It’s easy to make assumptions and underhanded comments based on what tattoos we see and who we see them on. It’s important to realize that people with tattoos are exactly that—they’re people. They are expressing and conveying different parts of themselves through different art forms. This week I sat down with junior digital media major Andrew Weir to talk about his tattoos and how he expresses himself through them.
I have two tattoos. One is on my left calf, and it’s two pens crossing like swords. I have another one on my right bicep, and it’s an outline of Pennsylvania.
Where did you get your tattoos?
I got one at Black Thorn Gallery while they were still in Mechanicsburg, and I got the other one from a buddy who is apprenticing at a shop in Lancaster.
Which of your tattoos hurt the most?
Probably the one on my calf, only because it took, like, three hours. I think because of the prolonged effect of constantly being poked, it got raw after a while. But, the one on my bicep only took like thirty minutes, so I’d say the one on my calf hurt more.
What do people usually say when they see your tattoos?
Most people don’t see my PA tattoo because it’s always covered up. But when people see my calf tattoo, they either say “yo, sick tattoo” and they just look at it. Or, they ask me about it, and I just tell them it’s pens because I love to write, that’s my thing. Then we just leave it at that.
How long did you have the idea to get either of your tattoos?
The one on my leg, I sat on that idea for like three years until I finally “manned up” and did it. I always told myself, “you know it’s permanent; you might not want this.” So, I eventually was like, “I do want it,” so I went out and got it. My Pennsylvania one, I saw someone with an outlined state on their arm, and I thought it looked cool. Then my buddy just wanted to work on his line-work, so I thought, “why not, throw it on.” So, not much thought into that one.
Yes, so one time over the summer I was working here at Messiah between my freshman year and sophomore year and I was working during a Messianic Jew conference. This lady was behind me in line at Lottie, and I always wore shorts because it was the summer, and she started to tell me why my tattoo was a sin and how I needed to ask for forgiveness for desecrating my temple that God has given me. I kind of just let her have her peace, and I just said “thank you,” because I was trying to be polite and so I just walked away. But, that was probably the only time I ever got unwarranted attention besides being scolded by family members for it being “a waste of money.”
Are you planning on getting any more tattoos?
I want to, man. I want to so bad. But then I think about if I don’t do it soon, I don’t know if I ever will. I have an idea for two tattoos that I really want but paying for school is a priority right now. Unfortunately, I can’t get any but, yes, I do plan to get more for sure.
Is there anything you wish others knew about you, regarding your tattoos?
For me personally, I would like people to know that I don’t have tattoos because I think they look cool. I have tattoos because it’s an expression of who I am and what I love. I think when people see others covered in tattoos they should focus more on the stories that those tattoos tell rather than who they are as a person, and don’t think of them as a punk, or a jerk, or a bad person. Same with me, I don’t want people thinking that about me. I have it as a means of expression, just like people dye their hair, or pierce their ears, or wear certain clothing. It’s just an expression, an art form that I hope people recognize and don’t judge me for that negatively.