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An interview I did for Minami Con.
Hi my name is Sarah aka Aqua. I have been an anime enthusiast for many years and have seen lots of different ways people have expressed their love for the fandom, from decorating cars to rooms dedicated to manga libraries. One of these people is a close personal friend of mine and her way of expressing her fandom is though the art of tattooing. She lived in Asia, getting most of her tattoos done in South Korea and Japan. I’m here now to interview Zoe about her tattoos and the experiences she’s had getting them.
Aqua: What was your first tattoo?
LZSY: My first tattoo was a rose I got on my back while I was in Ibiza, basically based on the fact I was in love with a series called Rose of Versailles.
Aqua: What other tattoos do you have now?
LZSY: I have a quarter sleeve on my right hand side which I had done while in South Korea and I have another quarter sleeve on my left side which I had done in Osaka in Japan. I also have tear drops on my shoulders, butterflies on my clavicle and the xXxHoLic symbol on my wrist.
Aqua: They look amazing and so elaborate. I see they are all based around anime however are not characters, can you explain the tattoos on your right quarter sleeve?
LZSY: My sleeves are compositions of different iconographies from different fandoms patch worked together taking particular styles, themes and artworks and putting them into butterfly themes.
The first one I got is Hollow Ichigo’s mask but it is done in a certain way that it is surrounded by smoke in the motif of a butterfly.
LZSY: I have also got Lelouch-sama’s mask from one of the clamp art books as the mask itself looked like a butterfly. I took the butterfly design with Lelouch’s Geass eye and some more designed smoke.
Another favourite artist is Yuki Kaori. I took one of her iconic covers, which is a cross; I think Michael is posing with it, which has butterflies hammed to it.
The next tattoo is another butterfly, again from bleach with a moon design. The Sakura petals are specifically the Sakura petals used by Seishirō from the Tokyo Babylon manga and the butterflies on my chest at are the Tyki Mikk’s butterflys from D’gray Man.
I have also got the word “Shinigami” as I am a huge fan of the Shinigami lore and it’s tied to butterflies as they are the messengers. Shinigami lore is one of my favourite themes within animes hence why I like bleach so much.
Aqua: What about your left sleeve, it looks awesome but a little less complicated.
LZSY: On my left hand side I have a giant tattoo all completely depicted my love of death note.
Aqua: I see that your designs are not characters from animes and mangas but have been composed in a certain way to show your love for the fandoms, where are the design from?
LZSY: They are all pretty much designed by myself and pieced together. When I have not designed them I have taken them straight out of the manga’s and have chosen the compositions to put them together in such a way.
Aqua: Your xXxHoLic tattoo, why did you decide to get that one?
LZSY: Oh yeah, the tattoo on my wrist is the 3 X’s from xXxHoLic in exactly the same style which represents not only the anime fandom but the 3 X’s for my universal fandoms, X|1999, X-Files and X-Men, it looks gorgeous.
Aqua: Is there a reason why all your tattoos are all black and white with no colour?
LZSY: I will not put colour in my tattoos because you do not put colour in manga. Even before tattooing I was a great believer that your body is a canvas so I got a lot of piercings. However there wasn’t many piercings I wanted to get and I like artwork so much that I thought, you know what, skin is another place you can put artwork so I decided to turn my body into pages of manga representing that beautiful art style on my skin.
Aqua: Will you not one day ask yourself “Why have I got these tattooed to myself, permanently”?
LZSY: I have always said that there are two kinds of people when it comes to tattooing. People that will not get a tattoo or keeping thinking about getting a tattoo but think “it will be on me forever” and people who the thought “it will be on me forever” doesn’t even cross their minds. The fact that these are going to be on my body forever never crosses my mind.
What goes through my head is that there is a patch of skin I think I can artistically enhance through expressing a love of a fandom. Even as my fandom changes, which they do, I still love them because great art never goes out of fashion. People don’t look at Picasso and think “I am over that now”, and the fact that I have it on my body makes no difference to me and I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at them. It is beautiful and very important to me.
Aqua: You have such passion for your tattoos; do you have any more planned?
LZSY: Of course!! I can’t wait to get my entire back done, it has taken my 2 years to plan this tattoo and even then I am like, “I can just add something else to that…” or “Oh! A new fandom”. Recently there has been other fandoms, I was doing well with my design until I saw Kuro and I was like yes, I must have that somewhere in the iconography of my tattoos. I had to reshuffle a bit. That is the only downside of turning your body into the pages of manga. I always get nervous when a new Clamp comes out, I know that there is going to be something in it I want to add.
My tattoos are based around Clamp, and this is going to be in my other designs as well as, magic summoning circles from various things like Tsubasa and the demon contract symbol from KuroShitsuji .
I have a rule with myself that I have to be into the fandom for at least a year before I can even think about putting it on my body because then I know I have loved it and will still be thinking about it. I have been planning my back piece for 3 years now and the central image has not change one bit.
Aqua: So… let’s talk about your experiences, what was it like getting your tattoos done in South Korea?
LZSY: I lived in South Korea before I went to Japan so I started getting tattoos while I was there. In Korea it is illegal and you have to have a practicing medical licence and be a registered doctor to be able to change somebodies body and so obviously tattoo artists are not doctors. Tattooing is kind of like this weird underground hidden art form. As many of you know Koreans produce some amazing manga now and most of the anime you watch now, when the credits roll up, you will see Korean artists. I knew the calibre of artistry in Korea would be just as impressive. It is a little bit more of a Ninja process in Korea as you have to try and find a secret tattoo den. The parlour I went to was a high class establishment and all the artists had dual American passports so if they ever get caught they could always turn around and say “I am American and therefore I can tattoo”. You can tell by looking at the tattoo artwork on my arm just how amazing they are, I would literally turned up with pages of manga and drawings and say can you combines these and out it on my body.
Aqua: That sounds like an experience and a half, what about Japan, how did that compare?
LZSY: Although the Koreans were amazing, in Japan it was so nice to have tattooing as more of an open thing, less like being a Ninja. My Japanese tattoo has a crazy story. I was out in Osaka, I knew I wanted a tattoo done I just didn’t know where or when I was going to get it. I was trying to find a more alternate place to go drinking than your usual hip hop bars when I saw a place called the “Black Star Tattoo Bar” and I was like “is it a bar? Is it a tattoo parlour? I don’t really know”. I trundled up the stairs and basically by day it’s a tattoo parlour and in the evening the staff pack up their equipment and have a bar which they open for business so you can drink with them. I had some drinks with them and started talking to one of the artists. At 2 o’clock in the morning they called another tattoo artist down and said this girl wants a tattoo. I literally sat at the bar after a couple of pints describing this Death Note tattoo that I really wanted and he said come back tomorrow and we’ll do it. I came back the next day and 3 hours later a beautiful Death Note tattoo appeared on my arm. It hurt like hell and bleed, bleed like you would not believe. Never drink beer before having a tattoo it thins the blood and you bleed everywhere.
Aqua: Oh my goodness!! How long did it take for you to have all your tattoos done?
LZSY: Let me think… there must be at least 20 hours of work on my body. Some of the more excruciating pains and some of strangest feeling ever, but nothing compares to the scariness of seeing that shading brush coming at you. That is 4 needles in a wedge that they used to shade tattoos. Once you have had a tattoo done the adrenalin rush and the absolute exquisiteness of it all, you are ready for your next one. The fact that it has been 2 years since my last tattoo I am in withdrawal. It’s taking forever to plan new ones and I have to be careful now I am back in the UK and trying to find the right tattoo parlour that has an Asian style of art. The standard I am used to is high.
Since the writting of this article I have found an amazing tattooist Edgar at Old London Road tattoo Studio. http://www.oldlondonroad.co.uk/
I now have finally completed my back piece of Yuko from xXxholic/tsubasa magic summoning circle.
Aqua: Ok last but not least, do you have any advice for people out there?
LZSY: My advice to anyone who wants to get an anime related tattoo is make sure it’s a fandom that you have loved for a while. I have loved Clamp since I got into anime so by the time I was old enough to have a tattoo I knew exactly what I wanted. It was just a case of piecing it together and you just know in your heart that is what you want. Everyone is different some people like putting characters on their body I am not like that because I come from a slightly different background where the iconography and the meaning and stories behind it are more important to me. Do not jump into it if you are not ready or are not sure, it’s something that will be with you forever.
Dont forget to follow me on twitter @lonedreameryoai as well as @aquasan.
I also have a Let Zoe Spoil You facebook and Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/lzsy/
So readers it’s a New Year and a new start now that the craziness of the last few months have calmed I’m hoping to spend some more time here on LZSY. Lots of movies and shows that I’ve collected that need watching and reviewing me thinks. Also hoping to add a few more details to the site try and get a bit more fancy I hope. So far the only thing I’ve managed to do is add a picture to the about page, I know wow so exciting but it’s a start. I also have started giving myself challenges for no other reason that I like to outdo myself. The December challenge was to watch all 5 seasons of How I Met Your Mother in that month. Obviously I passed that and have to say I am very pleased with myself that took some dedication since I had to fit it around work, the gym and the crazy busy Xmas season so yay go team me for dedication to television. This month I’m going for all three seasons of Leverage, which happens to be awesome. It’s like a strange mix of Oceans 11, Hustle and Robin Hood and basically you have a team of super thief’s that now help those that can’t. You know the theme evil corporation has all the money in the world to get corrupt lawyers and cover up any bad thing they do so the little guy doesn’t stand a chance when they find out about the corruption or that the company has destroyed a family member. The legal system doesn’t work for them or will take so long that the company can just get away with it. Well in come the leverage team taking law into their own hands and dishing out justice to the little man. The winning thing about this show are the characters, you have the Hitter, the Hacker, the Grifter, the thief and the Mastermind. They all have such interesting and great personalities you really do love them all and their so witty and a little mad each on. There’s lots of twists and turns, double plays and cons on top of cons that you’re never board and it make for very fun watching, plus the Hitter is played by Christian Kane who is buff and one sexy man!!!!
Any way so yeah my challenge is to take a series I haven’t seen that’s at least been going for 3 seasons and binge watch it in a month so if any of you have ideas on good TV let me know. I’m still watching movies and Asian drama’s but I go through fazes and at the mo its American drama’s. Of course I’m still watching anime I think I would shrivel up and die if I wasn’t watching anime. I need to get my butt together and review some of the series I watch last year I got through a fair few. Let’s see what did I watch: Eyeshield 21, Tale of Genji, Gundam 00, When the seagulls cry i.e. Umineko (please avoid this one unless you like being completely unsatisfied and slightly confused!!!), Working!! (This was great fun), Hipira, Kobato ( I hate to say it but for the first time ever there’s a Clamp anime that just didn’t work for me), Macross F movie( what was the point!!!!), Needless, Mouryo no Hakko, after many years of watching it the final series of Prince of tennis (god I love this show fan girl heaven), Hakuouki 1, Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho Tou: Dainimaku and I am still working my way through Bleach and Hitman reborn!!!
Wow you’d think I do nothing but watch TV but I also somehow manage to fit a social life, my gym schedule and Xbox time into my week as well. Also if you have an xbox and you havent played Lost Odessy then you must its a very addictive RPG that has been eating up alot of my time and it has been so worth it!!! Any way here’s wishing you a great new year and hopefully some fun reviews and great ideas for new shows and movies to watch. And lastly I have now set up a facebook page for LZSY under the name Let Zoe Spoil You!!