Some of the best conversations are based around tattoos. They have grown in popularity, almost becoming a cultural stamp.The mark of a new generation, if you will.
Throughout much of human history, tattoos have been used by many cultures for a variety of reasons. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, tattoos were used in Ancient Egypt to explain someone’s social status, and in China they were used to depict criminals as such. The Celts used paint markings or tattoos for battles.
Tattoos are a way to express yourself visually, but long term body art often has some sort of story behind it. Several MacEwan University students agreed to share the stories behind their ink with the griff.
Tatiana Mijajlovic, Bachelor of Science, Physical Sciences:
“Not only is Cubone my favourite Pokémon because he looks like a dinosaur, but he is also known as the orphan Pokémon. His mother died when he was very young so now he wanders around alone wearing her skull that’s stained with his tears. After I got married in July, my family let some petty drama consume them and they turned their back on me. I felt hurt and abandoned. I spent almost a month with severe anxiety and depression and couldn’t get out of bed to function at all. I have gotten tattoos as a way to cope with my mental health issues. They allow me to draw physical lines between events in my life. I walk out of the tattoo shop physically a different person than who I was when I walked in. A tattoo of the orphan Pokémon playing and having fun seemed like an excellent symbol to mark the beginning of healing from the hurt my family had caused me.”
Ryley Osadchuk, Students’ Association of MacEwanUniversity (SAMU) President:
“It’s a portrait of my mom in a nice little Victorian-style frame. I also have a portrait of my dad on the other leg. But I like my mom’s better. I was like, 18 at the time, I really respected both of my parents and really just gave quite a shit about both of them. So I decided to get their faces permanently tattooed on my body. I don’t remember when I decided that I wanted to get those two pieces done, but I remember going into my consultation. And originally, I wanted them on the front of my thighs. And my tattoo artist at the time said, ‘you know what, maybe we should do them on the sides of your thighs instead of the front.’ And I was very confused as to why he would want to change the placement. So I asked him, and he said that it would be very awkward if I were to be in bed with someone and seeing my parents’ faces. So we decided to go with the sides of the thighs instead.”
Kirsten Meyer, Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science:
“It’s probably the one I got recently. It’s actually a memorial tattoo I got for my mom. The tattoo itself is of three cattail stalks, like the plant, and all the leaves. It has her signature and her dates underneath it. I grew up in Ardrossan and my mom would always cut me cattails on my way home from school and that was my favourite thing. Me, and my two siblings, that’s why there are three cattails, we would all just rip them apart and have fun with it. It’s just a nice memory to have. She passed away from breast cancer when I was seven years old. It’s been over 11 years of just trying to figure things out and learn how to grieve the best way. Kind of having that memorial on my arm and being able to see it everyday is reassuring. I didn’t really have that before. She passed away when I was so young, I didn’t really have much of her writing to me. It was the other way around. Her signature was all I really had and I found it on an old doctor’s note that I had to update one year. I was like, no way, it was just so nice. I knew I had to get it one day, way before I ended up getting the tattoo. Just because I have a meaningful tattoo doesn’t mean they all have to be meaningful. I have ones that I enjoy and I like. It doesn’t have to be a hard topic. It’s ok to get ones that you simply just enjoy.
Aly Kaur, Office Assistant Program:
“It’s a tie between my owl and my crown, which has my grandpa’s birthdate. They are both for my grandpa who passed away almost a year ago. The crown because he was the king of our castle, and my owl has a horseshoe on it with Pal —which is what I called him—as well as Doc J (his handle) for when he used to raise and race horses. He gave me permission to get the crown even though he hated tattoos.”
Craig Doll, Bachelor of Music:
“I got a space-themed sleeve a couple of years ago. It took eight, eight-hour sessions to complete and is by far my favourite. I got it partly to commemorate my late cousin who passed away and I also really like space. Being in a creative field, it’s a reminder to persevere and to keep following my dreams.”