing this, I have some petunias and a crow’s skull on my right arm, the wings, a rose and a skeleton hand and two big pieces on my arms, an old school boy and girl with the quote “Till death do us party”. I have also a lot of lyrics tattooed from songs that I love and a microphone, considering music and being a vocalist it’s an important aspect of my life.

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I have a few tattoos related with Miayzaki movies, because the movies and the characters always have a subliminal message that I find very interesting and relatable. I have also a witch token made with deer’s antlers. I associate this one with my love for nature. I also have two runes tattooed, I’m a big fan of Norse mythology and the ones I chose (Mannaz and Ansuz) I personally relate with their meaning, for good and bad. I also have a tiny tattoo on my ankle, and it’s an old school cloud with rain and lightning under it. My meaning to this one is “shit happens”, it’s like we do our best to get things to go the right way but sometimes they just go wrong. And we have to keep walking even if there’s rain and bolts over your head.


RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Sara: I’ll get new ones for sure; I just struggle to decide which one to get first because I have a ton of ideas that I want to get done.

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?
Sara: Some of my tattoos have been done by different tattoo artists, others were by the same person. When I want to get a new tattoo, I always think on the style of it and I choose my tattoo artist considering that. If it’s black work, I’ll find someone that specializes in that, if I want a new school tattoo, I’ll find someone with that style and so on. My sketches are mostly done by the tattoo artist, but I always bring something to inspire the tattoo.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Sara: I just think about the final result and how cool that tattoo is going to look. But sometimes, nothing really works, so you just have to endure the pain.

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RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Sara: 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?
Sara: Anything racist or homophobic or anything that is kind of disrespectful. Another thing I really don’t like to see is people’s names. This is my personal taste of course, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do it, you do what you want, I just think people should have a little more imagination if they want to get a tattoo to honour someone.

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?
Sara: I don’t think it’s an addiction. For me at least, it’s a passion. It’s something I find really interesting and beautiful, it’s very personal and very unique. It’s a way of self-expression. I’m in my case, I know that I want to get more tattoos in a near future, but also maybe one day and I’ll reach a level and a time in my life that I just don’t want to get more.

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?
Sara: I understand that some people might just want something because it’s beautiful. But at the same time, I think it’s better to give some meaning to your tattoos so you just don’t get tired of it. Otherwise, I bet you’ll stop liking it because it’s not trendy anymore.

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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?
Sara: It has not changed much but I think we had it worse. There’s still a stigma but more smoothed out. In my case, I have a lot of tattoos and I worked in banking for several years. Of course, I just wouldn’t go there in tank tops or whatever, but If I had like a shorter sleeve or something, and the tattoos showed there would be no problem. But I always protected myself a lot in professional terms. If I don’t know how people are going to react, I don’t risk it, I’ll just bring a coat. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, because having tattoos does not say that you’re not good at your job. It shouldn’t be an issue. But it’s the world we have, and even though, things are getting better there’s still a long way to go.

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?
Sara: Don’t do it just to be cool. Choose something you like and that means something to you, it’s that simple. Don’t do it just because you saw someone on the internet that looked cool with it. Find some inspiration and choose a style that you know you’ll always like and do a really good research to find the best tattoo artist for your tattoo.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Tattoo Pictures by Sara Leitão, title picture by Daniel Jesus