More permanent than a Sharpie

Tattoos increasingly a venue for expression…

Miranda Carney | Staff Writer

Photo art by Jami Bechard

 

Tattoos, which used to be associated with sailors, criminals and gangs, are now a popular form of expression, according to high school students that currently have them. The stereotypical tattoos of skulls and anchors have been increasingly replaced by artistic and symbolic images.

Being his “own person”

Senior David Fulcher, who has three tattoos, said he wears them as a way to express his individuality and be a permanent representation of the fact that he is his own person.

“I have my initials on the back of my arms because I want to be my own person,” Fulcher said. “I have the same name as my dad and I don’t want to be just known as a David Fulcher. I want to keep ‘Junior’ the rest of my life. I decided to get ‘D.J.’ on the back of my arms because I’d rather be my own person.”

Fulcher said he has seen the stereotypes of having a tattoo present in his workplace, where customers will treat him differently because of his tattoos.

“I realize [that] ever since I got a tattoo, at work, the customers that come in kind of shy away from me,” Fulcher said. “I’m a [funny] person, so when they see that I’m joking around a lot, they ease onto me, but if I don’t say anything, they kind of shy away like they’re scared of me. So, I feel like tattoos kind of just scare people.”

Tattoos for remembrance

When junior Mackenzie Money’s sister was about to go into the Air Force in October 2010, she decided she would get a matching tattoo with her.

“My sister went in the Air Force and we wanted to get matching tattoos before she left so I could think about her every day,” Money said. “I wanted to get something I wouldn’t ever change my mind about. It has to do with my faith. We just wanted to get something together.”

Money’s tattoo is Hebrew writing that translates to “The Lord watches over me.” She said that the permanency is a way to know that her and her sister can both look at it and think of each other and remember their faith.

Money said stereotypes about tattoos are changing drastically.

“I think [the stereotypes of tattoos] are definitely changing,” Money said. “You see celebrities with them, and people are getting more small or peaceful tattoos that actually mean something. It used to be that you’d see a bunch of big guys with skulls and scary stuff like that but now more people are getting tattoos like mine that mean something.”

Tattoos reflect life experiences

Junior Brittany Lucius said she got her first tattoo in January to serve as closure for the death of her uncle. Her tattoo is a pair of angel wings with the dates of her uncle’s birth and death.

“For me, [that tattoo] was helping me with closure from the whole incident of [my uncle] passing away and so it’s been a lot easier,” Lucius said. “My mom didn’t like that I got a tattoo, but I like it and my dad likes it. It’s kind of something that has brought [me and my dad] closer.”

Although Lucius said she feels the stereotypes of tattoos sometime affect her, she said she believes tattoos have become a way for people the express what is important to them and what has impacted them in a permanent way.

“I think [some] people think it’s really trashy [to have a tattoo]; I know people have told me that,” Lucius said. “But it’s something that means a lot to me, so I don’t think it’s trashy at all. I definitely think [tattoos] are more of a way of expressionthan just getting a tattoo. It’s  more like art [and] inspiration than anything.”