“I wanted a tattoo where my tumor is’

“A lot of people in tattoo parlors think about men with beards and music from ZZ Top in the background. No. Everyone is welcome with us and everyone is treated kindly. We were three when I started the shop in Apeldoorn, and there are now nine people working there. And the demand is still greater. from the show.

“I was raised a Christian. My father preached in the Pentecostal church in Fassen. I had two older sisters, a warm nest. I also spent a lot of time in the Molokan neighborhood with my father’s family. But I always did everything on my own. Everyone loved football, I went skiing. In my opinion, I am not a Moluccan among the Moluccas because I am half blood, and I am not Dutch among the Dutch because I am half blood. I loved going everywhere as if I were alone.

“One of my sisters died when I was 14. Suddenly, from a brain hemorrhage. I was so good to her she was a rebel, and I also liked to push boundaries myself. It helps you a lot, but as a 14-year-old you don’t know how to express it.” My parents were sad, my other sister was just having an affair, and I went to the party. With pills. They put me into a state of ecstasy so that I don’t have to think about my problems.

“I didn’t finish my secondary education. I just stopped and started traveling around the Netherlands with the public transport I was working on. With sandwiches in my bag and made for me in the morning. My parents found out just months later, with a phone call from the school. They were Really angry. Then you have another one reality checkBut I forgot that.

“Parties and drugs, that’s been my life for years. I took ecstasy, speed, mdma, ketamine, ghb, angel dust, everything. Every now and then I’d play a DJ somewhere, I’d play drums. I got a little bit on the wrong track. I’ve never sat My parents had already lost their daughter and weren’t allowed to receive a call from the police that I had been arrested or dead. I don’t look back with pride. But I have to be honest: I enjoyed that time. I wasn’t afraid of anything because the drugs took over. on command.

A strange new period began when I was twenty-seven years old. I found out there was a tumor in my head. Well intentioned, but in the wrong place. If it starts to grow, it will be over. It was irradiated once, 45 minutes to an hour, so that scar tissue formed around it. You get a cage screwed over your head and you are chained to a table because you are not allowed to move a millimeter. After a year and a half the tumor stopped growing. I just need a checkup every five years. Because of the tumor, I am deaf in my left ear and have a balance disorder. I also have wheezing and tinnitus in my ears due to nerve damage. But I can handle that pretty well.

Picture of Dieuwertje Bravenboer

“The tumor made me think: it’s time to stop the drugs. I decided to focus on tattoos. I’ve been drawing all my life. This calms me down. I learned it from my dad who painted for fun. He mainly wrote letters on corporate banners. My dad was an old hippie, and he had Dots tattooed on his hand and a sword.When I was 12 I secretly got my first tattoo on myself.I took a needle and thread from my mother’s sewing box, sterilized sterilizer, and put an L on my leg, from Luhukai.Neighbors also wanted a tattoo.When I was 16 I stole a tattoo machine from someone.I used it to make money.

“I became a father, I have a son. His relationship with his mother fell apart. I started gambling and went from bad to worse. So much so that I went to rehab in South Africa. I bet everything even my son’s savings account, then two. I thought: I don’t want to be like This father. My parents were able to support me financially. In South Africa I have a gender for two months brainwashing It was. and shock treatment. I didn’t know I had a problem with my sister’s death. I’ve been in survival mode for years. My reaction was to turn around and walk away. I noticed the rest was nice. It’s good to tackle things.

My son is now ten. I have a girlfriend of seven years. I have had a tattoo parlor for five years now. In 2018, she ranked second in the TV show Mr. Ink, where ten tattoo artists from the Benelux compete against each other. I only do large tattoos, so I only have one client a day. Recently I have been telling clients: between us we can talk, and during work I want to focus completely on tattoos. Then I can shut myself down pretty well, and turn on myself. I am a comprehensive tattoo artist, doing almost all styles. I want to get out there to just do my own style, I enjoy it more. I make my drawings the way I want them, and people come to me for what I make.

“I wanted a tattoo in memory of my throw, where is it. At first you thought of crosses or bolts, but then you look like a crazy Frankenstein. It became a sword. This is part of the ‘battle’, my son is busy with swords and my business is called the Black Sword Tattoo Shop. Only after that It turns out that all my uncles have a sword somewhere.”

Recordings: ditbenik@nrc.nl

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