Tattoo: A personal expression, sometimes carrying a message | News, Sports, Jobs



ALPENA – Tattoos seem to become more noticeable as spring and summer seasons arrive when layers of clothing are shed.

Research reveals that tattoos have a history dating back at least to ancient Egypt and, most likely, earlier, to the BC era.

In a Psychology Today article titled “Why People Get Tattoos,” Washington, D.C.-based clinical psychologist Vinta Mehta, Ph.D., said in her practice that she tends to see a greater presence of tattoos. among millennials.

“I learned with this generation that body art is a personal expression,” she said. “Or acts as a message reflecting an important moment in my client’s life.”

Dan Hunter of the Authority Tattoo blog conducted research that showed that in 2012, 21% of Americans had a tattoo. In 2019, with similar research, that figure jumped to 30%. Further research by Hunter showed that 40% of Americans under the age of 35 had a tattoo, followed by those ages 35-54 at 36%, and finally, those 54 and older at 15%.

Hunter added, in his view, that television, movies and, more recently, social media have caused a significant increase in the number of Americans receiving body art.

In Michigan, tattoo and body piercing services are licensed and regulated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Within the varied religious communities of the world, the aspect of body art is welcomed, while in some faiths it is looked down upon. For example, the Jewish faith prohibits body art, while some Christian religions, Buddhism, and Hinduism find tattooing acceptable.

Erika Nicholls is co-owner of Under the Gun Tattoo, located on 2nd Avenue in downtown Alpena.

She and her husband Jeremy started the tattoo and body piercing center in 2012. They currently employ another tattoo artist, Jason.

As you walk into their studio, the front section offers a large reception area with tabletop portfolios and wall art showcasing their craft. The back part of the store offers several private service rooms.

Erika Nicholls revealed that their traditional client is a woman, aged between 18 and 40.

“This audience tends to get their first tattoo on their foot, wrist, or the side of their hip,” she said. “I think their motivation for getting tattoos is to provide a cool expression, or they just like the look of the artwork.”

She added: “At one point we served an 80-year-old who had a tattoo on his to-do list.”

At the Nicholls’ studio, a simple, unique tattoo starts at $80 and takes less than half an hour. Extensive tattoos, for example, a sleeve (which is on a significant portion of the arm), will require multiple sessions at an hourly cost of over $100. Currently, under the Gun Tattoo is offering appointments, starting in September.

The studio has also addressed a few homemade or leftover tattoos by offering tattoo cover-ups, such as floral artwork.

When asked about the unusual tattoos, Erika Nicholls said they seem to revolve around food.

Recently introduced are made-to-fade tattoos. Less than 10 years ago, the process was developed by two chemical engineers whose ink and application process allow the creation of a temporary tattoo. The tattoo can last nine to twelve months and then fade. This relatively new process tends to be found in large metropolitan areas.

Body art stories abound.

A healthcare clinician described helping a patient prepare for a procedure. As she helped the patient with an exam gown, she noticed a pair of tattooed eyes on his lower back. She learned that the individual had lost a bet and applied the artwork. The patient’s job? A plumber.

A restaurant server’s left forearm featured six paw prints. The waiter said each was in honor of his deceased dogs.

On the Paramount Television Network (formerly Spike TV), Alpena native Josh Woods appeared as a featured tattoo artist in the series Ink Master. He plies his trade at Dana Point Tattoo in California.

Maybe the lyrics to Jimmy Buffet’s 1977 song “Margaritaville” sparked the tattoo rise when he sang about his Mexican beauty tattoo?

Jeffrey D. Brasie is a retired healthcare CEO and frequent writer of opinion pieces and feature articles. He is a former resident of Alpena and resides in suburban Detroit and is a veteran of the US Navy and US Navy Reserve.



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