Let’s say you like Ville Valo a lot, and you started thinking about all those tattoos on his body. The first question is what do they mean and when he did them?
So here it is a comprensive guide to all the Ville Valo’s tattoo. We’ll set the titles of the tattoos in this way: Type of Tattoo – Part of the body – Year.
Heart – Right Wrist – 1994
The first tattoo made by Ville and probably one of the most copied one. I have one too.
I think if you use different tattoo artists to do a sleeve it just ends up looking crap. My idea came after I met this dude (Hyke, who owned a small tattoo studio in Helsinki back in the day) and we were drinking a lot. He told me he was a tattooist, as well as guitar player – he actually played in HIM for a while. We got completely wasted and I told him to do this little heart, here on my right wrist, that was my first one. I got it to see how it felt. Ville Valo
Ornaments – Left Sleeve – 1994
One of the most famous (and difficult) tattoos made by Ville. Surprisingly, it’s the same tattoer of the heart the one who made the (in)famous sleeve.
We got drunk again a week later and we got the idea to do the sleeve, it just came to us. The ornaments were designed by the friend, and all of my tattoos are done by him but he’s moved to Amsterdam. When I get a couple of days off I’ll go and see him ’cos I want a few more things done.”
What I wanted to do was one thing with the whole arm. Originally we planned to do both sleeves and the back but it took such a long time and we were doing our first tour around Europe. Ville Valo
Heartagram – Peck – 1996
The first Ville’s Heartagram, the same year is was designed by himself. Also the one and only tattoo by Ville to be recorded live.
It was around the time that i’d first designed it. I was half drunk the tattooist was fully drunk, and we went for it. I wanted to be a rocker and rocker need tattoos. The tip of it goes fairly close to the pecker, but not onto it. Ville Valo
S – Chest – 1999
I was a birthday present from his ex-girlfriend Susanna. After they broke up he covered it. He used to claim it was standing for satan or whatever started with an “s” when they usually felt out of love.
Heartagram – Neck – 200?
We don’t have much info about this one, just that is the second Heartagram tattoo of Ville in chronological order. A simple one, that has always been a big inspiration for many HIM fans who decided to have the same one.
Cosmic Pope – Right Calf – 2002
The cosmic pope came to attention first in “Dope Danny” by Daniel Lioneye with the line “I had become a cosmic pope”. The figure came up with the booklet of HIM’s “Deep shadows and brilliant highlights”, where you can see the head of the cosmic pope on the body of a spider, printed on the inside of the rear case inlay. HIM did a special “Cosmic Pope Jam Version” of “Pretending”, which can be found on some of their single CDs. Ville also has a tattoo of the complete drawing.
Egyptian Symbol “Flame” or “Wedja” – Left Calf – 2002
The egyptian symbol ‘Wedja’, means ‘prosperity’ or ‘well-being’, is on his left calf. Also BAM did a similar one (in the photo is on the left, Ville’s on the right). It’s a Symbol also contained in Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights booklet.
J – Finger – 2005
The letters “J” and agreeably “V” were made instead of the wedding rings between him and his ex-gf Jonna Nygren. The tattoo has now been manually removed by Ville by burning cigarettes on it, according on Ville.
One drunken night back in the day, I had my then-fiancée’s first initial tattooed on my ring finger. I later removed it with cigarettes by using my finger as an ashtray for a while. We were on tour and it got infected really easily, but it’s nearly gone. Ville Valo
Nidiot – Backside – 2005
2005 was definitely the year of the strangest tattoo, and this nidiot one has been influenced by Bam Margera.
We got tattoos on our a*s cheeks saying ‘Nidiot’. It’s an old inside joke, and the guy put the pictures on his internet site and some of the tabloids in Finland got them, so they had a spread of my a*s in some tabloid. I was laughing my a*s off. Literally. But you know, everybody’s got an a*s. Ville Valo
Heartagram – Left Nipple – 2005
Used for covering the “J” Tattoo, it’s a simple heartagram with a floral motif.
May – Right Nipple – 2005
It’s the secret name of his ex-girlfriend Jonna Nygren’s intimate places.
Poe Eyes – Back – 2005
This tattoo appears for the first time in the Killing Loneliness (American Version) and it was made by Kat Von D.
Poets (Baudelaire, Mukka, Bukowski) – Right Arm – 2005
I was going to have a full sleeve of authors done, but it’s never happened. There’s Charles Baudelaire, and Charles Bukowski, and this is the Finnish author Timo Mukka.
DILLIGAF – Right Wrist – 2005
An update near and inside the first Ville’s tattoo, the heart. It’s the acronym for “Do I look like to give a fuc*?”. Inside and near the heart it’s written: “When I love, I love”.
Dante’s Inferno – Right Wrist – 2007
The 2nd “update” on the wrist heart again. Heavily influenced by the Venus Doom production. The tattoo tells:
C .’. I : I – 3
It’s from Dante’s Inferno first “Canto”:
“In the middle of the journey of our life,
I found myself astray in a dark wood
Where the straight road had been lost sight of.”
Ville’s put this Canto (translated in finnish) also in the bio of his official facebook page:
Venus Doom Deluxe Edition – Right Arm – 2007
This is the only tattoo dedicated to an HIM album. It’s also the cover of the Venus Doom special edition.
Maya Deren – Chest – 2009
She was an American avant-garde filmmaker (real name Eleanora Derenkowsky) and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer,dancer, poet, writer and photographer. Deren was born in Kiev, Ukraine to Solomon Derenkowsky and Marie Fiedler. It is said that she was named after Eleanora Duse, an Italian actress.
She’s a surrealistic film-maker and director from the 1940s. There’s this picture of her from the movie “Meshes Of The Afternoon”, and i love the ethereal beauty of it. Ville Valo
Ville also put on the same picture from a window of his tower for several years.
Klaus Kinski – Belly – 2009
Another artist tattoo, dedicated to the german actor Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski.
It’s a beautiful random picture that explains the insanity of the artist very well. Ville Valo
Unicursal Heartagram – Back – 2009
This “outbreak” heartagram was also allegedly designed by Ville, transforming a form called “unicursal hexagram”. An unicursal hexagram is the representation of the planetary or heavenly cosmic forces, the divine. So the meaning for Ville might be the cosmic forces that regulates love.
ÖÖ – Back – 2010
On the left of the Unicursal Heartagram, the story of this tattoo is particular and connected to his brother Jesse.
I’m not the kind of guy who just walk into the studio and do a tattoo. The only time I did was in the case of the umlaut letter on my back, which means “night”. This is a small joke between me and my brother: there was a band called “ÖÖ” and one umlaut has a “minus” sign that a few days after the death of Peter Steele. So this is “Type O Negative Minus Night”. My brother also took this – in a walk – in Seattle, one of the places Wil A Francis (Aiden) spoke to us. We just walked and got coffee before the show. He knew a place and wanted to do something for Pete’s memory. They were a great band for us: October Rust, Bloody Kisses. Ville Valo
Hermite/ Anchorite – Right Arm – 2010
It’s something Kat improvised when I was in LA. It’s just a, it’s a combination of an hourglass with wings and uh and uh, it says hermit in French
VV: …since I’ve turned into a hermit. It’s just uh, It’s just like a little tiny combination of a lot, not necessarily inside jokes but um stuff only close friends know.
VV: So uh it’s like a little puzzle type of thing, more or less.
Tears On Tape / Malachim – Belly – 2013
We still have to figure out the meaning of this. Still probably one of the most misterious tattoos made by him.
Ville Valo Tattoos in Magazine
Several magazines during the years made articles about Ville’s tattoos. Here’s the latest one:
Metal Hammer Fan Pack Magazine 2013
Ville Valo Tattoos Video
During the years, he released many interviews and videos regarding his tattoos.
Ville Valo Tattooing Others
Ville also tattoed others, like Kat Von D for example.
Kat Von D
We don’t know the result thought.
Ville Valo Drawing a sketch for a tattoo in “Bam Margera Presents:Where The Fuck Is Santa?”
Ville also draw the map of finland for a tattoo in the famous Bam Margera show.
Extra: Ville’s Tattoo in intimate parts
It was confirmed several times by himself during the interviews, it is rumored that he has an heartagram tattooed on his most intimate part.