You don’t have to be a Thai monk, a Yakuza mafia member or a brave Samoan warrior to get a tattoo now a days. Let’s face it, whether it has to do with religion, power, bravery, belonging to a gang, rank, from China to India, from Egypt to Great Britain, people have always had a passion for marking themselves with symbols that often mean more to them than just a decoration. Tattoos – why do we love them so much? Are they not just a colouring on our skin, a simple visual confection? Or do they mark our souls as well? Perhaps even a little too deep? I’m not so sure about that. That’s why I decided to explore this topic a little further. And what better way to do it than to talk to a professional tattoo artist?
Mircea Stamen from Stamen Tattoo is an experienced Romanian tattoo artist momentarily working in the Hague at Fearless Tattoo. He’s been working six years as a tattoo artist after graduating from art academy and he says that one of the main reasons why his clients get a tattoo is because of ‘personal reasons related to their families, the ones they love or because of something related to a certain period in their lives. Some clients get a tattoo because they love the style of a certain tattoo artist.’ Mircea himself has a couple of skin arts of his own, six to be more specific. When asked what they mean to him he said ‘some of the tattoos. I really like because of the style of the tattoo artist and others symbolise a part of my personality.’
I was thinking that perhaps we use our bodies as a notebook and the tattoos as our ink, our writing, to tell the stories of our life. But are there any tattoos we eventually regret? According to Mircea ‘there are always people who regret their tattoos but not so much the symbolism itself but the quality of the ink so they decide to either cover it with a new tattoo or redo it.’ When asked if he regretted any of his own tattoos, Mircea simply said ‘I don’t regret any of them.’ I understand that when it comes to tattoos with the names of ex lovers or tattoos that were just poorly made, people can sometimes have deep regrets about them. But aren’t tattoos just the same as the mistakes we make in our lives? Don’t they just make us who we are? Tell our past?
I asked Mircea if he had a bit of advice to people who don’t have a tattoo yet and are considering getting their first one. His advice was ‘small doesn’t mean better! Get well informed, look closely at the work of the tattoo artist whom you choose and do a little bit of research on his style of work so you won’t regret it later. And what is also very crucial: always listen to professional advice because a tattoo artist knows what he’s talking about.’
While I was at it, I had the honour of getting my first mark by Mircea. Did I just take an impulsive decision? Not really, I had been thinking of getting a tattoo for ages but never had the guts to actually make a decision. Now that I have one, I don’t understand why I hadn’t done it earlier. It feels part of me now, I will always remember the moment I took it, why I did it and why I chose this design, I trusted the tattoo artist and I loved his style. For your information it’s a bat because I love vampires and because it reminds me of home. I know, it’s a small one and I actually realise now that I could have gotten a bigger one but hey, it’s only my first tattoo and I am sure a couple more will follow.
What can I say, I have always had an attraction towards tattoos and an admiration towards tattoo artists. I always have the feeling that a tattoo makes a person more alive, more interesting somehow. And let’s be honest, aren’t tattoos the only thing we can actually carry withus to the grave?
Tattoos and tattoo culture are a huge part of gothic culture. Celebrate your love for all things tattooed with the Alchemy Carter UL13 range, with our matching series of items including the Devil Heart Pendant [ULFP20], with matching earrings [ULFE22], ring [ULFR6] and hair screw [ULFHSC1] this collection is influenced by vintage tattoos by using deep red enamelling and is highlighted with Swarovski crystals.
Thanks to Mircea Stamen for his lovely interview and for making the above pictures from Stamen Tattoo available to us.
By Niguanta, of Romania – http://www.niguanta.com/