Part of the Tattoodo X Zalando short film series collaboration, Joy M'Batha was one of four creatives chosen to represent the meaning of Free to Be: a philosophy that celebrates authentic living to the utmost...whatever that may mean for them, or for you. In this interview, we talk more about Joy's personal philosophies and creative impetus.
You’re very much an advocate of self-love and confidence. What’s your advice for others who want to overcome fear and embrace their true beautiful self?
I don't wanna live my life based on what I think other people want out of me. In the end everyone is just as scared, insecure, wanna belong and fit in. Life is too short. If someone judge you based on how you express yourself then they’re the ones that have work to do. People who don’t like themselves usually project onto others. If someone is bothered by me than they’re the ones that out missing out because I’m an amazing person who has a lot to give. I’m a firm believer in manifesting. Put out to the universe what you want and dream of and it will come back to you.
Why was this collaboration with Tattoodo and Zalando interesting or important to you? What were you hoping to convey by letting an audience in behind the scenes of your life?
I love to express myself. Correction, I HAVE to express myself and in any way possible. That’s how I stay happy and sane. Clothes and tattoos are two great ways to do that so this collaboration felt very obvious for me to do. I feel the most comfortable in my own space, it’s easier to truly be yourself there. I never wanna get back to a place where I’ve lost myself because of all the distractions and background noise so letting people in to my home and studio is the best way to truly get to know me. I’m very proud of who I am and love myself so it’s easy to say welcome.
Your tattoos have a lovely childlike freedom about them. Why was that the style you were personally drawn to, and why do you think others have really resonated with the “Ignorant” aesthetic as well? What are some of your favorite pieces?
When I was younger I never thought I would get any tattoos. It just happened. I don’t like to take things too seriously and my body is proof of that. I’ve been through worse than some ink on my body and even though I don’t regret any of my pieces, I don’t think I would’ve done some of them today. Ever since I started making my body into a museum I’ve come to the conclusion that I really identify with it looking like the envelope or paper that you scribble on when you talk with your friend on the phone for hours. Favorite pieces are “HEJ” on my neck, my sketch of the landscape of Skåne that a friend and I did, and “Dat Knee - Disney logo” under my knees.
Since so many people look up to you as a role model, do you think your expressive freedom comes with a responsibility to your audience? What is your message to the world?
Good question! Hmmm.. I don’t know. The one person I feel the most responsible too is myself. I need to be the best version of me to be a good role model. I’m not doing what I do for others. It’s a beautiful thing to know that people relate and support but it’s easy to lose track of what you’re doing and why when you start thinking of what other people want out of you. That’s why I feel like it’s harder to create the bigger I get and more people have expectations on me.
My message to the world is: Block out the background noise and listen to your inner voice. Anything is possible and you are capable of doing everything. I believe in you. You just have to believe in yourself too.
In your opinion, what is the importance of art? What would you say to people who don’t understand the deep value of music, painting, tattooing, etc.?
Art is supposed to be made. That’s the importance of it. You don’t have to understand it to let other people be free and express themselves the way they know how to.