“Demiurge derives via Late Latin from Greek dēmiourgos, meaning “artisan” or “one with a special skill.” The “demi-” part of the word comes from the Greek noun dēmos, meaning “people;” the second part comes from the word for a worker, “ergon.”
An intermittent buzz in the busy Roman nights comes from a studio. A strange kind of studio, where thousands of stories come to life. Secrets and experiences are flowing through the hours until a unique piece of art appears on somebody’s skin. It’s a tattoo studio but not a classical one because it is one of one hundred. From this place, right in the heart of Rome, where lines and colors come to life from a Demiurge’s hands, people are constantly coming and going. Every night there’s a tale, a journey, a feeling that rises from the skin, on the skin. He always says that tattoo happens for a reason; a drama or a great change. Being tattooed by the Demiurge’s is a process, an unforgettable one, that will deeply change you.
Two hands, some cigarettes and the machine that beats. It’s like jumping onto a ship without any idea about the destination, even the captain doesn’t know it at the beginning of the voyage. The curves of the waves will sign the right way without you noticing. It’s magic, or just extreme sensibility, what the Demiurge creates. It’s nothing but the transposition of a feeling. A picture of yourselves in the exact moment when you finally stop fearing the waves and let your spirit rise from the ink that the demiurge is injecting under your skin.
Don’t try to go there with a concrete idea, that will not be realized. That is not how it works. You might be thinking about a drawing and surely you did it during the day. That’s the first mistake: every day we keep a mask on and we take it off only at night. We are closer
to the truth only when the sun goes down and it’s inevitable. Be free, the Demiurge feeds his hands with your feelings, your desires, and your sins, but he is not a confessor. He will not judge you, he needs only to understand you. Then you must have faith in him, otherwise, the journey will not start.
But don’t worry son, his charm and deep voice will guide you through a deep introspective of your being.
When the night is over, somehow you feel that you are in a different place, far from what you were expecting. You feel different, or just a few steps closer to understanding yourself.
You can see in the eyes of the Demiurge a sparkle of satisfaction when his job is coming to life. Yea, life. As every Demiurge, his creations are living ones. The strength of the waves and the curves of the clouds are so powerful. All the elements are exactly where they have to be in harmony with the curves of the body. He borrows a part of your body to mix it with a part of your soul, and the result comes out on your skin.
The style of his art is unique and it’s based on oriental philosophy and fantasy. His calligraphy seems to be coming from a brush like the Japanese ideograms. Every letter is different, every light to be adapted to your body and to avoid everyone reading what is signing your skin. The art is personal and what the Demiurge writes on you is only a nice combination of lines until you know the deep meaning. It is up to you if you share it or not.
It’s a very deep trip and requires huge knowledge to create something that strengthens yourself from an aesthetic and mental side. The elements instead are chosen by your personality. The form of the waves or the wind is given by your body and your spirit. You can understand people’s feelings by reading the elements tattooed. There are leaves which could be green, yellow or red, there are harsh or gentle waves and many kinds of flowers, each one with a meaning which could have many aspects, depending on forms and colors.
The night is flowing through rituals, some of them are secret, some others are recognizable like the careful preparation of the machines and needles or the ink that is squeezed out from the bottles into little plastic cups glued with some cream on the table. Everything is part of a routine that sometimes has little imperceptible changes. Those changes are not casual and many of you will not notice them, but for the Demiurge, it is essential for the inspiration. He doesn’t want to repeat himself. He’s in a never-ending slow evolution. He’s like the earth, sometimes it takes ages to move a single stone, and sometimes mountains are born in one single night. He’s not a believer nor is he superstitious. He has his kind of creativity that should be fed by little cracks in his rituals; sometimes they are as big as mountains and sometimes little, like a leaf in the wind.
Some kind of magic makes the pencils run kindly on the skin, guided by the wise hands of the Demiurge. But he’s not a simple drawer, he’s making the sketch rise from the deep. Somehow that drawing has always been there, it is a true part of your soul emerging from the depths.
The Demiurge knows that to keep his creations immortal, he must shoot with his camera after giving birth to his creations. Like most of the arts, the tattoo is not eternal, exactly as every painting, fresco or sculpture. The sign of time will come together with the body that hosts the drawing. When his finger makes the shutter on the camera click, body and tattoo are perfect in form and colors. Whatever the meaning, the tattoo is an exaltation of the body, wisely done by the Demiurge’s hands…the sign of immortality.
Only When it’s Dark – This is is the reportage of the life and work of Francesco Cinti Piredda: The tattooer of the night, aka “The Demiurge.” His studio is in Testaccio, right in the heart of Roma and it was my pleasure to spend many nights in his company. A great thanks to Francesco for giving me the chance to enter so deeply into his world.
© Mon’s Photography