Tattoo culture unveiled among faculty

It can be difficult to tell who has tattoos and who does not.

During the EIU Ink event Monday night in 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union students will get the chance to guess which Eastern faculty members have a tattoo.

Dave Arnold, a graduate student in college student affairs and associate resident director at Carman Hall, is co-sponsoring the event with the Carman Hall council. Arnold said 10 Eastern faculty members will be at EIU Ink and students will get the chance to guess which faculty member has tattoos.

“By culture it’s still tabooed and not talked about a lot,” Arnold said. “Normally it’s out of sight out of mind. That’s why we integrated the faculty as a sort of surprise element. You may not see it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have (a tattoo).”

Arnold said while the event is not to promote tattoos, it is to promote diversity as well as tattoo safety.

“This is something often not addressed,” Arnold said. “We want students to be safe with their first tattoos.”

Katherine Johnson, a freshman psychology major, is helping with the event through Carman Hall council. She said EIU Ink will be a place for people to talk about tattoos and the meaning behind them.

“Things are going really well,” Johnson said. “A lot of people have expressed interest.”

The event will also include guests from Poor Boy’s Tattoos & Piercing at 820 Lincoln Ave. The guests will tell stories about tattoos they have been asked for and why people get some tattoos.

Arnold said the guests will add a comedic element to EIU Ink.

“It will bring some life to something that was very jailhouse or tribal that is now mainstream,” Arnold said.

One of the guests will by Trison Moss, a sophomore art major and tattoo artist at Poor Boy’s. Moss said he has been a full-time employee at Poor Boy’s for half of a year, but he has been tattooing with the same group for three to four years.

Moss said he became a tattoo artist because he has had a general interest in art since childhood.

“It’s an awesome feeling to see your work walk around,” Moss said. “I’ve had a lot of good luck and gone after the opportunities that have been presented to me.”

He said he has seven tattoos but he has them in conservative places where he can easily hide them.

“There are companies out there that do judge based on what you look like unfortunately,” Moss said.

For this reason and others, Moss said getting a tattoo is a serious decision.

“It’s something that’s forever,” Moss said. “It is something that needs to be planned and referenced. It can do you some good and raise your self-esteem or it can be something to be ashamed of.”

Johnson agreed with Moss.

“For me, (tattoos) have to have some serious meaning that will last the rest of your life,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if everyone can decide that so early in life.”

Johnson said Carman Hall council will be selling T-shirts at EIU Ink for $7.

Arnold said there will also be two $25 gift cards raffled off, one for Poor Boy’s and one for Walmart.

He said feedback from EIU Ink’s Facebook page has been positive with over 190 people saying they will attend the event.

“Within an hour we had 50 people, it took a day to get 100,” Arnold said. “We keep communication up without it being annoying.”

Arnold also said the page is interactive. He said students and faculty were asked to post pictures of tattoos if they were appropriate. Over 40 tattoos have been posted so far.

“People love to show their tattoos and share their story,” Arnold said. “For our generation it has become normal.”

Seth Schroeder can be reached at 581-2812

or [email protected]