The Ink Link: Tattoo Roulette

The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically impossible to have a tattoo… because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us.

This week we feature, Dino Batista, one of the owners of Molecular Bar Services, one of South Africa’s best mobile bar service providers and a good friend of Emi Adriano. Molecular Bar’s has catered for numerous events hosted by our partners and has always demonstrated a great deal of pizzaz, professionalism and  innovation in the offerings. Dino has represented South Africa in a few competitions namely: Beefeater (London) and Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (Trinidad & Tobago) to which he placed 2nd globally. He has also competed in competitions such as: World Class, Botanist’s The Forager, Tahona Society and Bacardi Legacy. Talk about being the best in the business!

Here’s a little bit more insight into Dino and the notorious Molecular Bar Services tattoo roulette.

EA: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

DB: So, my name is Dino, one of the owners of Molecular Bars. We are a mobile bar service that take pride in the cocktails that we offer by specifically curating our offering per event. We also tend to play in the “unusual” by creating drinks that are turned in to ice cream and sorbets using liquid nitrogen, creating edible cocktails plated as if they were served to you in a fine-dining restaurant and just all in all love pushing the boundaries of what people believe cocktails are and should be. Other than that we still offer your standard style bar services and level hipster, coffee bar services too.

As a whole the company is all about revelling in an industry that is as much about having fun and blowing minds then it is about prim and proper, suit and tie kind of style bar services. We take our craft very seriously by immersing ourselves fully in this industry that we love by representing South Africa in cocktail competitions all around the world and staying up to trend with cocktail movements globally and introducing these to the local market.

EA: How many tattoos do you currently have?

DB: I have 8 tattoos now and counting. Some planned and others more like, ‘should we get a tattoo today?’

EA: Have your tattoos compromised your career in any way?

DB: Tattoos have not compromised our career at all. It is somewhat of a rebellious, tongue and cheek kind of industry so if you have tattoos then great, show them off! If you don’t then that’s cool too. Its a creative field that we are in and any sort of artistic self expression is expected, praised and admired.

EA: Can you tell me about your tattoo roulette? Let’s start with more about how it all began…

DB: So when we started our company in 2011, there were just four of us – the directors/owners of the company. We literally did everything and filled all positions that needed filling. We got some part-time help, by mostly friends, but we always had our hands full – bunch of ‘kids’ trying to start and run a company off the back of a passion for an industry that we fell in love with. So, in a way, to reward ourselves we came up with an idea of doing a tattoo roulette for the owners of the business – we were young and reckless, we loved tattoos and it was a way to add to our body of work (no pun intended) while being able to run it off as an ‘entertainment’ expense haha.

EA: How do you choose the themes for your tattoos? 

DB: This began four years ago and has happened every year since. The chosen themes were based off what we were interested in at the time, or current tattoo trends of the time. So once a theme was chosen we chose 5 images that went into a hat to be drawn – what you pulled out is what you got inked. Even though there was 4 of us, there would always be 5 options as there would always be one ‘dud’ to the theme. Sometimes the dud turned out to be the most coveted piece, sometimes it wasn’t haha.

Themes we have done:

  • American Classic
  • Tiki
  • Sugar Skulls
  • Origami vs Reality

EA: What has been your best theme thus far? 

DB: All the themes have been pretty cool. Personally the Tiki and sugar skull themes have been my favourite. For the sugar skull phase, I pulled the dud which ended up being a Day of the Dead inspired Stormtrooper helmet instead of the traditional Mexican skulls.

EA: Is there any tattoo you regret getting? 

DB: There has been a tattoo I regretted, but for only 2 weeks though haha. It was done on a whim on a Black Friday sale. It was offered by a tattoo parlour (no names mentioned) and that morning we decided to take advantage and that afternoon we got them done. I had never been more upset with a tattoo then that one – it was a Pokemon playing card that had been redesigned to be an advert for a Japanese sushi restaurant somewhere in the world but I had fallen in love with it. The exception was poor but I got it fixed up by someone I trusted and have loved it ever since.

Sometimes it pays to do your research!

EA: What advice would you give someone looking to get their first tattoo? 

DB: For someone getting their first tattoo, think about what you’re getting but sometimes it helps not too think about it too much. My first tattoo I got was months of planning, and it had symbolism and meaning and purpose. Since then I have had less sentiment attached to some of my tattoos and just had more fun with them. They don’t always have to be so serious. Sometimes they can be done on a whim and that’s fine too. It could just help you to live a little, remind you that life is there to live.

I have always been a worrier. Getting a tattoo that makes no sense helped me to let go, accept, appreciate, move on, and get another one. And I love them all.

Eve Ensler once said, “here’s to the misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes….they’re not fond of rules. The push the human race forward and while some see them as the ‘crazy’ ones, we see them as genius. The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

So, do you dare?