Vlada. 21 years. Kiev, Ukraine.

We spotted Vlada outside a small coffee shop opposite the A.V. Fomin Botanical Garden in Kiev. Here she sits wrapped in a blanket and smokes cigarettes with a thoughtful smile. Her black and reddish coloured hair, pieced nose and the “fake” and “reality” tattooed on each side of her face attracts our attention. She speaks good English and opens up to us almost immediately.

“My Fake and Reality tattoos is a comment to peoples hypocrisy, how they pretend to tell the truth to others, but in reality they just become even more fake in doing so since it is their own interpretation of the truth that they try to force onto other people.”

Vlada studied to foreign language teacher in Odessa, but left her studies because she believed they were the reason for her increasing depression. Thereafter she went to a therapist and was diagnostic with a genetic depression. She shows us cigarette burns on her arms and scars on her legs.

However, she has one great passion in life that keeps her going.

“I want to be a tattoo master. I always have wanted to be that. When I told my mother, she, however, disapproved it. She told me that all her friends would gossip about me and our family. So I left home and got a tattoo a place where everyone could see it.”

Today she has tattoos all over her body. They are made by different tattoo artists so she could have learn of their professional skills. She don’t communicate with her mother any more.

“My mother still can’t accept it. She don’t understand that I want to use my life making tattoos. Going to university and studying language was something she could approve of, even that it made me sick. So now I live my life as I want, trying to save enough money to buy a tattoo machine so I can become a tattoo master.”

Besides being a tattoo artist, Vlada dreams about travelling to Canada. She like mountains and nature.

“The problem is that I’m afraid of water, and that could be something of a problem in Canada,” she smiles and look thoughtfully towards the traffic passing by the coffee shop.


Photo: Sila Yalazan

Text: Steen Andersen




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