Tattoo Taboo

Tattoo.Hankins01Sometimes it seems like there’s one on every corner… and it’s not a Starbucks.

Tattoo parlors are popping up everywhere in every town to service anyone who’s looking for some permanent body art. Downtown State College alone has Tattoo Marks, Ink Inc. Tattooing and the newer Steampunk Ink. And don’t forget the ever so popular television shows “Miami Ink” and “New York Ink”, which have acquired a huge fan base over the years.

For those who are hesitant to get a tattoo, perhaps these shows provide a way to live vicariously through others. Because isn’t it fun to watch people get skulls and aliens tattooed on their chest and wonder why anyone would do such a thing?

Tattoo.Hankins03Justin Sellers, tattoo artist of eight years and loyal employee of Tattoo Marks on Beaver Avenue, makes a living one tattoo at a time. Getting tattoos is definitely becoming more popular among college students, and it seems like going to the parlor on your 18th birthday is a common tradition. But the customers at Tattoo Marks prove that you don’t have to be young to be hip. “I’ve had an 88 year old woman come in here and get tattooed,” says Sellers. Only about 50 percent of the people walking into Tattoo Marks are college students, the rest being locals and everyone else.

Tattoo.Hankins04But what are the costs of getting tatted, besides the pain and perhaps regret? What happens when we enter the professional world? Senior Ilana Vojnovich has three tattoos (one under her arm which is slightly visible), and isn’t too worried about them conflicting with jobs and being a professional. “There have been small instances where I felt like it was more accepting, like seeing people in offices with wrist tattoos,” says Vojnovich. “Tattoos are a part of people, so it shouldn’t matter.”

Tattoo.Hankins07Some people will always view tattoos as unfitting for the workplace, but if more people are getting them, the professional world might need to shift their stance a bit and allow for some wiggle room in the personal appearance of their workers. However, if someone has a profanity tattooed on their forehead, that’s probably a red flag to employers.

“It’s not just bikers getting tattoos like it used to be, they’re for everyone now,” says Sellers.

Photos by Tyler Hankins

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