Tattoo-related television programs that focus on the meaning of tattoos and the environment of many tattoo parlors have given rise to the popularity of tattoos.
Tattoo television shows let people see other people’s tattoos without leaving their house, said Chris “ Red” Migues, a tattoo artist at Tattoo Addiction in Port Aransas.
Twenty years ago people who had tattoos tended to be individuals of questionable character, “but not now,” Migues said.
Sixty percent of individuals who get tattooed at Tattoo Addictions wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t see shows depicting parlors and find out that the people who received tattoos weren’t always questionable characters, he said.
One of the myths about tattoos is that they are extremely painful, Migues said.
“Women handle tattoos better than the guys” -- at least seven out of 10 women do, he said.
It’s all about the needles. The reality is that every person handles the pain differently. For those individuals on either side of the spectrum, those who can’t handle pain and those who can, there are things to look for when a tattoo is being applied. That includes the size of a person’s pores.
A tattoo machine inserts needles that contain ink into the skin rapidly, and when the job is completed, the pores in the skin should be visible, but should not look like “road rash.” If they do, the needles were inserted too deeply, too rapidly or too slowly, causing the skin to be damaged, Migues said.
“It is perfectly normal to see large pores; that is what you want to see,” he said.
If the tattoo is properly made and taken care of, it should last 20 or 30 years with limited change, Migues said.
“Over time, your body tries to get rid of the ink because it is not natural; but it can’t because it is under the skin. What happens is, the lines will slightly spread; it is your body trying to push out the ink,” he said.
Unless the individual is getting an extensive tattoo in a sensitive area during a prolonged period it should not hurt that badly, Migues said.
“ If it is done properly, and taken care of properly, it should only peel and flake like a sunburn; when it is completely healed it should be smooth,” he said.
Any skin disease that can infect a wound can affect the tattoo because of the trauma to an individual’s skin, Migues said.
A freshly made tattoo is basically an open wound; if you brush up against someone who has AIDS and is bleeding while your tattoo is not covered, you can get AIDS, he said.
“If people realized what you could get, they would be really anal about taking care of their tattoos,” Migues said.
To properly take care of your tattoo once the bandage is off, follow the aftercare protocol given to you by the artist, which includes cleansing, moisturizing and keeping the area dry.
Now that you know a little more about tattoos, the next step is to decide which parlor is right for you.
One way to decide is to look at the artists’ portfolios or check the sanitation of the shop, Jeremy “Kuffz” Anderson, the owner of Kustom Ink Tattoos in Port Aransas, said.
The way he decides if an artist will tattoo him or not, is by the condition of the bathroom. If the bathroom is dirty he will not patronize it, Anderson said.
Every tattoo parlor is subject to a health inspection at least once a year to insure the safety of the patrons, Anderson said.
Duncan Neblett, Precinct 4 justice of peace and Port Aransas municipal court judge, has a tattoo of a redfish on his left calf.
When asked why a redfish, Neblett smiled and said, “Because I like redfish.”
He received the tattoo seven years ago when he was 62 years old at Electra Art in Flour Bluff.
He and his wife, Georgia, went into the parlor with a bunch of photos, t-shirts and magazines with photos of redfish, and within 30 minutes the artist had a design ready to be “inked” on Neblett.
“It was a one-stop deal; we may have been in previously with an idea, but were asked to bring in some material of what we wanted,” he said.
He sat there with his wife by his side for about two-anda half hours eating Cheetos† and drinking Diet Coke† while the artist tattooed him, Neblett said.
He hadn’t always wanted a tattoo, but eventually he decided he was old enough for one, he said.
“I saw so many good tattoos, and it was really pretty artwork. After a while my wife allowed me to, and my mom couldn’t forbid it since she had passed away,” Neblett said.
Neblett is not the only local with a colorful story or tattoo.
Nick Jones of Port Aransas has a “sleeve” on his left arm, which is when tattoos cover an individual’s arm from shoulder to wrist. He also has his left calf covered in tattoos.
All of Jones’ tattoos have a traditional sailor theme.
“I knew I always liked them. When I was young I saw them on a lot of tougher older dudes,” Jones said.
He has a lot of “filler” tattoos in order to complete his sailor art themed sleeve - among them are a shark with a compass, stars, dots and a butterfly.
“My mom always liked butterflies - I was thinking of her when I got that tattoo” he said.
Jones and his sister Hannah both have mustache tattoos on the side of their index fingers.
He considers having tattoos to be “a certain kind of look” and that they have the possibility of giving someone character.
Jones said he always liked tattoos, even at a young age. And, he liked the idea of having a permanent piece of artwork on his body that no one could take from him.
“ Tattoos let me express myself to the fullest and they haven’t held me back from anything,” Jones said.
All of Jones’ tattoos were done at Shipwreck Tattoos in Corpus Christi and Electra Art Tattoos in Flour Bluff. The artist, Kris Roberts of North Carolina, did most of Jones’ tattoos.
Colton Michael Sublette of Ingleside has multiple tattoos dedicated to his love of his home state, Texas. He has an orange and black Texas star on each forearm and the image of the Texas Capitol building inside a longhorn’s skull.
Previous to receiving the tattoo, he was debating between the Austin skyline and an image of the Capitol building.
He was walking by the brightly lit building one night and decided then it would be the image placed under his skin.
Thanks to his tattoos dedicated to Texas, “Anywhere I go, they will know where I am from,” he said.
Sublette is proud he was born in Austin.
“I was born lucky, born Texan,” he said.
His next tattoo will be a four leaf clover with the words “Est. 1982,” since ’82 is his birth year, inside the clover, and “Born Lucky Born Texas” across his arm.
This reporter has a tattoo on the inside of her upper left arm depicting a cat dressed as a gentleman inside a picture frame. The image is from a billboard in the city where she attends college.
She got the tattoo to support a friend who was trying to overcome depression.
The two girls both believed the sign was the only appealing billboard in Springfield, Mo.
The tattoo was done at Hearts of Fire in Springfield in May.
So, the next time you see “ink” on someone who is at the beach, there may be a good story to go along with it.
Comments, questions? Contact Atkinson at 749-5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.