Tattoos can be more than telling of a person’s identity and personality. People that have many tattoos usually have more than enough stories to tell about why they got them, how they got them and what they mean. This week I sat down with first-year communication major Nate Bloyer to hear how his tattoos tie into his life and story.
How many tattoos do you have and what are they?
I have eleven tattoos. I have a cross on my right hand, some lines on my foot, the band “Knuckle Pucks” album art, a New Zealandic symbol for “rebirth,” a little bear, a small sun, a Casey Neistat “Do More” tattoo, on my back I have a woodsy cross and on my arm I have three ghosts that I designed.
Where do you get your tattoos?
I’ve had friends of mine do a few of them, and I’ve even done two of them, but the big pieces I’ve had done at various tattoo shops in Minnesota.
My foot was pretty painful, but my back was the most interesting kind of pain. He would scroll over my spinal cord, and my arm would shoot out. That might have been the most painful because it took like four hours, and when he would build on parts over my spine, different parts of my body would have pain.
How do people usually react when they see how many tattoos you have and what they are?
Some people are really cool about it because they love tattoos and love hearing about the fact that I’ve done some as well. They’re really open-minded as they’ll ask me all kinds of questions and love asking about how they work. But some other people will ask “Why do you have so many tattoos?” Or things like, “it doesn’t make any sense.” I mean, some people are raised in different cultures and different environments. I don’t have any kind of bias against those people that don’t like them or anything like that; it’s just how they’re raised and how it’s been for them.
Are your tattoos planned out pieces or spur of the moment?
My back tattoo was definitely planned out for a long time because it’s so big. For my shoulder, I started going to this new tattoo guy before I got it done, and I was sitting in church on a Sunday morning, and I was drawing in my notebook one of the ghosts that is on my shoulder. Later that day, I got it done from him. Once I had it on my body, another week passed, and I sketched more ghosts, so I went back to get those done by him all within the same week. So, that one was super impulsive.
A lot of the tattoos on my leg were kind of planned out, but a couple were just spur of the moment. As I’ve gotten more tattoos, I’ve planned a little bit less just because they’re not on my face or anything. But I took a bold step with the cross on my hand, as a lot of people avoid hands.
Yeah, even my weirdest tattoo has a lot of meaning. Like my foot, with the lines, that has a lot of meaning because that’s the tattoo I actually learned how to use a tattoo gun on. For my arm, I just really like Casey Neistat, he’s been a huge inspiration and guide for me. So I got the “Do More” tattoo because I just really have an appreciation for him and where he’s guided me.
The cross is interesting because it’s on my right hand and you always shake with your right hand. People are going to have to be comfortable with me having that on my body and seeing that I am a Christian. It’s one way of very subtlety sharing the Gospel. The tattoos on my leg include the very first tattoo I ever did and the New Zealandic symbol I actually got with my mom. She has the exact same one in the exact same place.
My shoulder, I designed myself, I drew each piece and took it to the artist who twisted it and made it very lively. For my back, I wanted something that had a Christian representation but also wanted it done in an artistic manner. So, I looked around and found a woodsy cross, and then took it to the tattoo artist who made it look amazing.
Are you planning on getting any more tattoos?
Oddly enough, no. At least, not right now. I’m working on a leg sleeve, and this summer I’ll probably get, like, one or two. As of now, I don’t really have anything too big in my head. I had a period where I got all these tattoos, and I just felt like I was good. But, there definitely will be more to come.
Is there anything you want others to know about you with your tattoos?
Just speaking for people who have a lot of tattoos, as well as myself, some of the coolest people in the world are the people that have sleeves and their whole body covered in tattoos. They might seem really intimidating, but a lot of the time you can talk to them, and they’ll be the coolest people. The people in the “tattoo world” can be the most down-to-earth group. It’s really cool to talk to them about what they’ve been through and the kind of wisdom they have. But people that have a lot of tattoos, including myself, they’re not inherently bad people. They just might appreciate a different form of art than you, and that’s totally fine. Just don’t shut them out because of that.