joakim urma

Early life subcultural neerdiness

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So... which subcultures and special interests did you enjoy as a kid/growing up?

Do you believe that it paved the way for the passion you now have for tattooing?

- If so, how?

- Can you see similarities in the attitude, themes and aesthetics of those subcultures in the type of tattoos you like now?

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The reason I thought of this is because over the past couple days I had a major trip down memory lane and revisited some of my favorite stories and art pieces tied to the Warhammer 40k table top game. I used to be obsessed with the game and the whole universe, lore and backstory from about when I was 11 to probably 15. Short but intense. I didn't really play all that much since only one of my friends cared enough to start collecting and painting with me.

Ah, those days. A lot of time spent in our boy rooms, listening to the radio, talking shit and having our eyes transfixed on various pieces of plastic. I actually think that Warhammer 40k was why I learned English so well early on. I read those thick books through and through. I also had a brief romance with the Warhammer Fantasty spin off game Mordheim which was super cool in my world. From the art of the game, I remember specifically laying on the floor while my parents watched television, drawing copies of the art in the rulebooks. That art was really captivating, wish I could see it again and also my probably not as fantastic copies. That's when I started to learn how to draw, and to have the patience for it. It was also the first sci-fi and fantasty themed stories I became interested in. Along with the world of Tolkien it's the only fictional universes that I cared about, and still have fond feelings for.

I can easily see how the themes of the WH40k universe with all the grim dark, death, war, aliens, crazy demons and space stuff, religion and different ideologies sparked my imagination and interest for the same themes in other artwork AND in the history, religions and sociologial stuff in our own world.

For those who can relate and want to do some reminiscing I can recommend these two starting points:

Vaults of Terra on Youtube - Lots of listening material compiled about the lore of WH40k

WH40k first generation art work gallery, 113 pieces When I came into the hobby it was second generation so I had never seen these until today, really cool

When I came out of the Warhammer 40k craze I discovered music, especially punk and rap. So that shaped me a lot. Both when it comes to style and themes of the lyrics, and political ideas. I also started skateboarding around that same time. I started sketching graffiti pieces in all my school books, but didn't take it to the streets. Some years later I started to read comic books and going to hardcore punk shows. I don't really know when I started to notice tattoos, it kind of snuck up on me around the time I was 21 and suddenly I had my first tattoo. I didn't know anything about it until then and hadn't been longing to get tattooed either. That came later.

I do believe however that the visual styles of these subcultures, and the themes usually explored in them, has shaped me a lot when it comes to what I enjoy to look at and what moves me. I got into tattooing sort of by accident and I am really happy that I did. I love it now and it has also opened up the doors to many other things that I now enjoy and take interest in. To me it's really fascinating to think of all the lucky accidents and random contexts you find yourself in through life and how some of them sows seeds for who you become and what you care about much later.

End of another long winded, somewhat coherent, original post. Talk about your experience or nerd out totally in some obscure interests I've never heard about before, it's your thread now.

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I collected and played 40k also.

First of all, I think it had an exceptionally well-supported art department with some really talented artists and designers. They also had good writers and hence the burgeoning second business as a SF publishing house (Black Library) in addition to the gaming.

I can't say that my teenage tabletop gaming led me into getting tattooed but it was definitely part of a lifelong love of SF / Fantasy.

In terms of subcultures there was a slight cross over with martial arts. I was going to Japan when I was in college to train martial arts about once a year (we did nothing else when we were there, lived on instant ramen and vending machine beer). The headmaster of the school was friends with Horiyihshi III.

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I've always preferred the darker side of things (though I don't wear full time black). Goth subculture always appealed to me, even as kid and I was very desperately wishing I could do magic ^^.

In the early 90's tattoos became interesting. I spent a fortune on temporary and henna tattoo designs as a teen. I was also liking piercings which were getting more popular at the time.

At 11 I got into the occult, and then with 15 added metal to my musical taste. The last step to being who I am now was probably adding Medieval Reenactment as a hobby. And I guess you could say my tattoo choices reflect a little bit of everything for the most part, as do my piercings.

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I was a punk rocker in high school (80s). I have always been drawn to creative people. My older sister was a big influence on me growing up. She is an amazing artist and just a cool, smart individual. She helped teach me not to care what others think, especially when it comes to your personal taste & style. I always thought tattoos were cool. :cool:

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I played a lot of Magic The Gathering during my early teen years. Tons of cool fantasy art on those cards. 5th edition Serra Angels and Shivan Dragons were some of my favorite cards. I guess you could consider it my first art collection. So many memories of hanging out in a hobby shop on Saturdays playing Or trading with strangers.

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As I mentioned in my intro thread, I've always been fascinated by tattooing, even going so far as to experiment on myself when I was a child. Pokemon was huge in my childhood (and still is, if we're being completely honest). I also got into anime and video games pretty hardcore, which has thankfully dimmed down into a casual interest. But my biggest passion as a child, and indeed now, is wildlife, and exotic pets. I started working with snakes when I was four, and now I have ten snakes, four lizards, two frogs, eighteen spiders, and a centipede, which is a subject for a different thread.

There is a huge overlap between the tattoo/piercing community and the reptile/amphibian/invert community. Many, if not most, people in the reptile community have multiple tattoos and piercings, and I distinctly remember a reptile show being held the same weekend as a tattoo show, and most of the people at the reptile show were running back and forth between locations. I think both shows got a lot of extra business like this!

Having said that, I grew up around lots of people with tattoos, and my parents never made anything of it. Most of them were super nice, and were more than happy to indulge my interests. I suppose this has contributed a lot to my interest and positive view of tattooed people and the community.

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What a geek I was in the 60s. Not that great on grades - except Algebra, Geometry, Trig, Physics. Physics major in college but hated it, dropped out after one year and joined the Navy for eight years. Got out and started a career in particle accelerators. None of this drove my desire for ink. Still don't know what it was. I just wanted it!

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Always wanted to stand out, rebel, or buck the system. As a youngster I tried to be a hippie in the 70's but my older cousin had to explain that the movement was "over." I was sorely disappointed.

Teen years I discovered the punk scene (80s) and found my groove. There was a lot of dysfunction, sadness, misery, anger, substance abuse, etc. in that scene, which I didn't really have myself, but the music and lifestyle transformed me. So, so exciting and a wonderful outlet for frustration. Now, my kids see the old pics and there are documentaries and discussion about some of the bands and the culture in general, and my kids think it is SOOOO cool that I was a part of that (East Coast, DC scene) but I have to remind them of what brought most people into that life, and that was feeling alienated by their parents, school, the world, and that we lost a lot of friends to substance abuse, suicide and careless accidents due to the extreme marginal lifestyle. I consider myself lucky. (RIP D. Brockie)

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I was born in '81, which was a weird time for geeks in general. Like, I was too young to do the 80's punk thing, but Pokemon was after my time.

I played a lot of video games. A lot. Basically from the moment I was big enough to work the controllers for my dad's Atari 2600.

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I still have my original NES, even. Incredibly, it still works. I guess that part hasn't changed much, since I still play an ungodly amount of video games. Not sure what else we had going on in elementary school. Micro machines? Voltron? Oh -- haha. MUDs. AOL used to let you play Gemstone III through it. And there was that BBS game before AOL was even a thing, L.O.R.D.? Oh my god, I am old. I played around with writing little 'choose your own adventure' stories in QBasic. Played all kinds of text adventures (think Zork) -- my dad was into those, too. He also turned me on to science fiction; he gave me his copies of Clarke's 'Rama' series and pushed me to read Greg Bear. He was always into out-there fiction...I saw Eraserhead with him, and Tetsuo: Iron Man with him not much later than that, and this probably explains a lot about me.

I guess grunge was a thing when I was in middle school. That's right around the time I discovered comics, which was a brief love affair, irreparably stained by the fact that the local comic book store owner pushed me to only buy series from Image. :/ We played a few card games. Magic, some Star Trek game, I forget what else. My brother was into pogs. Dead serious. Pretty sure my magic cards (which are all Ice Age) are in a shoebox around here somewhere.

I was a band nerd too. Played flute for about 11 years, did symphonic, marching, pep, and jazz bands, and went to All State and Solo & Ensemble every year. After I went away to New England for high school, I had to drop that, but it gave me more time to do theater things. That's when I finally got into punk music -- I guess that was more the NOFX/Misfits/etc. punk era than old-school stuff.

I eventually got into RPGs through Shadowrun, though I only ever got to play it online, in what is the nerdiest text-based environment you can imagine. (Really.) I wish someone had gotten me into 40kz! There was nothing tabletop-ish, mini or otherwise, near me where I grew up. I have good gaming buddies who regale me with stories about 40k lore and their crazy Necromunda games. They paint figures. I'm always totally fascinated by it. Sadly, my few experiences with 40k nerds who aren't 'them' left something to be desired. Like tact.

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@sophistre, you are just a couple years older than my youngest daughter.

I consider myself a "Bull Geek" now - I teach people how to be cyclotron engineers.

And, after working previously at Oak Ridge National Lab for 21 years - "Big Bang Theory" is more true-to-life than any "reality" show on TV!

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This is a great thread and I've loved reading everyone's responses so far.

For context, I was born in 1986. When I was 13 I got into pop music and the Internet in a big way...I was on various newsgroups and message boards for bands (and then got invited onto "private" offshoots of those message boards for being chatty). I was an avid Livejournaler and still keep in touch with plenty of folks I met there in the early 2000s. I've always felt like a bit of an uncool nerd because a lot of geek cultural touchstones like Star Wars, Dr. Who, high fantasy, musicals and so on never connected with me. Instead I was the sort of obnoxious teenager who read Georges Bataille and made sure you knew it. I really deserved a punch in the face.

When I was 18 I started listening to The Fall, and in keeping with past practices became involved in their online community. A bunch of really amazing people were on their message board; I've met a ton of them over the years and have traveled to the UK multiple times basically to hang out. So many positive connections go back to The Fall. It turns out there's a pretty hardcore group of tapers, etc. in the UK and probably some in the US, too, though who knows if the band will ever play here again since things never end well for them when they do. Replace the mental image of a Deadhead with one of a genial hard-drinking 40-something Yorkshire man and that's who I spent a lot of my early 20s hanging out with.

I can understand the resentment some folks might feel towards subcultures in the Internet age (if you can even call them that) vs. before that, but for better or for worse that's the story of my teenage nerdiness. The Internet really can help you to find "your people" if you're growing up in an area where you struggle to make friends...of course it can also keep you inside and alienated, depending on how you use it.

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@polliwog I saw The Fall in 2006 or 2007 and they were great, but after seeing them I genuinely have a hard time understanding how Mark E. Smith hasn't been punched out by members of his own band more often than he has. I can't think of any band I've seen where the frontman is so openly antagonistic and hostile to the members of his own band. During this set, he would repeatedly wander over to the bass player's amp and turn it off. It's no wonder people don't last long in that band.

I loved his autobiography, Renegade, and I'm sure you've read it, but if you haven't you certainly should.

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Renegade was a totally enjoyable mess! I just (finally) bought a copy of The Fallen and am both interested in and fearful of what former band members have to say about him...like, you know how the sausage gets made even if you would rather not be reminded of it in detail.

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I remember being really young, listening to my dad's old eclectic mix of an 80's weirdo records, and reading comics and d&d books. My brother watched me when I was young so I used to skate with him and when he went to the comic shop to play magic I sat in the front and read whatever I could get my hands on. My parents would never let me buy comics. We actually weren't allowed to go to the comic shop. Weird. Whatever music taste I have independent of my dad's started developing with RATM. That was when I started writing and drawing. I draw less now but still write. Then the ambiguous "they" got worried about me so I got stuck in band which I guess worked out. I started playing trombone and then picked up guitar, started listening to a lot more music. Then in high school I started a pseudo-psychedelic desert jam/cover band with some friends and I've been in that world ever since. Everyone raps now, but. Dust blows forward and dust blows back. Whatever textbook sub-cultures I was into were basically me becoming attached to things my dad remembered from growing up in east LA. Mostly kustom kulture and motorcycle stuff I saw from afar. There were communities of people around everything I was into but I'd hardly call them sub-cultures. More like packs of desert refugee kids.

As far as whatever paved the way for the passion... I'm still too young and destructive to care too much. Tattoos have been around my whole life and I always thought they were cool, I dont know if me reading comics, skating, playing magic, liking punk rock, or being into old cars and ed roth had anything to do with that. All those things definitely influenced my taste in art and what exactly is visually appealing to me though. I guess it's a question of correlation and causation.

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I feel like my hobbies are all over the place, I have tried to narrow it down in the later years. Since I don't have time to do everything + hobbies tend to cost a lot of money.

Well here are some of the hobbies I used to be into or are currently doing: warhammer both fantasy and 40k(more painting than playing, had no one to play with), magic the gathering(on a very basic lvl), bmx (there are almost only scooter kids in my skatepark now though..) and skateboarding.

Edit:

I don't know if any of my hobbies have had an influence on me when it comes to tattoes though.

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The earliest things I can remember being obsessed with: Backstreet Boys (Nick was my favorite), Savage Garden, Harry Potter, books in general, The Lion King, animals (mostly dogs). I still like some of those things. :) When I got a little older, things shifted more into drawing, comic books, video games (THPS ftw!), and punk/metal music. At 13, I discovered AFI and, 11 years later, they're still my favorite band. Looking back, I was always into art and music in one form or another, and was consequently attracted to the subcultures surrounding both...which includes tattoos, among other things.

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This thread's been on my mind. First of all, I definitely didn't credit the influence of the spectrum of metal music on my taste enough in my last post. Second, the punk rock scene was fucking huge and that's probably why it's echoed so much on this thread. But I'm curious about the personal particulars.

I guess the ftw mentality of punk rock & tattoos force them together in one way, the supermassive self-destructive vacuum of punk rock sucks tattoos up, among other things. But I'll admit there's at least a part of my metal side that looked up to tattooed musicians. I think my passion might have also come from baggage from the punk scene of a meth town. You either did or didn't "claim edge" and you either had a couple tattoos or were warped-toured to the teeth.

Theres a great story about a straight edge kid yelling at Minor Threat for drinking coffee, caffeine is a drug after all, and getting the shit kicked out of him. My town saw a lot of that

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@jimstanley, I can relate, and am especially amused (?) by the last bit about Minor Threat. My friends and I were chewed out by Ian Mackaye for smoking and drinking behind the BAR that he was playing in, which I had to sneak into for being underage, and though we were all major fans, we simply blinked at him.

Plus, when I look at old pics from the punk scene, hardly ANYONE had tattoos, lol. So much plain skin seems so strange to my eye now.

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@LizBee Yeah it was still sort of a big deal to have anything visible in high school when I was coming up, but myspace got these kids going crazy. Maybe the hand and wrist tattoos came from people being comfortable with piercing and stretching

If he'd just not played at the bar I'd feel that, but no shouts for going just for the sake of getting in one of your fans' business... I guess I don't get it like someone else does.

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Lets see….

D&D as a kid. (70's)

Heavy metal as a teen. (80's - and yeah i had the "hair")

Internet gaming and computer building (90's)

Guitar playing and tattoos (00's-now)

And hugely into hockey through all of that.

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@LizBee Yeah it was still sort of a big deal to have anything visible in high school when I was coming up, but myspace got these kids going crazy. Maybe the hand and wrist tattoos came from people being comfortable with piercing and stretching.

I do think that someone committed to visible piercings would be likely to get visible tattoos! I had my 6 facial piercings before visible tattoos.

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