if you take a closer look and lean in for a glance

at my forearms you'll see these forms of art

they're not just boring marks i had

for a laugh no

these drawings are autographs of a haunted past

like the one for my dad

you know i had it done shortly after he unfortunately passed

see at the time i could've mourned my father

inside i was torn in half but i wore a mask

and what's worse is i hurt my family

you know i tore plasters to leave the

sorest awful scars

and for that i truly apologise

especially towards my aunt

so I'm sorry for all the problems i dropped on you

the nights of insomnia

and every time i've caused you harm

i was just so fucking lost back then

but see all those nights in prison

surrounded by walls and bars

withdrawing hard

i talked to him

i swear to god i poured my heart out

but that's when it come to me

and he says son right now i know of course it's hard

but only you alone can walk this path

and if you could just see what i see and take a forward glance

through all this darkness

one day you'll find dawn at last

written by jimmy


Tattoo of an octopus on an upper arm

Ben was a very special guy. I mean, everyone’s special. But he was very charismatic, very good looking, very funny, and people warmed to him. Even when we were kids, he was inspirationally naughty, if you know what I mean.

We were nineteen. We were in Thailand. One night, I don’t think we’d slept, and we went deep sea diving the next day.

And there was a little octopus. I was swimming around it and it started changing colours. It was like blue, and green. Apparently, it’s like a defence mechanism, it warns off hunters.

The deep-sea diving instructor made a fist, which means danger. And I remember Ben pointing at it, and bubbles coming out of his mouth, and I think he was saying Get it! And I thought, Yeah, I’m gonna get the octopus.

So I basically reached out and tried to grab it. It lashed its little tentacles around my arm. It was only small, but under 18 metres of water you panic.

I couldn’t get my arm away, and I thought I was gonna drown. And I basically vomited in the mask, and all these fish swam around my face.

Ben was like: 'You had a head of fish, like a helmet of fish.'

After we’d go out, and meet people, and they’d go, ‘Oh Hassan, are you the octopus dude? Ben told me all about you!’

Ben was my best friend, like a brother.

He took a heroin overdose in my house. He had a bit of an unspoken habit. I mean we were both pretty fucked up. It kind of caught up with us. I’m better these days. He died at the age of 29.

When he died, I needed to solidify something. A unique memory that nobody else had.

My dad’s Syrian, he’s quite strict. He once said to me ‘Hassan, you’ve got a tattoo of an octopus on your arm. Like, who the fuck’s gonna take you seriously?’ He didn’t like it at all. It’s not a very Syrian thing you know. I stand out like a sore thumb there. He’s not used to it. But he actually quite likes it now.

told by hassan


Tattoo on a neck of the word utopia

Utopia is just my way of seeing life. Especially my life.

I was born with a hereditary blood disease, haemophilia. The main feature of this disease is that the blood of the sick can not coagulate. So the wounds don't heal without medicine.

I discovered I had this disease with the extraction of a tooth. And for a simple tooth extraction, I was going to die.

Today in Italy, out of 60 million people, there are 4000 people with this disease.

Children have many dreams, and I had many too. But growing up I realised that for me no dream could be fully realised.

This disease prevents me from doing so many things, it hinders me in many things, even daily.

I feel as though I am in a glass bubble. Fragile. I still can't accept it much.

I chose Utopia as my word, and I chose the neck as the place to tattoo it, because I can get up in the morning and look at it in the mirror.

I remind myself how beautiful dreams are. Even the ones I can never accomplish.

As I said most work I can not physically do. In my country, manual factory work is too dangerous for me. There's a good chance of getting cut, or bruised.

For about a year I have been trying to express myself as I can with drawing.

Art is above all a therapy. Art is a psychophysical cure.

When I draw I can still dream, as I did as a child. And I hope that what I do will help everyone, even those like me who have often felt "lost", without a place in this world.

Art helped me. I had dreams in my hands, and when I opened them, dreams flew away like flies.

written by alessio