|Birth Date||September 20, 1963|
|Birth Place||Brooklyn, New York, USA|
Robert LaSardo, born September 20, 1963 in Brooklyn, NY, is an American actor. He has been in numerous movies and television shows and has a distinctive look as he is covered in tattoos from the neck down. He stands at 5'7" tall. He graduated with honours from the High School of Performing Arts in New York. He went on to serve four years in the United States Navy. He studied acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City. He has had recurring roles in such shows as General Hospital and Nip/Tuck. He is of Italian/American descent.
- His body is covered in tattoos from the neck down.
I think you’re a natural walking tattoo and you have one of the most recognizable tattoos in the world, because that’s been in a lot of movies, and an insane amount of magazines. What do you think about it?
I am flattered by it. I also think it is ironic that there was a time about 20 years ago when it was quite the opposite. What I mean specifically and without bitterness is the treatment of individuals like myself who were heavily tattooed in America in the early 1980s. Whether it was on the work front or social circumstance it was definitely not perceived as cool. I think it was looked at by the average person as a declaration of war toward the collective conservative mentality. So it was attacked and demonized. I'll leave it at that. If anyone would have told me back then, that in 20 years it would become fashionable I would never have believed them. I am grateful for the shift in perception that tattooing is an art form.
How did you come to tattoo?
When I was a teenager growing up in Brooklyn New York in the 1970s some of my friends started getting tattooed. I did not know it at the time but as I reflect now I realize that the ritual of being tattooed and the permanence of the mark created a bond within the group. There was an un spoken understanding that we were all breaking the rules and creating our own individual identity. With each new tattoo the spirit of rebellion became more and more pronounced. It was as if, through the sting of the needle I could feel the impact that would forever change and shape my life. The group may have scattered, but the ink remains.
Which is your first one? And why did you make it?
My first tattoo was a boxer/fighter. Though nowadays it shares the space on my chest with some traditional tribal and the deity Shiva from the Hindu mythology. I chose the boxer simply because I like boxing.
How old were you when you got it?
I was 17.
What does your friends and family think of your love of tattoos?
My friends, if they are truly my friends tend to get almost as excited as I do when I get some badass work. The spectators/friends who are only fascinated with the physical extreme's of my tattoo work and don't understand the nature of this process tend to be sloppy with their comments. That's okay because they are harmless and cannot be expected to understand what is beyond their experience. They get a pass. Most of the time ;). As far as the biological family goes, for me, I don't place any belief in that as a reference. Nor have I truly been able to cultivate those relationships in such a way that would support me or provide a channel for any useful communication.
Do you enjoy the process of getting tattooed?
Yes. I think the experience of being tattooed is ideal when you have a good relationship with your tattoo artist. This relationship in my opinion is extremely important since the nature of this process is very personal. For me it is an exciting experience because I can share my creative ideas with my tattoo artist then watch them come to life! The physical feeling I get when being tattooed contrary to what some believe is less about extreme pain and more about feeling the sensation and allowing that feeling good or bad to bring me to a different state of mind. It can be liberating.
Among all your tattoos, which one do you prefer and why?
That's tuff. It's like having a bunch of girlfriends you like for different reasons and having to chose one. I will say, most recently I had the Wolf man tattooed on my upper left rib cage. I'm very pleased with this one.
Please talk us through some of your tattoos and the reason behind them.
I have the face of a cyclops tattooed on my upper right arm. What inspired this image was a film I saw when I was a kid. It's entitled The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Special effects created by legendary animator Ray Harryhausen. I fell in love with his version of the Greek mythological Cyclops. The original 1931 Frankenstein is one of my favorite films and inspired me yet again to communicate an image. There are those who may relate to the man of science Dr. Frankenstein and I believe there are some who also have an affection for the monster. I recently tattooed Frankensteins monster on my back. I have black flames tattooed across my fingers on my right hand. Next to the stomach, for me, this is one of the most painful areas to be tattooed. The skin is very thin and basically bone. I feel this image is a warning or reminder to be careful of what you grab hold of in life.
Have you got an idea of the next one?
Yes. I think the classic black & white Dracula starring Bela Lugosi seems fitting and would keep good company with the Wolf man and Frankenstein's monster.
What do you think about the rise of tattoo, is it a fashion or a new breath for the body culture?
I think for some people it is simply that, a fashion statement. An opportunity to express or show off something they feel looks cool without persecution. With more and more people from all walks of life sporting tattoo work these days there seems to be less of a stigma attached to it allowing the trend to be more attractive. I think that is a breath of fresh air for those of us who have gone deeper into the pool, so to speak and have gone beyond the trend and demonstrated an extreme commitment within the art form as a way of life.
Do you regret any of your tattoos?
When I find myself within the traps of regret I try to imagine my body without the tattoo's and what I see is a stranger. Each image/tattoo is tied directly into experience within my life history. I cannot deny my life. I will admit that like my life as it changes and transforms so do my tattoos.
Do you think people treat you differently for being heavily tattooed?
I think it is challenging for the average person who does not possess knowledge and a clear perception of what they are looking at. The impulse is to go to fear and judgment that I believe comes from conditioning. Specifically the way tattooed people have been portrayed in the media. Also within the subculture of gangs certain styles of tattooing that reflect a way of life that can be very violent are understandably frightening to most people. It can be a difficult task for a non participant to distinguish between a harmless expression and the symbols that carry aggression and point to destruction. I feel it has become my responsibility within my personal life through communication to put people at ease who would normally feel uncomfortable.
(Robert LaSardo for Hungarian Tattoo Magazine By Akos Banfalvi)