Hallowed Be Thy Ink: Nera

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Hallowed be thy ink talks about the magic combination between alternative music (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—



I had a talk with Nera about the beautifully handpoked dagger tattoo on her ankle. All of Nera’s tattoos have something to do with what made her who she is or situations she went trough in life. The same story goes for her dagger, as it symbolizes her love for the Austrian post-black metal band Harakiri For The Sky.

How I got to know Harakiri For The Sky

Actually my ex-boyfriend introduced them to me. Despite the fact I got to know them trough him, I kept listening to them. In their lyrics they display a lot of feelings I could connect with.
I’m already a fan of their music for quite some time but after they played a gig in Jeugdhuis Asgaard (our youth club), my love for them kept growing. I also met them over there and they’re very friendly and kind people. After this evening I was even more convinced that they will always be my favorite band.

Why I wanted this artwork on my body

I wanted a tattoo that represented Harakiri For The Sky but I didn’t want to make it too obvious. This artwork is very subtle so only people who know the band will be able to make the link.
The knife is printed on the back of the album Aokigahara (they also use it for patches, clothes,…) and I really like the design of it. I also refer this artwork with the song This life as a dagger of their third album III: Trauma, the lyrics in this song are very powerful.


This tattoo has been placed by Philippe Lantoine (Gummy) at NOIR Gent , I gave him the original design and he gave his own twist to it. I am very happy with the end result of it, you can recognize both the style of the band and the style of the tattoo artist in my tattoo.

Another powerful lyric that could make it into a tattoo for me

 It’s beyond me and concerning
And just that I know makes me grieve so deeply…
…I don’t think we can start all over again…
It’s a safe bet, ’cause nothing will ever change…

This part of the song Thanatos (also found on III: Trauma) , is sung by Davide Straccione of the Italian band Shores Of Null. The fact that this part is sung in clean vocals, makes the meaning of these words even more powerful and meaningful. You can also apply this lyrics to many situations in life.

A talk with Nera’s tattoo artist “Gummy” about Hand Poked tattoos

Hand Poke is the modern name for a traditional Japanese tattoo style named ‘Tebori’, which means ‘carving in the skin’. In this way of tattooing, the whole tattoo is built op by manually placing dot after dot with a rod that has a needle on the end. It’s a very painstaking task, you need full control to be able to perform this technique, but I find it very amusing to tattoo this way.  This style had become forgotten but it deserves to be in the spotlights again, I wanted to bring it to life again in my own way. This style is , in no way, comparable to the “Hand Poke” prison style tattoos teenagers get at home.

When I look back at my youth, getting tattooed was much more relaxing and the tattoo shops gave you more the feeling they made time for you. Nowadays things are all a little more hasty, while back in time there was more focus on the actual art. I do understand the way it evolved, but with my way of tattooing I want to go back to the core of the art.

I love to go against the stream and create my own style, combining  the different elements of modern and traditional tattoo art. I like it most when people can say from a distance what the tattoo represents, even if it’s a small tattoo. I really like the realistic tattoo art but they tend to get more vague after 5 years, this doesn’t happen with the style I use. It always makes me happy when people see/like one of my tattoos and are surprised when they’re told it’s been handpoked.  

I took a very big risk by becoming a professional Hand Poker, but I’m fully booked everyday, the people trust me and I trust them, I only see it grow!