Whether it’s a form of expression, a way to rebel, a show of sentiment or simply a spur-of-the-moment urge, some Central Michigan University students love to splash their skin with ink.
Senior Patrick Kaminska said he has about 50 tattoos in various places on his body, ranging from his chest, back and arm sleeve.
The Phoenix native worked in a tattoo parlor for two years and said he has stopped keeping track of how much ink he has.
“I grew up in Toledo, and the culture there is full of tattoos,” Kaminska said. “It was more accepted to have tattoos; it was considered normal.”
Kaminska got his first tattoo when he was just 14 years old as a way to fit into the community. One of his favorites is a large family cross.
The most unique tattoo Kaminska has is a bloody skull on his inner bicep. He said it has a candle going through it to show a more evil side of religion.
“I definitely feel like people are looking at me differently from time to time, especially in a school setting,” Kaminska said.
Wyoming junior Kyle Veltema has had many interesting experiences when it comes to his three tattoos. He has a tattoo on his back with the letters “KOC,” standing for “Kings of Canal.”
He got the tattoo because his two friends he grew up with on Canal Street wanted to do it as a bonding experience, but they never ended up getting it.
“Even though I am the only one that actually went through with it, I don’t regret it,” Veltema said. “It still has sentimental value to me.”
Veltema said when he got his first tattoo, it was out of a desire to be rebellious and because he wanted to show it off in his football uniform.
He went in to get a tribal tattoo on his left shoulder, and the tattoo artist talked him into getting some extra designs that he gets made fun of for by his friends today.
“It was supposed to be a more religious thing with nails on a cross, and she suggested getting blood drops coming off the nails, so I went along with it,” Veltema said. “My friends say they look like golf tees.”
Although he feels slight regret, and his dad doesn’t care much for his tattoos, he said he thinks they are a good form of expression.
Troy freshman Diana Otero said she fell asleep while getting two tattoos on her arms that represent her love of orchestra.
“I played for seven years, and it just meant a lot to me,” she said.
Otero said she was never worried about being judged, because she feels that tattoos are seen in a different light today.
“It’s not just sailors or people in jail these days who get tattoos,” Otero said.
Lansing freshman Hunter Osborn has gotten tattoos touched up by his fraternity brother, has drawn a few himself and let tattoo artists take the reigns and draw some crazy things.
Osborn decided to blow his open-house money after graduating high school on the most outrageous tattoos his artist could think of.
“I have a shark wearing a top hat, bow tie and a mustache in full color; that takes up my whole left shoulder blade,” Osborn said.
Osborn also has a squid tentacle shaped like an infinity sign, with the numbers “517″ above, on his stomach. He got it to remind him no matter where he is going, he should remember where he comes from.
“These were spur-of-the-moment decisions, but I just like being creative,” Osborn said.
He also has two tattoos that he designed himself to remember his friends who died in a tragic car accident. Those, he said, are more meaningful and are there as a sign of how much love he has for them.
“Tattoos are a badass form of art that are way more expressive than a painting that hangs on the wall,” Osborn said.