How did you get into tattoos? Can you remember when you first fell in love with them?
I don’t know exactly, but I remember when I was a kid, around 7 and 8 years old, I’d go to the beach in the summer vacation and ask my mom to get me those fake, temporary tattoos. That was possibly my favorite thing about going to the beach–well, that and eating lots of popsicles, because I may love tattoos, but this fat ass always loved food so much more. I wore several of those fake tattoos at the same time and it was so sad when they started to peel off.
Later, when I was a teenager, I got into punk rock and hardcore, and of course tattoos were part of the look you wanted to have when you were into that kind of music. When I was 16 and started going to hardcore gigs in São Paulo, I met a lot of tattooed people and thought their tattoos were all really cool. Obviously, I wanted to have tattoos as well, but I was too young and didn’t have any money, and my mother didn’t approve attoos. Sure, I could have got money God knows where and found someone who’d tattoo an underage kid (or got a tattoo as soon as I turned 18) and gone against my mom’s wish, but that was never really me, I guess I was never a reckless rebel like that. And you all know that is a recipe for tattoo disaster. I’m pretty sure I’d regret it if I had got any tattoos at that time. However, I believe that kind of bad decisions are a normal part of being a tattooed person. I am the exception here, having started getting tattooed so late. A few of my friends say they wish they had waited like I did so they’d have better tattoos now, but on the other hand I kind of wish I had gotten tattoos when I was younger and been one of the cool kids back then.
How did you make your decision to get your first tattoo? What was it and when did you get it? And your latest one?
In my early 20’s, when I stopped hanging out in the hardcore scene, I also stopped thinking about tattoos. I still found them cool, but didn’t give them much thought. I remember seeing those Suicide Girls and thinking they all looked great with those tattoos, but I didn’t think I’d be like that one day. And then, long story short, I got married and was a housewife for a few years. When I was 30, I finally got a job. Although it’s just a dull office job, it pays well enough and, more importantly, the work environment is relaxed and there’s no problem showing tattoos. I waited a few months to get a feel of the work place and coworkers, and when I was feeling confident enough, I started thinking about getting a tattoo. And I honestly don’t know where that came from, I guess I was just feeling empowered by the change in my life. Still I didn’t think I’d be heavily tattooed or anything like that, I just wanted to get a tattoo to see what it was like. So I decided the get three small tattoos: a deathly hallows symbol on my wrist, and the sayings “valar morghulis” and “valar dohaeris” above my elbows (because I’m a huge fucking nerd, in case you hadn’t noticed). I was so incredibly nervous right before getting them. I was worried I wouldn’t like the result and was afraid of the pain. God, I was very, very afraid of the pain, which now I think is funny because I turned out being quite a tough girl when sitting through tattoos. I was happy with my first tattoos for a while, but as I started researching tattoos and got to know really good tattoo artists, and later when my collection started to grow, I didn’t think they were that great anymore. From my second tattoo experience on, I think I got it right. My first tattoo after those three small experimental ones was the lady with the fox on her head, which I got from Piraña in Buenos Aires, and I’m still very fond of it.
And now, about 30 tattoos later (I don’t count, but it must be something like that)…… On my latest trip to Europe, I went to Essen, Germany, to get tattooed by Han Shinko, and then to Leeds, where I got two tattoos from Joe Ellis.
Who did you get tattooed by, so far?
I’ve been tattooed by Sway, Henry Big, Joe Ellis, Jemma Jones, Katya Krasnova, Gusak, Christian Lanouette, Bastien Jean, Philip Yarnell, Han Shinko, Ignacio Ttd, Maca Sepulveda, Piraña, Nazareno Tubaro, André Cast, Andrea Giulimondi, Matthew Houston and Philippe Fernandez.
What does traveling to get tattooed mean to you?
Well, that’s kinda funny, because the questions I get asked the most by random strangers and acquaintances are, “Where did you get your tattoos? Who did your tattoos?” And I don’t want to tell them, “This one I got done in London, that one in New York,” because it’ll sound like I’m showing off, so I usually give them evasive answers, like, “Oh, you know, here and there… I try to get a new tattoo whenever I travel somewhere…” And they’re like, “That’s cool, it’s like you have souvenirs from your trips on your skin,” and I agree with them. However, it’s totally NOT it! If you’re reading this blog, I suppose you love tattoos as much as I do, so I’ll tell you the truth and not be afraid of sounding extremely pedantic or just plain crazy. I travel to get tattooed. That’s it, that’s the truth. I usually choose my travel destinations with specific tattoo artists in mind. Sure, I’ll also do touristy things while I’m at it, but I don’t really see my tattoos as souvenirs, because that just sounds random, you know? And I’m a collector, that’s how I see myself, so there’s purpose to the tattoos I choose to get. Traveling to get tattooed is not easy, but to me it’s totally worth it. My most productive trip was in 2016 when I went to the UK and Germany, and got six tattoos in ten days. It was very exhausting and painful (all six tattoos were on my legs, which made walking around hurt like hell), but it made me really happy.
Who is on your wish list?
Austin Maples, Bob Geerts, Alessandro Lemme, Rafa Decraneo, Martina Ekeberg, James Lau, Alexis Hepburn, Myra Oh, Rodolfo Gimenes, Rion. There are many more artists I’d love to be tattooed by… I think I don’t have enough skin for all them! I aim to get works from as many different artists as possible, this is why I usually don’t more than one or two pieces from the same artist.
Where do you find inspiration for the next tattoos?
To be honest, I’m not the most creative person out there, so I’ve never came up with any brilliant ideas for tattoos on my own. Also, I’m not that kind of control freak who thinks about every tiny detail and meaning that their tattoo has to have. Basically, I’ll rely on the artist’s talent. When I’m getting a tattoo, I carefully choose the artist first, not the design. Some people want designs that are super exclusive, but that’s not so important to me. I’ll usually choose a design that is fairly representative of the artist’s work, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a variation of something they’ve done a few times before. Also, I like being spontaneous and choosing a design from the artist’s flash on the spot. I know that’s the kind of thing that would unnerve some people, but I think you can’t go wrong with flash because they’re designs that the artist really wants to do, that are their forte. I don’t have any tattoos that are deeply meaningful to me, but I think most of them represent things I like, and that is good enough for me.
How does being a tattooed lady affect your everyday life?
Weirdly enough, I don’t think it affects me much on my everyday life, besides getting much more stared at. And the more tattooed you get, the more you get used to brushing off the stares, until you hardly notice them. I kind of hoped the tattoos would make me look more intimidating and put off those guys who leer and catcall me, but sadly I haven’t noticed any difference in this matter. No one has ever said to me shit like “your tattoos are not feminine” or “nice, respectable girls don’t have so many tattoos”, probably because I’m a grown up woman and I believe I give off a confident vibe, like, “your opinion is not welcome, thank you very much”. I’ve heard subtler sexist comments, though, like a few people who have asked me what my husband thinks of my tattoos, specifically the tattoo I have of two men kissing each other. Really, do you guys think I’d be married to someone who’d be offended by a tattoo of a gay kiss? And more importantly, why does my husband’s approval of my tattoos matter to you? Why is it an issue at all? I think the people who asked that didn’t even realize how sexist they were being.
Do you have any hobbies outside of tattoos?
I love reading! I’m a voracious reader and I’ve read over a hundred books last year. I’m into fantasy novels, young adult and romance novels. I don’t really read anything serious, it’s just for fun–and I’m exactly the kind of boring person who thinks staying home reading a book is the best fun they could have. I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell, and her books Eleanor & Park and Carry On are my favorite. At the moment I’m reading a fantasy book, The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin. It has a female protagonist who’s quite different from anything else I’ve read before, so I’m really enjoying it.
I’m into interior design as well, I love nice furniture and designer objects, and I love dedicating myself to making my home beautiful and cozy. I’ve been collecting plants, they give such a good vibe to the home and everything looks better with a touch of green.
I also collect sneakers, which is totally my husband’s influence. He has a huge, amazing sneaker collection, and as I got more in touch with the sneakers culture and got to visit all the coolest shops in the world with him, my interest in sneakers started growing, and I ended up collecting them too. I think it’s sweet that my husband got me into sneakers, and I got him into tattoos. I don’t think two people in a relationship have to be exactly into the same things, but it is definitely nice to share your interests with the person you love.
What is the situation in Brazil, regarding prejudices and tattoo art?
I think the situation has improved so much recently. Nowadays, I dare to say, most young people in Brazil have tattoos or want to get tattooed. Naturally there are still concerns about getting tattoos on more visible places or being heavily tattooed, but even in those cases, I think there is definitely more acceptance. From my experience, I’ve never been in a situation in which people have been nasty to me because of my tattoos–at most I’ll notice people disapprovingly staring at me or making a comment about me to someone. Yet still, in most cases, the people who stare seem to be more in awe than disgusted, and I get compliments from strangers all the time.
What do you love the most about nowadays tattoo society?
I love it that today, with the Internet, I can not only discover the most talented tattoo artists out there, but also connect with people who share my love for tattoos, even though I live far away in this small town in Brazil and I’m not actually part of a “scene” or anything like that. I really enjoy talking to people about tattoos, and I love getting nice comments on my tattoo collection on Instagram, or even answering people’s questions about tattoos. When I had the blog Her Beautiful Skin, in which I interviewed women who collect tattoos, I did it for myself more than for anyone else, just because I loved reading about those women’s experiences.
Please mention me some of your fav artists from Brazil.
A few people have asked me why I usually get tattooed abroad and if there aren’t any good tattooers in Brazil. Of course there are fantastic tattoo artists in my country, and tattoo art has flourished in the last few years in Brazil. But most of these artists aren’t the style I’m into, unfortunately, and usually when I choose an artist to get a tattoo from, I don’t want them to be only a good tattooer, I want them to have a consistent and unique style–the kind of work that can be recognized anywhere as done by that specific artist–and as I’m lucky to be able to travel to get tattooed by my favorite artists, I’ll only choose the ones whose work take my breath away, regardless of them living close or in another continent. So far, besides the tattooer from whom I got my first three small tattoos, the only Brazilian artist who has tattooed me is André Cast. I absolutely love his work, especially his hands and feet tattoos, and this is why I chose him to tattoo my fingers. Other Brazilian artists I admire are Bruna Yonashiro, Tassio, Jessica O. and Caio Pineiro. At the moment I’m on Caio’s waiting list and will probably be tattooed by him around September, and hopefully I’ll also get a tattoo from Jessica this year.