"I’m a freelance photographer living in Belgium, born in 1975; my father is Indonesian and my mother was Dutch. I have always been a creative person, but I never knew I would end up as a photographer - my life has always been full of surprises, and I learned to live day by day..."
"I started photography in May 2003, when I bought myself a small digital camera. I wanted to document moments for later, because I went to so many places and met so many cool people, and I wanted to remember that for later. From one thing came another and it became my biggest passion in life, it’s also a therapy for me; photography makes me happy.
I got my first tattoo when I was 21, and I was really excited about it. I got it from a friend who lived in the Netherlands, he committed suicide years later, and so the tattoo became even more meaningful to me. I got ‘TANK GIRL’ on my lower back, a reference to the comic and movie. I was involved in the hardcore scene and I have always been a strong independent girl/woman, so people started to call me Tank Girl and when the movie came out, it became my nickname and I also started to collect everything from it.
Later I got a few more smaller tattoos, one of them is a straight edge tattoo, triple x, on my back I had done by Tattoo Mike in Kortrijk. For me, straight edge was really important because I’ve been straight edge for about 17 years now and I’m still proud of it, that’s the way I live and I like it. Later, I also got a vegan tattoo; I got it when I’d been a vegan for 10 years. I’ve been vegan since I was 18, and I used to run an animal rights group called Animal Truth and I organised benefit shows, did vegan catering, sold stickers, patches, shirts, and donated money to projects to save the earth and animals.
My tummy tattoo is the logo of a clothing brand that Hans Verbeke, my ex-boyfriend, started. It’s called 24 Clothing, which also refers to straight edge, because X is the 24th letter of the alphabet. I have been there since the beginning of the brand and this period has been important to me in my life as well as Hans, who is still my best friend.
I lost my mom when I was 17 and I raised my sisters who were 10 and 14 in that time. This was one of the toughest and hardest experiences in my life, and I got a MOM tattoo on the inside of my arm. I knew it was a very painful spot to get tattooed so I thought it was very suitable to get my MOM tattoo there! Under my right arm I got a MOM tattoo again, on a grave. My right arm is about my past (symbolically of course), and I got a creepy girl with a knife with blood on that represents me, walking the path of life, walking away from the past, to the future. I have the knife in my hand to protect myself, as the world is evil and full of liars and cheaters, so this tattoo is also about strength. My sisters, who look kind of like goths, are watching my mom's grave, the knife in my hand is also to protect them, and it always comes back in my dreams/nightmares which I’ve had since my mom died. The arm isn’t finished and will get more things about my past and my future on it! The whole meaning of this is also to stay positive and try to walk on the right path, to make good decisions, to be careful, watch every step you take and not to look back to the past all the time, but to learn from it. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!
On my knuckles I got SELF MADE, because I know I’m not the only one who got that, every knuckle tattoo has been done. For me it means that I’m a self made woman; I built my business up myself, I have always taken care of myself, I have always been strong and never given up, I don’t need anyone and I worked really hard to get where I am now, all on my own. When I get interviewed for magazines they often portray me as a self-made woman, so I think this tattoo is perfect for me!
To get back to my mom, her favourite flowers were roses, so I also have many roses; 3 big ones on my left arm, on my hands and on my neck. My mom is my hero and I will never forget her, I have her with me every day in my heart, in my mind and on my body.
Behind my ears I got stitched hearts, and I think that speaks a bit for itself; heartbroken but fixed, scars never heal completely, every wound leaves a scar! Again this refers to love but also friendship, as I have often been stabbed in the back.
I have ‘Diabolique’ on my wrist, and this is the name of the fashion calendar that I did together with my close friend Marino ‘Scissorhands’ Lambrix, art director for Toni & Guy. He got the same tattoo, so it’s at the same time a friendship tattoo. I love fashion photography, so I started this calendar to build up a nice portfolio and to do something different from band and rock photography. Marino and myself did the styling for it, came up with all the ideas and we got some amazing models (Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil, Keith Caputo, Paul Allender from Cradle of Filth, Simone Simons of Epica, and lots more unique models).
All these tattoos have been done by my good friend Jean Harai. I’ve been going to him since he opened his shop and since then no one touches my skin but him, I’m super pleased with his work, he is amazing and I’m very loyal, I want all my tattoos to match. It’s not only nice that he is a great tattoo-artist, but the fact he is a great friend makes my tattoos even more meaningful. (Thank you Jean for being awesome!)
I think that’s basically the story behind my current tattoos... but there will be more in the future! Check out my websites and MySpace to see more of my work.
Thank you for reading,
My tattoo artist: www.haraitattoo.com