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Transformation of the tattoo trend

Cathryn Vaccaro

By Staff Writer
On December 6, 2012

  • More people are getting tattoos now that the perception of tattoos has changed. Dan Quieroz/Flickr

Today, tattoos are more than just ink. More people consider tattoos to be a form of art. They are being accepted more in society and in the workplace.

"I, myself, am a heavily tattooed person. I still get that stink eye from certain people. Now, you see cops and paramedics with tattoos. More people today have accepted tattoos in general society and the workplace," said Jesse Van Note from Plant New York Tattoo, located right across the street from Marist College.

Van Note has tattoos all the way up to his neck and down to his wrists. Once he started working in the tattoo industry, and as times started to change, he decided to extend his tattoos because it was seen as more acceptable. Van Note also believes that television and media has influenced younger people to get tattoos.

Michael Dillaire, a sophomore at Marist, has a tattoo of his grandfather's fire helmet to honor and respect him. 

"People still judge my tattoo," Dillaire said. "If they know the story behind it, then they respect it and feel that it is more artistic. It is definitely more common and popular amongst college students because it is on you forever." 

The history of tattoos and perceptions of tattoos have greatly changed over time. Tattoos could be seen as a form of status or resemble different tribes in other countries. During the 1940s, many U.S. soldiers and sailors came home from World War II with tattoos. The traditional or "old school" form of tattoos originated from the kinds of tattoos that these serviceman received after World War II. These tattoos consisted of pinup girls, red and blue ink and heavy, dark outlines. People used to associate tattoos with prisoners and sailors. Today, the art of tattooing is a big part of American culture.

According to CBS News, research has shown that "23 percent of college students have one to three tattoos."  Some believe that once you get one tattoo, there is a sudden urge to get more tattoos. It is much more common today for younger people to get tattoos and have more than one. At Planet New York Tattoo, there is a wide age range of people that come in to get tattooed. Usually, clients fall within the ages of 18 to 25 years of age. About 20 percent of clients at Planet New York Tattoo are Marist students.

Chelsea Bennington, a sophomore, has her brother's name with a rose tattooed on her wrist because he passed away.  She still thinks that some parents and older people view having tattoos as a rebellious act.

"More of our generation thinks it is more of an art, but some take that for granted by getting stupid tattoos," Bennington said.

A new fad in the tattoo industry is getting white ink. White ink has become so popular because it allows people to get tattoos without having the worry of constantly hiding the tattoo. This alternative from a black ink tattoo has been in high demand since Lindsay Lohan was spotted with a white ink tattoo.

"I would want a tattoo that says, 'Faith' because, not in the religious aspect, but it would be a personal motivation to keep having faith no matter how hard times get," sophomore Alessandra Gajano said. "I would only get one on my lip because my parents would kill me, and it fades away."

A problem with white ink tattoos is that they disappear quicker. Van Note says that about five people per week come in asking for white tattoos.

"We do not do white ink tattoos. We are absolutely against it. It is against our moral codes. Tattoos are meant to be seen," Van Note said.

Even though it is more common to see younger people with tattoos, there is a high percentage of people that go to certain tattoo shops to get their tattoos covered up or to get tattoos removed. Van Note explains that about 10 people a week come in to get cover- ups.

Venise Miles, a sophomore, has a multicolored butterfly with stars that trail to the initials of her name. Miles explains how she loves butterflies because they are so delicate and represent her transformation. Her tattoo of a butterfly was created to cover up her old tattoo. When she was in high school, she decided to get a tattoo with her best friends. She decided to get her school mascot of a bee. She later found out that she is allergic to bees.

"I really do think it is more common with our generation to get tattoos because it is like a show-off thing for some people," Miles said. "At the same time, it's a way to express yourself. It is not just art on a piece of paper, it's art on your body."

In the end, the final decision is up to the person who is getting the tattoo. Today's society is not solely based on judgments and negative assumptions when a person is spotted with a tattoo. Tattoos represent stories, memories and loved ones to certain people. People are opening up and becoming more accepting of this form of body art.

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