History Major Bailey Ward got her first
tattoo when she turned 18. Ward said her
lion represents strength.
Stephen Keleher / The Collegian
Tattoos have been around for centuries. Once used primarily for cultural and religious purposes, tattoos are now becoming a prevalent part of society.
Once considered taboo, tattoos have become more accepted by the general public. Tattoos have slowly gone from something that was stereotyped as something sailors, dancing girls, convicts and Maori New Zealanders had, to something that many people old and young of every race are getting. Initially criticized as a fad, tattoo culture has only grown stronger
“I just really wanted one when I turned 18,” history major Bailey Ward said. “Mine is a lion and they mean strength, so it’s a little symbolic for me.”
“Women are somewhat scared, worried, but they do go through with it,” Rudy Acosta of Clovis Ink said. “They have a variety of reasons, from a memorial tattoo for someone they’ve lost to something as simple as Hello Kitty.”
Roe Borunda, a third-year transfer student from Virginia, waited until she was 23 to get her first tattoo, a memorial to her grandfather.
“It’s my side piece,” Borunda said. But once she started as an apprentice at a tattoo gallery, she decided to make her body a canvas for some of the artists she was working with.
“[Just] being able to experience for example, Ryan ‘Baby’ Collins tattooing me, [and have] that interaction and that memory,” Borunda, who now has five tattoos said. “It’s body art, somebody’s art [is] on your body. I mean, when I raise my hand and you see a panda in my armpit, the other students are like, ‘Wait a minute, what is that?’”
Other students get tattoos to express their spiritual side.
“I have one of my grandma, may she rest in peace, and I have another one of a Buddha,” third-year business major Johnny Pov said. “It’s my culture. Today everybody’s converting to a different religion. I like to keep mine with me.”
A quarter-mile down Cedar from campus, Nightwitch Body Art offers 10- percent discounts to Fresno State students.
“We’re seeing now that people are really thinking about the kind of tattoos,” owner Valerie Costa said. “They’re getting tattoos that mean something that they’re going to want to have in 20 years.”
In addition to tattoo services, Nightwitch offers two methods of non-laser tattoo removal.
Tattoo culture runs in the family for accounting major Cameron Shipman, who has remarkable “sleeves,” meaning both arms completely tattooed from wrist to shoulder.
“My grandfather was a biker dude. My mom has a lot of tattoos as well,” Shipman said. “I’m fortunate to have met all great tattoo artists at the conventions. And I travel. I plan on going to Japan and doing a piece there in the traditional Japanese style, and I want to go down and do the old Maori style.”
While tattoo culture has become ever more popular, students who sport body art still find it wise to conceal their tattoos when looking for work.
“I can come in in a suit and a tie. You won’t see a tattoo on my entire body, and you won’t see a piercing on my entire body,” Shipman said. “But I still have them. Does that change my personality? Does that change my references? My qualifications?”