“I started getting tattooed at a time I was part of a re-enactment troupe, and I wanted to show my passion for history on my skin. The question of the origins of man and language has always fascinated me. So, I began to search for ancient symbols in which I could identify: Irish spirals, Scythian tattoos, Magdalenian drawings…
There is in these drawings a beauty that transcends the ages. We have often lost the original meaning of these representations, but they have a raw beauty that brings us closer to the roots of what makes our humanity.
In the beginning I tried to reinterpret this art, but I realized quickly that it was impossible for me to change a single element without altering its beauty. That’s how I understood their strength.
When I choose a motif for a tattoo I try to gather three elements in it: a subject related to my personality, a era that fascinates me and a place I have visited or that I would like to discover. I spend a lot of time searching for the perfect whale. lt was the call of Moby Dick of course, but I also wanted to evoke my maritime origins (I come from the Island of Ushant) and my profound love for the sea.
When I discovered Tanum’s whale, I immediately fell in love with her (for me this whale is a she, I can’t explain why). So I asked my wife, Fanny Codecco-Grando, to ink it on me. She was then a beginner tattooist, but I think she did a great job. She chose to use dotwork to recall the texture of the rock, and red ink to highlight the whale as it’s done on the site of Tanum.
I love this tattoo, it’s like a companion and I feel now linked to this unknow land far from my home. But I know that one day I will come meet the original whale …”
Tattoo artist and photo: Fanny Codecco-Grando