INTERVIEW: Artists and their Tattoos

Reflections Of Darkness are happy to present their interview number eleven. Today we have a guest from Estonia – Dmitry Darling who is the man behind FREAKANGEL and SUICIDAL ROMANCE. He is not only a talented musician, but also owner of many beautiful and different 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?

Dmitry: My first tattoo was made when I was still in high-school… sweet 16. I had a friend who was five years older than me, but already worked in a tattoo studio and was known for doing some wicked tattoos. He also made me lots of piercings before I came up with an ”idea” of my tattoo. I wanted to have something “tribal-ish“ on my shoulder and in an hour it was ready. Many people become puzzled when they start thinking about their first tattoo. In my case, I have skipped all this shit about thinking and went stupid without any hesitations. Good for me. Because if you want to start somewhere… just go and start. If you won’t do it when you want it… well… you will never do it.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?

Dmitry: I can not say how many tattoos I do have because they are all tied together… well… most of them. I have some separate tattoos on my legs… Mr Johnny Cash and my tribute to John Woo’s “Hard-boiled” with Chow Yun-Fat are located there. Talking about other tattoos… well… they all got connected and I really do not remember what is where and why. Fuck… I just enjoy what I have. You know, sometimes it’s like reading a book that you have already read. Standing in front of the mirror and thinking… damn… I totally forgot that I have you here. Sweet.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?

Dmitry: I’m getting older and “smarter”… or whatever… and yeah, I’m getting new ideas pretty often… we are working on my back and on my neck at the moment, so yeah, I still have some time before doing something new, but I will definitely get something new as soon as we will be ready with what we are doing at the moment… as long as I have some spare places there and there I’m sure that I won’t stop doing tattoos.

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?

Dmitry: No, there are three persons in my life who were able to “draw” on me. Jan, who made me my first tattoo and who lives in Norway now. Then there is Konstantin from Auriga Tattoo – the one who left most significant marks on me. He is a great guy and I’m very happy that we’ve found a common language with him and that we’ve established good friendly relations. I do not think I ever go to another tattoo artist, and not because of the fact that for regular customers there is a good offer, but only because I appreciate our friendship and constancy… oh and there is my wife who used me as her “guinea pig” in the times of learning how to make tattoos.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?

Dmitry: When I was younger I was less sensitive to pain… at least it’s what I used to think because now, yeah, it hurts as hell. Maybe it’s because all my “painless” places are already covered up… that’s the reason why my back is not completed yet… So my idea was to switch to the neck, and this place is less painful than my back. Normally two hours of nonstop tattooing is my limit.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?

Dmitry: No, why should I regret what I did? There is no such thing as a regret… but there is experience. A couple of times you will do something that not fit, then paint it over, then think again and paint it all over again. In fact, I only have covered two tattoos and not because of the regret. I just needed to connected few things there and there and some bitches were in between.

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?

Dmitry: I am a very open-minded person and I do not climb into the affairs of others, I do not care what people are doing in their bedrooms or what tattoos they have. I am totally Ok with every tattoo as long as this tattoo is not shoved up my ass. I mean… you have it… I can see it… now chill the fuck out. I would never do anything that is somehow connected to politics. Fuck this shit.

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?

Dmitry: In my case it might be true… the problem here is that I’m a collector. I collect video games, movies, music, figures from the comics and etc. So receiving tattoos is another addiction of mine… and yeah, one more thing, I feel completely naked, if I imagine myself without tattoos. But shhhh, it’s a secret.

RoD: Last Year’s 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?

Dmitry: As I said before, I do not care. Let them do what they want. They are pleased to be “trendy”, and tattoo artists like to get paid. Everyone is happy.

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?

Dmitry: It’s pretty hard to say… in Estonia I have not seen such problems, but again, it all depends on with whom you are communicating and how are communicating. I love music, but I was never ashamed of the fact that I am working on a normal, so-called “day job”, but even there I have not seen any problems.

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?
Dmitry: Everything is simple. Either you do this or you do not. Do not fuck around… make a decision once and forever.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa.