“Hallowed be thy Ink” talks about the magic combination between alternative subcultures (like metal, rock, punk,…) and tattoos.
In this column we share the stories of people with music and/or band tattoos, why they got them and how this band/music style made them stronger.
Furthermore, we talk with metal artists about every aspect of their inks and tattoo art in general.
—A tattoo has the power to decorate the body and meanwhile enhance the soul—
Before their show opening for Trivium and Power Trip in Antwerp, Belgium, we got the opportunity to sit down with vocalist Larissa Stupar from Venom Prison to have a chat about tattoos overall and to get some of her personal tattoo stories.
General vision/ thoughts about tattoos
I just see them as, kinda like jewelry that’s forever. And I like being colorful. And I like that they tell stories. They make you who you are. And tattoo culture is a big thing. At the moment, I feel like there’s more and more people getting tattoos and you’re not a freak anymore if you have tattoos. I remember like five years ago maybe, people were still like, staring at you, now it’s more normal.
I like at the moment I really like Japanese. But I’m also into traditional tattoos. I have a full sleeve and I have started the other one. I wanted it to be a full piece when I started. But I didn’t know like what’s going to end up being on it. So I started with the one which was like the complete up and then did the rest.
My first one was my chest piece. And it took about six hours. And yeah, I wasn’t probably the best thing to have your chest tattooed first. It was the most painful so far. I don’t know if it’s because it was the first one. Or, you know, the place is generally the most painful, but it was the most painful. Yeah, think I was 21 when I decided to finally get tattooed. I wanted to do it like since I was 15-16. But first of all, it wasn’t allowed. Second of all, all of my ideas were like, I didn’t like anymore, like after a few months. And yeah, I traveled to Berlin and got tattooed by someone who did most of my tattoos afterwards.
I always have the idea of what I want. And I just tell the artist and they draw it. Like I never like draw something and give it to them. Because I like him to have their artistic freedom. And yeah, I have like an anatomic heart with with a sun clock in there. I think if I would get it today, it wouldn’t look like this. But it’s not ugly and I still like it (laughs)
Reactions from the environment
I had to hide it from my parents. Even though like I was already like 21 and I lived on my own. I knew my parents wouldn’t like it. So I hid it for like, a couple weeks. And then it wasn’t my mom’s birthday. And my brother has given me way. It was like, because I was wearing a jumper, so to hide it. And then when he was like, “aren’t you warm? Take your jumper off”. And then my mom saw the tattoo, she was really disappointed. (laughs) Yeah, but other than that like, I think everyone else liked it, like our friends already have tattoos so they don’t really care. And, yeah, my parents eventually got used to it (laughs). Yeah, they still ask me like, even if I don’t have any new pieces, like, “Oh, they have anything new?”. “No, nothing new, I’ve had it for a while”…
Tattoos in the hardcore vs metal scene
I would say people that have grown up in hardcore usually have more traditional tattoos and people in metal usually have like, all kinds of styles. Sometimes you see like, especially in bands, if someone’s got traditional tattoos, they usually have like a hardcore background. People in metal have predominantly, I would say black and white tattoos, compared to like hardcore kids. And they usually darker while the people in hardcore have like more positive ones.
Meaning of a tattoo
When I first started getting tattooed, I thought, like, every tattoo needs to have a meaning. But today, I don’t think that way anymore. Because for me, it’s not just something sentimental. Like it’s art. And sometimes if you just want to have something that you think looks really really cool, I think you can get it because it’s your body and you can do whatever you want.
Band related tattoos
I don’t have any related to Venom Prison but I’d like to. Like, I want to start my belly and I would like to have “Babylon Whore” on there, which is one of our songs from the seven inch. I have moved down to my old band there was like, is one that we were on tour with our friends in the room and another one from a tour in Asia. I don’t know if I want to cover them up or not since I’m not with them anymore.
I don’t think I would get tattoos of other bands anymore. Like when I was young, I would definitely would have gotten something inspired by I don’t know, maybe Earth Crisis or something like that. But I wouldn’t do it anymore because, I don’t know, I just don’t think there’s a band that I love that much that I would want to have a tattoo of. Because I love so many bands, and I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what my favorite band is because there’s just so many and wouldn’t be able to decide.
There is someone from the Philippines who’s got like my face, I think it’s a live picture from one of one of the earlier shows, and it’s on his leg. And first, I was like, very freaked out. I was like, “Oh my god, what the fuck.” But I guess if if it means something to people, and if I might have, like, positively influenced their life, and it means them so much, then I think it’s really cool. And I think if that’s how they want to show support, or respect, or just love for someone, that’s cool.
I think I would like to have my full body covered. I’m not sure about my bum right now. But if my bum is the only thing that’s left open, it’s gonna look weird. Anyway, I think I would like to have my whole body covered. I’m not sure about my hands and my neck. But other than that, I’m open to everything.
It’s a geisha. It’s from Ash Davis from Cardiff, from Old Tattoo. And it’s just got a feminist meaning for me. And I like Japanese culture. So I thought I’m gonna start having some Japanese pieces as well. This one is from my granddad. He died about 10 years ago. And he was the biggest influence in my life, because he showed me that I can be strong and I don’t need to rely on other people. And when he died, I was devastated. It was like the whole world just died for me. And then I just wanted to memorize him. Yeah. So it’s an anvil. And just okay, it’s for strength. And that says, “You taught me to be strong”.
And I have a wolf in the sheep’s coat and that’s how I see myself sometimes. I’m the wolf. Yeah. People often think that I’m like, really quiet and I’m reserved, but that’s not how I see myself and I can be completely different. So I’m a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This just a dagger with an omega, which is for death. Which is the cycle of life and everyone has to die.
Here I have this. I wanted it to be Maria. But she’s wearing a crown. She’s kind of the queen. Yeah. And the mother, but it says, “religion ain’t the shelter”, which is for me, it means that there’s no hope and religion and I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe in God. And I think people that do, if it helps them that’s cool, but there’s other things in life that you can focus on that can keep you going. Like if, basically if it rains, religion is not going to give you shelter. That’s basically what it means. And that’s my black and white one, it’s just a cobra. And here I have this Native American girl which is just a traditional tattoo I really like. It also kinda means strength.
Lots of thanks to Larissa for having this highly interesting conversation with us!