Students with tattoos
Giving and receiving
Neuroscience and artificial intelligence
Ever since Joana Fernandes was little, her parents encouraged her to be creative. Last Christmas she decided to put the time and effort into self-learning how to give tattoos. Since then, she has tattooed around 250 people and isn’t planning on stopping any time soon.
‘I used to draw on my legs with eyeliner when I would go to festivals’, she says. ‘People would come up to me and think they were tattoos. That’s how the idea to start giving tattoos began’. What was Joana’s next step? Buying a tattoo gun, of course. ‘I then asked for tips from my tattoo artist friends, and began practicing’, she says.
Some of my tattoos are completely random
To Joana, tattoos can have meaning, but they don’t always need to. ‘Some of my tattoos are completely random, while some I think about for a long time’, she says. Her next tattoo, on the other hand, is being meticulously planned out. ‘I want my back to be a big art piece, so I’m working on a drawing for that’, she says.
It’s the self-control that she finds difficult. ‘I can just wake up and tattoo myself whenever I want, which is very dangerous’, she says with a smile.
Joanna doesn’t worry about employers who think tattoos are unprofessional. ‘I don’t want to work somewhere if they tell me I’m not professional enough because I have tattoos.’
Emma de Ruiter
Stick and poke, which is a non-electronic method of tattooing, is Emma de Ruiter’s speciality. During lockdown, she decided to pass the time by learning this method of tattooing. ‘I started on myself and friends, but now I’m even starting to do it for money’, she says.
Stick and poke was seen as dodgy, but now it’s considered an artform
Stick and poke used to be have a bad reputation, but this perception seems to be changing. ‘It was seen as this dodgy at-home technique’, says Emma, ‘but now it’s considered more of an artform and a skill. It takes longer and requires more effort because you have to do all the lines by hand’.
While her first stick-and-poke tattoo wasn’t a great success, she has been getting better with practice. ‘I’m not planning on doing it professionally but would like to continue doing it on the side’, she says.
What she likes about tattoos is getting a glimpse of people’s personalities. ‘People have this artwork on their bodies that symbolises them as a person, and I find that really beautiful’, she says.
Majo de la Peña
When Majo de la Peña was eighteen, she begged her parents to let her get a tattoo, but they didn’t budge. When she turned twenty, she was finally able to get one. ‘It took me two whole years to convince them’, Majo says with a laugh.
It’s not about age, it’s about being ready to have ink on your body forever
‘I now see that it was important to wait until I was older and more mentally prepared’, she says. ‘It’s not about age, it’s about being ready to have it forever’.
Majo’s favorite tattoo is one of her most recent ones. ‘Last year, my grandfather passed away due to corona, and I wanted to honor him by getting a tattoo in his handwriting’, she says. In a letter he sent her he wrote ‘se fuerte’, which translates to ‘be strong’ in Spanish.
‘In Mexico there are still conservative views on tattoos’, says Majo. Therefore she chose to get small tattoos that would be covered for work. ‘I don’t want the things I want to do in life to interfere with me having tattoos’, she says.
Wendy Aeon Razafindrabeza
Master international Law
‘Tattoos are very meaningful to me, I think of every detail when I plan to get one’, shares Wendy Aeon Razafindrabeza. She feels the tattoos on her body should tell a story, which is why ‘at meaningful events in my life I want to mark it on my body’, she says.
I want to get used to a drawing to see if I am one hundred percent sure
When she plans to get her tattoos, Wendy surrounds herself with pictures of them. ‘On my walls, on my screensaver, everywhere. I want to get used to the drawing and see if I am one hundred percent sure I want it’, she says.
One of Wendy’s favorite tattoos is one on her wrist. ‘I started understanding and learning more about myself these last couple of years’, she says, ‘and I realised that every emotion and experience is created by my state of mind. If I think in a certain positive way, then I will experience that in return’.
Wendy loves the fact that tattoos are something personal. ‘Your body is a work of art’, she says, ‘and I think it’s great that everyone attributes different meanings to their tattoos’
Sarandis Doulgeris was never actually planning on getting a tattoo. ‘I grew up in a strict village in Greece and even though my family didn’t care if I got a tattoo, I still felt like people in the village would have opinions’, he shares. ‘If you have a tattoo in Greece, it’s harder to get a job. We are much more opinionated on this issue than the Netherlands’.
I was drunk, and it was a very impulsive action
His one tattoo is of a techno artist he admires, called Plastikman. ‘I was drunk, and it was a very impulsive action’, he says. However, this impulsive action doesn’t mean he regrets it. ‘Last year I was in a very dark place because of the pandemic. Plastikman’s music helped me get out of that place’, says Sarandis.
Something changed in him after he got the tattoo. ‘It reminded me that I did something crazy and impulsive, which is a good thing to do every now and then’ he says.