Cleverson

“I was born in Brazil and I immigrated when I was 22 to Portugal. After that I went to Spain, then I got to Netherlands. And in Netherlands, I have been living for 16 years. I lived also in Sweden for one winter, but it’s too cold there.

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My first tattoo I got when was a fourteen years old. A friend of mine bought his own machine, we started to tattoo and he tattooed me and another friend at the same day. And yeah, after few days my father saw the tattoo. We had a fight and in the end he kicked me out of the house. I needed to go somewhere else, I lived with the friends and never went back again. From there I started to get more and more tattoos because I was independent (laughs). And I love tattoos.img_2261

My life story is on my skin.  I’m almost full, 80% or 90% my body is full of tattoos.

In Brazil I lived in favelas like the slums of Brazil. The guys (there) have their own rules. You see some things you cannot say, you have to be quiet. Anything you see, keep it to yourself. Lots of people, they are like normal people but poor so they just live there because it’s cheap. If you do nothing, nothing happens. If you make something wrong, they can kill you.

Monkeys

They have all the different meanings to kill, sometimes they cut a leg or head, sometimes they cut your tongue or hand. It depends on what you do. If you see someone without the hand it’s because he stole something. They cut head or tongue because you talked to police, this kind of stuff. They put it somewhere people to see.

I did my shin/calf tattoo in Indonesia when I was in Bali. I met one cool guy there and he was doing a tattoo with bamboo style with hand. I decided to get a tattoo from him. The tattoo took like 13 hours in one session. All the time when I put my foot down it was like elephant foot covered with blood, I needed to keep my foot up most of the time. But yeah, in the end, it was good (laughs).

I have my nose tattooed too. I tattooed it in Thailand. It was my first real backpacking trip, before that I had a lot of traveling but only in Europe with a band I used to play. For my first backpacking adventure, I went to Asia in 2005.  I did Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia for the first time. I met this one guy there. And yeah we got a really good connection and I decided to get my nose tattooed by him. But it took like three-four meetings because he really didn’t want to tattoo my nose. Lots of people go that crazy that, heyy, I want a tattoo here (on my face) but most of the tattooers don’t want to tattoo the face. But in the end after three times I visited there and convinced him that I’m sure, he did it. And yeah I really like it, I really enjoy it. It’s my souvenir from Thailand. From my really first backpacking trip.

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One tattoo on my belly is Mexican god of rain, Rain God. A friend of mine from Mexico did it. He drew it himself, he is nice good tattoo artist and he drew this. And I said I really like it and I want to have it so he did it for me.

On the middle of the Cleverson chest, you can see his Expansion tattoo symbolizing growth. He is pointing the God of Rain tattoo

I never went to the shop to get a tattoo from someone I don’t really know. I like to have a connection with somebody. I prefer to meet people in person. If I really like them, if I have a nice connection, okay, I ask about the price but most of the time if I make a nice connection, people always make good price…. (laughs)

 

It’s quite fun by the way, this leg that I have this skull. The tattooist is a friend of mine and I paid him a ticket to come from Brazil to Amsterdam to tattoo me. I met him, in southern Brazil at the beach and he mentioned he is a tattoo artist. We had so good connection we were like brothers. I said I want you to come to Amsterdam. I paid his ticket, he flew to Amsterdam and in the end, it was supposed to be just one month but he stayed almost three in my house. He tattooed all this, half a leg all the way to my ass and everything. So yeah, it was really cool. And we stayed really good friends. After I went back to Brazil, I was staying in his house and I met all his family

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The hand tattoo is like a tribal, it symbolizes family and freedom. A friend of mine did this, he was living between New Zealand and Australia in some islands there with Polynesians and he learned the meaning of the tattoos there. He did these tattoos for me in Amsterdam. And he liked the tattoo so much that he asked can he make the same tattoo to his hand haha.

The most of the people judge me, they think I’m a bad person just because how I look. I’m actually vegetarian, I don’t use drugs or alcohol and I don’t smoke. I do sports five times in a week when I’m home at Amsterdam. Most of the people when they hear this, get really surprised!”

 

Photos: Pinja
Interview: Cleverson

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