Tattooing political symbols, portraits of politicians or logos of political parties is a trend in the Balkan countries. In our country, these tattoos are not very common, while most popular are patriotic tattoos as the symbol of “Freedom or death,” the sun of Vergina and all kinds and shapes of crosses.
Tattoo artists say that tattoos as one depicting Sasho Mijalkov, Director of Intelligence and Security, or ones with the face of the Prime Minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, are not so common. A few months ago, the daily “Vest” reported that Shtip citizen Angele Zafirovski tattooed the faces of Sasho Mijalkov and his son Jordan as a sign of gratitude, and a picture of a tattoo with the face of Nikola Gruevski and the text “Faithfull to death” appeared a year ago. Such tattoos with political themes are “in” in the region.
In an article of “Global Voices”, it is stated that in the Yugoslavia, most common tattoos were of members of the Yugoslav Army within state symbols, pictures of weapons or portraits of President Josip Broz Tito. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, pictures of other politicians, such as the Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelik and Serbian chetnik leader Drazha Mihailovik became most popular as themes for tattoos. In 2009, the Croatian daily “Slobodna Dalmacija” reported that a man from Banja Luka tattooed a picture of Bosnian politician Milorad Dodik.
However, Macedonians usually make smaller tattoos, texts, names, initials and dates. The girls are more courageous to go “under the needle”, and while boys are opting for larger tattoos on visible places. There are more tattoos of texts than images.
Most sought for are crosses in all types and forms, and there are more smaller than larger tattoos and portraits.
The artists who made tattoos say that lately tattoos are booming and increasing number of people are encouraged to go “under the needle”.
– Girls are more frequent customers and ask for texts, hearts, butterflies, feathers, i.e. less subtle tattoos. Men tattoo photos, portraits and religious tattoos, i.e. something that is big, evident, and impressionable. Of texts, we mostly tattoo love and life messages which motivate people – said tattoo artist Dule Mladenoski from studio Skin Art.
People of all ages have a desire to get a tattoo. Tattoo artists say that they tattooed children at the age of 16, who, if they want to get a tattoo, must come with a parent, but there are also a lot of older people. The most common demographic are young people who are aged between 20 and 26 years.
– Some time ago, 66-year-old man came and asked to be tattooed for the first time in his life. He tattooed the name of his wife with who he was married for 45 years and wanted to mark it in a special way and decided to get a tattoo. Apart from the name of his wife, he also tattooed the initials of his children and grandchildren – says Aleksandra Samara from MG Tattoo and Piercing studio.
Tattoo artists say they wouldn’t refuse to tattoo anyone, no matter what it means. Men usually tattoo slogans of football, mostly foreign, clubs, but the logo of Vardar is also very sought after.
– We don’t have any limitations, we don’t judge people, but we give them advice. The tattoo is a personal thing and everyone has the right to choose, but business is business. If someone is firmly convinced that wants to get a tattoo, then regardless of the tattoo, our job is to concentrate on how to make it – says Aleksandra.
He colleague Goran Michik adds that he tattooed only one logo of a political party until now, but if someone asked him to tattoo a portrait of a politician, he won’t refuse.
– It would be interesting for me to make a tattoo of something like that. My opinion is that portraits of politicians are tattooed in other cities around the country because, in Skopje, people fear they will be judged by the so-called urban elite, but we encourage them to tattoo whatever they want and not to care what others say – says Goran.
Dule from Skin Art says that he is against politics, but that he would never interfere in the choice of the customer. His studio has never tattooed a portrait of a current politician, but they tattooed the faces of Goce Delchev and Nikola Karev. They get requests for crosses and initials of saints who have particularly vital meaning for the people who have decided to get a tattoo of them.
– We tattooed portraits of Goce Delchev and Nikola Karev and the symbols “Freedom or death”. Also the sun of Vergina is very sought after. However, such symbols were requested before, but now not as much.