Rhoma (Sarah) from upstate New York
Where did you grow up?
A reallyyyy small town in Pennsylvania, born in Philadelphia.
How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
If anything it picked my interest in photography from all of the beautiful outdoor locations. It was very rural and the people in the town tended to be very hurtful aside from a small handful, so I didn't have any encouragement to pursue my dreams of being a model until I left the area.
When did you start getting tattoos?
Right when I was 18. My dad always told me that if I waited until I was 18 to start getting tattoos that he'd pay for my first one.
How would you describe your style?
Now it's pretty normal... jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. The occasional sundress in the summer, black fleece-lined leggings and oversized shirts for the winter.
Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
Oh hell yeah. Many people get tattoos that are close to meaningless but to be able to accurately put ink on skin is a serious art. You can't mess up. With drawings and paintings you can start over if you choose to, good luck doing that with tattoos.
How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
It's becoming more accepted which is amazing to me. Sure, lots of people have had tattoos for centuries but now it's starting to become more accepted in the workplace, I see cops with sleeves and librarians with neck tattoos. I think the fear has really subsided and it's not a gang/cult associated anymore, it's an expression of self.
What has been your inspiration for getting them?
I've always wanted them since I was young, they can be very beautiful if they are well thought out. I'm mostly attracted to black ink rather than color. All my pieces deal with love and music which has been the undertone of my life thus far.
What’s your favorite piece?
I love all of my pieces but my first one, the violin f-holes, will always be my favorite.
Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink?
Oh yeah! My thigh piece draws in a lot of attention. Mostly because I'm a little girl with a huge tattoo that no one can read unless you can read French. So they HAVE to ask me about it if they really want to know.
In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
At times; especially when I'm feeling down about connecting with people I just remember "One must love if one wants to be loved".
What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
When I lost the ability to play it really tore me up. I took my violin in with me and said scale these holes to my back so I could always have my violin.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
Think about something you love, wait a year sometimes 2. If you still love it, get it. If not then you know it wasn't meant to be.
Will you be getting anymore?
I'm going to get my hip redone eventually. It was one of those spur of the moments, I probably shouldn't have gotten it done but it's a music note so it's not completely irrelevant to my life. It just looks bad.
What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
I take things day to day. In high school I was a weird girl, self-harming, very minimal friends a lot of haters. Asked to prom because my date had no one else to go with... I realized that the negativity that I feed my mind only affects me negatively so I changed my thought-process, which changed me. I'm exactly what I always wanted to be, a healthy, happy woman with a huge future in head of her. I've come a long way to give up now.
What is one thing that life has taught you?
The here and now only matters here and now. People move on and hopefully grow up into maturity. They feel bad about the things they've done to intentionally hurt people so when it happens... it might feel like the end of the world but it's only making your skin thicker. The world is beautiful, live in that moment rather than drowning in the sadness that surrounds you.
Do you have a favorite quote?
"Il faut aimer si l'on veut être aimé" One must love if one wants to be loved.
Anything else you would like to add?
Ahhhhh not really. Do what you love, fuck the system and question authority.
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