​​Tattoo culture in Asia: Round table discussion with Filipino-American student host


Seeking a casual conversation about culture and self-expression?

Stop by for the Tattoo Culture in Asia event at 5 p.m. Friday, April 12. It will be in Park Library’s Opperman Auditorium.

Student Tyler Del Rosario and his frat brothers in Sigma Lambda Beta started this event to discuss the cultural heritage of Asian tattooing, inspired by Del Rosario's own life experience.

“Me being half Filipino, with my dad being born in the Philippines … I thought it would be cool to talk a little bit about my culture and a little bit of a deep dive into the rich tattoo culture in Asia,” Del Rosario said.

“I know specifically in the Philippines, we have a lot of indigenous tribes that were marked, and that was ... how you would tell the difference among different tribes and in different territorial areas," he said. "But this event really started because I am a Filipino American with traditional-inspired tattoos.”

Del Rosario said that many Americans have or want a tattoo, but he also wants to talk about some of the stigmas surrounding tattoos.

“In Asian cultures, it's somewhat frowned upon. And then - kind of breaking that stigma and talking more about it,” Del Rosario said.

He said he has a passion for tattoos; Del Rosario himself participates in the tattoo culture.

“I have almost a full sleeve now of everything surrounding Filipino culture, and the markings that go along with it.”

Del Rosario's traditional-inspired Filipino tribal tattoo took 4 sessions and 18 hours. There is no stencil, but instead a trust between the client and artist.

Each pattern and line has a different meaning that reflects his culture and personal values. He is looking to add more patterns over the summer.

Del Rosario said he wants to bring his unique experience to the event.

“I hope to get the crowd involved in a little bit of this, hopefully learn from other people who have tattoos,” Del Rosario said. “It doesn't have to be cultural-based, but kind of learning their experience and whether or not they have significance behind the tattoos.

“But kind of playing off a little bit of the crowd work and I just really want to stress that, you know, you don't really have to be a part of the MAC program, but just to come out to the event, learn a couple new things and engage in some awesome conversations.”

Del Rosario said he wants the event to be “as laid back as possible.”

“I'm going to be walking around the crowd," he said. "I'm asking for a raise of hands. I'm going to be engaging with the audience, hoping to get a conversation going and stemming off of those conversations because I think the best form of education is connecting with the people trying to be educated.

“The end goal is have people look into what their culture's tattooing and their markings look like,” Del Rosario said. “Whether they have it or not, I think it would be cool for people to each do a deep dive on some of the ancestral traditional markings that their, you know, grandparents, great grandparents might have had in the past.”