Tattooed students likely to get their body art at college

By Elizabeth Weber

More than just permanent on the skin, tattoos have become a staple in pop culture that isn’t going away anytime soon.

College students are no exception to the trend.

A recent survey conducted by Rutgers University Heath Center indicated that 73 percent of college students with tattoos are inked while away at school.

Here on campus, Campustown plays host to three popular tattoo parlors: Mark of Cain, New Life Tattoos and Altered Egos.

Cody Pruitt, a tattoo artist at Altered Egos, has seen his fair share of tattoo trends. Having a clientele that includes many University athletes, Pruitt said he knows what is in and what is out as far as design goes.

“All the standard ones, like butterflies and hearts, you’re always going to do a lot of,” Pruitt, a seven-year veteran of the business, said. “I don’t think we are doing as much tribal as we use to.”

Along with the usual designs, Josh Wolf, a tattoo artist at Mark of Cain, has noticed a new depressing trend.

“It’s like over the summer everybody died.” Wolf said. “I’ve been doing so many ‘in memory of’ on freshmen.”

Joel Molina, a tattoo and piercing apprentice at New Life Tattoos, said customers are encouraged to be original with their designs rather than going with what is popular.

“We’re trying to get geared more towards custom artwork,” Molina said. “Rather than having the same people getting the same old crosses and Celtic knots.”

Many of these artists agree that there is no surprise when it comes to the location of a tattoo. With guys, it’s mainly arms and shoulders. Hips, ankles, feet, and the lower back are all the rage for girls. However, there has been a new recent trend among girls.

“It’s surprising how many girls are doing wrist pieces,” Pruitt expressed.

Despite their popularity with students, all these parlors agree that many customers come in unaware of what to expect. Getting a tattoo should be a long, drawn-out process that includes doing research ahead of time, Molina said.

“Tattoo shops aren’t fast food places,” Molina said.

New Life even has a list of tips prepared for the customer who is deciding to get a tattoo. Some of them include treating a tattoo parlor like any other business, being professional, and selecting a shop that feels comfortable.

They also recommend looking at artist portfolios to get a better feel for their work, asking questions regarding sanitation and remembering that not everything makes a good tattoo.

Communication with the artist is definitely something Wolf advises for those interested.

Wolf, who has been a tattoo artist for four years, once had a customer faint on him because she failed to mention her medical history.

“If you happen to be diabetic, let the tattoo artist know,” Wolf said. “You might want to mention it before you get started.”