Mariana , Tattooist
More than a year has passed since the Pandemic Declared in March 2020. We'd like to know if there has been any change in your daily routine and your work.
Well, since originally I came here to study, in May 2019, I was continuing to do so even when the pandemic started. I began to work as a tattooist when last summer I moved to my current house, which I also use as a studio. Moving to my own place and living all by myself for the first time made a pretty big difference in my mental state and physical as well. Living alone made me enjoy and appreciate simple things: cooking for myself, exercising daily, being able to invite friends over.
Overall, I enjoy staying at home, I made it comfortable for myself to be here. But the problem starts when you want to go out. In my case, I met the most precious people that I know at the clubs, while being out and socializing almost every day of every week before the pandemic. One of my tattoo clients shared a concern with me recently: she just turned 19 and was very excited to experience fun and freedom of night life, but is unable to do so. And it might also never be like it was before, so the experience for the current young generation might not be the same.
We suffer from a big loss in not being able to visit clubs or parties.
Some people think that going to the club is limited to just getting drunk and dancing, but it’s a lot more than that. There’s people that share their work with the crowd - DJs, there’s a possibility to meet someone who you might end up working with in a creative field, or simply having fun is the best. Now people have to constantly think about wearing a mask, social distancing, curfew and a likelihood of a party being shut down by the police. All of this makes it harder to relax and enjoy the moment and even add more stress when you actually came to release it.
It’s upsetting to see how the people that I know, whose work is tightly connected to the work with the crowd and party venues suffer from the virus’s consequences. Places and people that gave me that much joy and opportunities are having a lot of hardships these days. Accepting the current circumstances is a first stage. Human beings in general don’t just accept things and sit still. And I am surrounded with creatives who just can’t simply accept it. The next stage is adjusting to what we have now and do something about it, move one. Trying to come up with the rules for having fun safely and thinking about the future in a bigger picture. And they are doing it well. Hope for a better future is always important, but actually doing something about it is priceless. Human should help a human in times of distress.
Before the pandemic, It was common to come across each other in clubs for us. How are you spending your weekend these days?
Actually, before the pandemic, every weekend I had a feeling that somehow I was obligated to go out. That I will 100% miss something important if I don’t. Maybe that is because this type of socializing gave me so many things that I never experienced before. Genuine fun. My friend once told me that some friendships that were made in the club don't make sense outside of it. So now you can see who is actually there for you and makes an effort to stay connected even though the ways of meeting got difficult. I want to make an effort myself as well. I like to have my friends over at my place, cook for them and just talk and be there for each other.
Because of more time for myself I’m starting to understand what I need better. I’m enjoying yoga, exercising daily, there’s more time for hobbies and exploring new things. When I first came here it was natural for me to crave to go out and see everything, now there’s no rush. I feel a bit more at peace with myself.
We wonder if you're aiming to eventually become a tattooist, or if there are other things you want to do.
I’m still young and there’s a lot to explore and maybe find a new passion. For now I’m happy to introduce myself as a Tattooist. I also do modeling jobs sometimes but a bit shy about that… Maybe confidence comes more with experience. The nightlife scene influenced me into learning DJing and that’s what I’m also doing these days. Seems like a lot of fun to be on the giving side of the party as well so I wish to try it. Having a lot of support from friends from a music field is a blessing as well. Maybe in a year I would be into fishing or knitting, who knows. That’s the fun of learning new things.
We are still in the middle of the pandemic era. Please share your next plan with us.
Soon I would need to go back to my home country for a short time and I want to take this time to reflect on my time spent in Korea. Maybe changing the surroundings would bring new ideas about what I surely want to do in the future. But I think that for sure I would be able to heal and relax a bit. Also some friends have interest in a Russian underground music scene and if there would be a possibility to connect them together that would be great.
I don’t have one big plan for life. But before I was making really detailed plans for a long time, but now, seeing how unpredictable life could be, I’m sticking to enjoying the small things and trying to achieve small goals. The perfect example is the fact that I was originally supposed to study here only for 2 semesters and then go back to Russia. You never know for sure what can happen. I know very little about what I can do and what my abilities are. People my age here don’t limit themselves to sticking to one thing only and constantly strive to better themselves which is very inspiring.
One of my small goals is to finally learn how to ride a bicycle and have a little trip outside of Seoul. The weather is perfect for it these days. I want to reconnect with nature, go for hikes, go to less industrialized places. But the biggest treasure for me is people. I can see how much their attention and being around helps me and I want to give the same energy but twice as strong. I want to create a zine for my next anniversary of living here dedicated to the memories I have with the people around me. It might be fun to make, coming back and re-living truly fun times. Also I really enjoy to curate and combine different things of my taste in one place and maybe in the future I would be able to open a space like my favorite ‘’. I guess that could be one of my first big-ish plans.
Anyways, let’s hope for the best. Because the best is yet to come. There’s always tomorrow, next week. next month or a year. The time is yours. It can only be better.
Interview, Photos by Xione Qin
Translate by Chanoi Yoon