Mask Art on Skin

My back piece officially turned a year old last August 13. And yes, it is my first tattoo.

I have always wanted to get one since college, but I was never able to make up my mind on what design I want to have permanently inked on me back then. A couple of options I have considered were a bunch of art nouveau roses and irises on my upper arm, and a huge dragonfly with its intricate wings spread across my back.

Then one February morning in 2011, I woke up knowing exactly what design I wanted – a Venetian mask with a peacock for an ornament, entrenched with roses, peonies, and paisley prints with two dragonflies hovering over one side. Basically, it is a hodgepodge of some of my favorite things, organized into one cohesive piece. I immediately started drawing the design on a 1/4 illustration board, then contacted Ram Marual of Psyko Studio Tattoos Cavite to schedule an appointment.

On the 5th of March 2011, I finally got my first tattoo. My first session took a total of 9 hours straight with a 15-minute dinner break, Led Zeppelin blasting from the speakers the entire day.

July 03, 2011. I sat down for my first coloring session. The roses and some of the paisley prints on my lower back were filled in. The third session on July 17 would have to be the shortest. I arrived late and managed to only have the rest of the roses and the peonies colored in within a span of 4-5 hours.

July 24, 2011. While the previous session was the shortest, this was the longest. It took 12 hours for Ram to fill in the paisley prints and mask with all their fine details, and shade in the peacock feathers. Enduring the length of this session wouldn’t have been possible if not for watching the extended version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Warrior’s Way.

July 30, 2011. Shorter by an hour or two compared to the last one, we were still able to make a lot of progress. The peacock, which comprises almost half of my back piece, was filled in.

August 08, 2011. The small details were completed – dragonflies, tendrils, and spaces between the other elements. Highlights were added on the flowers.

August 13, 2011. A few power lines were redone, extra details on the peacock feathers were added, and a couple of roses were recolored to a darker hue. And after consuming 10 boxes of pizzas, 2 kilos of “gourmet” pasta, and copious amounts of coffee and cigarettes, my back piece was completed.

The whole process lasted for 7 long, grueling sessions, 48 hours, and 5 months. Proudly speaking, it was a full collaboration between me and Ram. Next up: An upper chest piece or maybe something on the arm.

Psyko Studio Tattoos is at Block 8, Lot 30, Siena Villas, Camella Homes, Bacoor, Cavite City, Philippines 4102. For inquiries, contact Ram Marual at +639179276267 or email

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