As many of you know, besides tattooing one of my greatest passions has always been music, an indispensable source of inspiration, growth and emotions for me.
Music keeps me studying, practicing and listening for hours on end, every day. Many times, it becomes a kind of bubble where I can seek refuge when I am writing and working, in order to focus and get my thoughts rolling. It was in one of those moments that I realized how many similarities there are between the two worlds of tattooing and music. In particular, my reflection springs from something I think we would all agree on: some songs and musical pieces are immortal. We continue to listen to them even twenty years after their release because they win us over every time, and are never boring.
For example, just think of people who love Metallica: they’ve been listening to “Master of Puppets” for over 30 years now. Or Led Zeppelin fans, who have been listening to “Stairway to Heaven” for almost 50 years. And then there’s Elvis Presley’s music, and the timeless works of classical music. Every time you listen, you capture something new that you hadn’t ever noticed; there’s a certain note, a certain passage that “moves” differently inside your head, and speaks to you in a different way.
Or maybe a song faithfully recreates the same sensations and moods over time. However, on the opposite end we have the famous hits of the moment.
They blast over the airwaves for a while, and then do what shooting stars do: they disappear into the universe of music, without a trace.
The same dynamic can be found in tattooing: why is it that there are tattoos – for example traditional or Japanese tattoos – that we continue to consider as benchmarks and never get tired of, and that the more we study them, the more we are able to see all the details that make them “great” pieces? How can it be that there are some works on skin that never go out of style, while instead there are others that start out by going “viral”, are then cloned like a shock wave, and finally end up being sporadic, creative moments in the history of tattooing?
Instagram highlights this for us every day. It says, this is the moment for a given style, a certain subject, or a specific graphic composition. And then suddenly everything disappears, and when you look at those pieces from a different perspective you realize that they are out of place and dated. It is true that tattooing is immortal, but maybe it’s more correct to say that what’s immortal is true art: art that you notice immediately, that’s never boring and isn’t subject to the here and now. Art that always offers new inspiration, that’s able to appear simple in its complexity, that amazes us. Art that always holds a specific place in the artistic universe where we know we can look, if we want to navigate amongst all the newborn stars – whether they are shooting stars, or not.
And allow me to add one last reflection: musicians, like tattooists, used to try and create something grand. That is what pushed them… Now, “artists” just try to be grand themselves – no matter how grand the results of their work actually are.