Hello everyone, my name is Deborah Fassetta and I live near Venice.
I’m just a 23 yo girl that has a dream and, despite what others may think, I’m doing everything I can to achieve it.
I’ve always loved communicating with art and, since I was a kid, I drew and painted on almost every kind of surface. You know, on the walls and stuff like that, and it wasn’t always funny for my family.
Think that once I even had the brilliant idea of creating my own bas-relief on the bonnet of a car.
Growing up, I started living the drawing as an outlet and a way to extract all my state of mind. Through commercial art, school of art studies and personal education I have in-depth looked for a personal way to represent myself.
How did your love story with the tattoo world begin?
My love story with tattoos began in a totally random way and ended up changing my life and my way of seeing this art and the acceptance of oneself in general. The first person I saw with a tattoo was my uncle, he always used to tell me about the big pain he felt while getting that big moon with a kitten sitting at its peak on his arm, and of that bad fever he had for days.
While everyone kept telling him how fool he was, I admired him and I remained more and more fascinated by his experience and by how extremely strong and stimulating it was. A mark can permanently change your body, and it doesn’t only change the mere outward appearance but also your inner self and the way we see ourselves and put ourselves to the test. From that moment on I knew that sensation experienced while hearing at his story would never forsake me.
What does it mean to you to be a tattooed woman in today’s society?
As many of you may know, being tattooed in the society we live in and the land we belong to (Italy) is not always easy. Most of the people keep looking at you, staring at you, scrutinizing what is wrong with you, wondering what the hell happened to you, ‘surely something so strange and traumatic for wanting to change your image so radically’..!
The truth is that there is nothing to wonder, each of us has his reasons and his choices for wanting to live the body modification in this strong and radical way. To me, getting tattooed is a ritual, I impress on my skin a part of my story, and at the same time I collect pieces from artists I admire.
I’m not scared of people that judge me prematurely. I don’t even notice those disappointment looks no more. For example, when I go to the grocery store, someone always makes a comment on my appearance and looks at me as if I were a polar bear in Africa (typical Italian common saying) and laughingly I say “yeah, it’s crazy but I need to eat and do some grocery shopping just like you”.
I think this is the best spirit against fear and ignorance which unfortunately is still deeply rooted in our society: a smile, because I do not stop smiling even to those who have no smile for me.
Tell us about your journey as an apprentice.
My journey has just begun, I have so much to learn and I hope to be able to absorb all I can, getting better and better day by day.
In 2011 I started tattooing on pig skin and synthetic leather, the first time I picked up a machine was exciting and almost spiritual. I drew a swallow, I prepared the stencil, I put it on the synthetic leather sheet.
I was so committed to that moment! Well, maybe a little too much, as the needle went through the table on which I was tattooing…
Later I met my boyfriend Luca, who was already tattooing, and he taught me a lot of things, I became his assistant and I watched him as he worked. He introduced me to many artists, and with him I bought a great tattoo machine by Mamone: after nearly two years of savings, a serious machine with which I could really tattoo! I waited a long time before having the courage of tattooing a person, I attended the sanitation course and continued to work on myself, my drawings, my fears, until arriving at February 2016.
Before that I had tattooed only my boyfriend, and he really helped me to unblock the situation. Unfortunately I did not have many free comfortable spots, but I definitely wanted to try it on myself, so I made a heart on the tibia; you can only imagine the acrobatics I had to do to make it happen! When I finished it I was not that proud but I was certainly glad to have made a real genuine first step.
Thanks to the huge support, in a short time and with my amazement, many people appreciated my drawings and wanted to get them tattooed. It all gave me more confidence, I am so happy to have the chance to keep doing what I love. I knew I wanted to take this path since I tried a real strong emotion in performing a tattoo, realizing the whole ritual there is behind, seeing the happiness that magically appears on the customer’s face after spending painful hours.
And this is the reason why I want to do this job every day.
How would you describe your style, your subjects?
My subjects are virtually divided into two categories: seriousness and sadness often with strong feelings and animals with absent expressions (I do not know how many people would get them) and…lightweight.
It describes in part my character and the duality that is in me. The choice and the style of my subjects have evolved in the recent months, my tattoo flashes are now much more minimal, only black ink with no shades but filled with shadows.
When I tattoo I love to associate black and strong neutral colors, even if they are never particularly bright. I think my style can be described as traditional, with the difference that it is definitely more minimal and often includes the use of texture and repeated geometric shapes to recreate elements like the plumage or the skin of some animals.
Having started tattooing has somehow changed your view on tattoo art?
Starting this journey made me fully understand and embrace the importance of empathy between the client and the tattoo artist. I believe a lot in this connection, since tattooing seemed an unattainable dream I always promised myself that I would not have wanted to be a photocopier and stick things to the skin of the people without any feeling.
The coolest thing is just the exchange with the customer, I share a piece of me and a feeling, an emotion that at the same time takes its meaning for those who choose it forever. A small room shared indelibly and forever.
Who are your favorite artists? Who did you get you tattooed by?
In these years I have had the great pleasure of getting tattooed by artists such as Dap, Francesco Garbuggino, Geno, etc.
My reference artists would be too many to list, but I wish to get tattooed by all of them.
Lately I appreciate very much the works of: Bobeus, Joe Ellis, Wolfspit, Sway, Big Henry, Joel Soos, Jenna Bouma, Katya Krasnova, and so many more!
Would you like to talk about one or more tattoos you collected on your skin?
I want to choose one of the very first tattoos I got. The first tattoos are among the most heartfelt, those which you think about for years, planning every tiny detail. I was little more than an adult and I had worked hard and saved for months to get it. I decided to represent my parents, taking inspiration from a real photo of their wedding to make that moment eternal, framing it all with flowers that could recall (in the flower language) their character and their personality. It was a bit like mocking life that unfortunately did not let them live together their love.
And instead, where/what do you get inspiration for your subjects from? Is your mood somehow entailed?
One of my greatest inspiration remains Frida Kahlo, who made me discover many sides of myself, opening many doors within my soul, thanks to her paintings, her diary and her emblematic portraits.
I often draw sad women because I think that every woman is a wound, a sad thought, a melancholy night, the anxiety that grips the stomach in the empty moments.
They are all inside of me and drawing them allows me to express knots that I wouldn’t know how to dissolve in any other way. I’m one of those people that when is sad does not try to think about something else: I put on one of my playlist and I live right in the moment, at its fucking fullest.
When I draw I benefit more of the less spectacular things than of the intoxicating happiness that luckily life gives, because those moments are the ones that make us more reflective and aware.
As a young tattoo apprentice, what do you think of the choices of some other peers tattooists? For example, would you ever tattoo a hand of a customer (who has not at least a 70% of the tattooed body)?
I assume that each one of us lives the world of body modification and tattoo art as he believes.
Personally, I would never tattoo visible areas such as hands and neck to those who do not have a good amount of tattoos. Lately I see more and more people with forearms, neck and tattooed hands without having basically nothing else. Apart from a sad fact caused by the rampant fashion of the moment, I find it all very ugly. I think i’ts right to talk about the placement with every client who relies on me, you know, I always ask if they have some ideas and I reflect about it as I really want to do a good a job and try to understand the needs of each person.
Is there anything you would never tattoo? What is your personal ethic?
From the first day I had the tattoo machine in my hands I decided that I would never tattoo minors. I think people can safely wait to test this experience and have time to think about it (which is never too much). Other subjects that I refuse to tattoo for my personal ethic are the political and religious ones. I find that tattooing a political symbol is a sign of extremism and I am not into that. As for the religious subjects, since I am not a believer, it doesn’t seem right to me to tattoo something in which I would not put the right passion, it would be a lack of respect for myself as a tattoo without passion is like putting a sticker on the skin of the people but also a big lack of respect towards the client and his beliefs.
Future projects? 🙂
In my future projects I hope to grow and mature, both artistically and technically, to find new ways to express myself and to tattoo so many people and see them happy of the whole experience. In my future I hope to be able to live with my boyfriend and not to be forced to always move by train, to continue to build up so many things and support us each other. I would like to do many collaborations, split flashes with my colleagues apprentices who I respect and support. I like planning stuff but the future can’t be read or predicted, then I’ll wait head on for anything it will propose me.
I will wear my spikes, sometimes painful, and certainly this road will be uphill, but I know I will have the support of those who truly love me.
I want to to thank Ilaria for giving me this great opportunity and honor to express myself in my own little and share my work and my thoughts.
I want to send a hug to the people who are part of my life and who often believe in me more than I ever did. Thank you, thank you to my clients, thanks to those who will come to me for a new piece and also to those who have read this article until this very last word.