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Tattoos have a long history going back to the ancient world and also to colonialism – Jacksonville Journal-Courier09.04.21

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(THE CONVERSATION) While most of us would likely care to forget the pandemic as soon as is possible, a few have opted for a permanent reminder of the health crisis in the shape of a tattoo. Some of these tattoos are meant to serve as a reminder of the year gone by, depicting motifs around toilet paper shortages, social distancing and other pandemic-related messages. But those who lost loved ones to the disease are also using tattoos to create memorials.

This is not a recent phenomenon tattoos have long served as a way for people to express their emotions.

As a tattoo historian, I often enjoy asking people where they think tattoos originated. I hear the mention of countries such as China, Japan, somewhere in Africa or South America, or Polynesia. What is interesting is that in the past five years of holding these conversations, no one thus far has answered that tattoos could have originated in Europe or North America.

What geographical areas these answers include, and what they miss, speak to a deeper truth about the history of tattoos: What we know and think about tattoos is heavily influenced by oppression, racism and colonialism.

History of tattoos

Tattooing practices were common in many parts of the ancient world.

There were tattoos in both ancient Japan and Egypt. The Mori of New Zealand have been practicing sacred Ta Mko tattooing for centuries as a way to indicate who they are as individuals as well as who their community is.

However, no one culture can lay the claim to first inventing the art form. Tattooing practices were known in Europe and North America since times of antiquity. The Greeks depicted their tattooed Thracian neighbors, the Indo-European-speaking people, on their pottery. The Picts, the indigenous people of what is today northern Scotland, were documented by Roman historians as having complex tattoos.

The oldest preserved tattoos come from tzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummified body frozen in ice discovered in the mountains of Italy in 1991. In 2019, researchers identified 2,000-year-old tattoo needles from southeastern Utahs Pueblo archaeological sites. The cactus spines bound with yucca leaves still had the remnants of tattoo ink on them.

Colonization and tattoos

Tattoo historian Steve Gilbert explains that the word tattoo itself is a combination of Marquesan and Samoan words tatau and tatu to describe these practices. The sailors who explored these Polynesian islands combined the words as they traded stories of their experiences.

The question then arises, if tattoos existed in Europe and North America since times of antiquity, why did Western cultures appropriate and combine these two words instead of using words that already existed in their own?

As I found in my research, somewhere around the 1400s tattoos became an easy way to draw a line between European colonizers and those colonized, who were seen as uncivilized.

Tattooing was still being practiced in Europe and North America, but many of those tattooing practices had been driven underground by the time European colonization was in full swing.

That was in part the result of attempts to Christianize parts of Europe by purging towns and villages of pagan and nonconformist, nonreligious practices including tattooing. As Catholic churches expanded their influence via missionaries and campaigns of assimilation beginning in A.D. 391, tattoos were frowned upon as un-Christian.

Not like us

As Western colonizers pushed into places like Africa, the Pacific Islands and North and South America in the 1400s and 1500s, they found entire groups of native peoples who were tattooed.

These tattooed individuals were often pointed to as proof that the untamed natives needed the help of good, God-fearing Europeans to become fully human. Tattooed individuals from these cultures were even brought back and paraded through Europe for profit.

A tattooed Indigenous mother and son, kidnapped by explorers in the late 1600s from an unknown location in Canada, were two such victims. An advertisement handbill of the time read: Let us thank Almighty God for this beneficence, that he has declared himself to us by his Word, so that we are not like these savages and man-eaters.

People would pay to gawk at these enslaved human beings, making their captors a healthy profit and reaffirming in the minds of the audience the need for European expansion, whatever the human cost.

This kidnapping of tattooed persons had destructive effects on the cultures they were taken from, as often the most tattooed individuals, and therefore the most likely to be taken, were the leaders and holy persons.

It is worth noting that most captives did not live longer than a few months after arriving in Europe, succumbing to foreign illness or malnourishment when their slavers did not feed them.

This tattooed savage narrative was pushed even further as tattooed individuals began to display themselves in carnival and circus freak shows.

These performers not only pushed the narrative of tattoos being savage or othering by performing as freaks, they also invented tragic backstories. The performers claimed they were attacked and forcibly tattooed by marginalized people, such as Native Americans, whom the public at large regarded as savages.

One such performer was the American Nora Hildebrandt. Nora weaved an account of being captured by Native Americans who forcibly tattooed her.

This was a more harrowing tale than the reality that her longtime partner, Martin Hildebrandt, had been her tattoo artist. Her tale was particularly baffling, as Nora Hildebrandts tattoos were mostly of patriotic symbols, like the American flag.

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The voices of colonizers echo into the present. Tattoos carry a certain amount of stigma in Western societies. They can often end up being called a poor life choice or trashy. Studies as recent as 2014 discuss the persistence of the stigma.

I see tattoos as art and a way of communicating identity. In answering the question where do tattoos come from? I would argue that they come from all of us, regardless of what early colonizers may have wanted people to believe.

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On the Town: Tattooing’s history and more to explore in OKC – Journal Record09.04.21

Lillie-Beth Brinkman

If you need ideas for some fun things to do Labor Day weekend, check out this partial list of happenings in Oklahoma.

You have until Tuesday to be transported to see both Sherlock Holmes: The Exhibition and The Worst-Case Scenario: An Ultimate Survival Guide at the Science Museum in Oklahoma Citys Adventure District. These two exhibits are great fun to walk through. Youll be transported to 221B Baker Street where the fictional Sherlock Holmes lived and test your crime-solving skills and learn a bit about real-life forensic science in the first one. In the second, youll learn all about how to survive challenging situations with some hands-on practice. Theyre both included in a small add-on fee to regular admission. For information, go to or call 405-602-3760.

See the compelling new exhibit exploring the history of tattooing in North America at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Tattoos: Religion, Reality and Regret explores the cultural traditions of tattooing in Native American cultures and traditions that are practiced globally today, a news release noted. The exhibit includes items and images from the museums permanent collection and the Dickinson Research Center. Theres even an area set up for live demonstrations from time to time.

Tattooing is a form of expression often undervalued in historical research, said Dr. Eric Singleton, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Curator of Ethnology, in the release. For information, go to

As I noted Wednesday, head to the Paseo Arts Festival between NW 30th and Dewey and NW 28th and Walker from Saturday through Monday for arts, food, music and more. Or enjoy a trip to The Paseo Friday night for its First Friday Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. For information, go to

If you like live music, check out two venues in Oklahoma City. One, Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd, is hosting a Steely Dan + Grateful Dead Tribute Night featuring Steely Dead at 8 p.m. Friday. For information, go to The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave, is hosing Mozzy on Saturday night and Dirty Heads and Sublime With Rome: High and Mighty Tour on Sunday night. See for tickets. Or enjoy three days of live rock music at Rocklahoma in Pryor. See the lineup at

In Tulsa, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Second, is presenting The Guys in its Liddy Doenges Theatre and Escape to Margaritaville in the Chapman Music Hall through Sunday. The Guys is a play by Anne Nelson that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a story about a fire captain. Escape is a musical comedy featuring Jimmy Buffet songs. For information, go to or call 918-596-7111.

Elk City is hosting the PRCA Rodeo of Champions at the Beutler Brothers Arena through Sunday. For information, go to

Next Wednesday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and first lady Sarah Stitt will host the annual Boots, Bandanas and Barbecue event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Oklahoma Governors Mansion from 6 to 8 p.m., 820 NE 23rd. Proceeds will benefit Friends of the Mansion, which works to preserve the mansion. Tickets are $75 per person and available at

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Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention is a big draw, but is ink still taboo in the mainstream? – Bucks County Courier Times09.04.21

Video: 'Return To View' podcast preview - Lisa Todd forensic sculpture

Det. Chris McMullin talks about the moment he first was aware of the Lisa Todd/Publicker Jane Doe case as he saw her forensics sculpture.

Cole Johnson, Bucks County Courier Times

Tattoo collectors, fans and artists alike have a mantra in common: Love the skin you're in.

And that old adage will come into vibrant focus as the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention comes to the region this month, bringing with it thousands of tattoo aficionados and dozens of tattooists over the three-day convention that starts Sept. 10.

"I will be there and I plan on having a booth there as well," said Joe Thomas, owner and lead artist of Philly Joe Tattoo Studio in Bensalem. "It will be extraordinary to see all the people that have tattoos and want tattoos."

As trendy and fashionable as tattoos have become, the ink-on-skin subculture still has many obstacles in the business world and academia to overcome before it can enjoy mainstream acceptance.

Ivona Hideg, associate professor andAnn Brown chair in organization studies at the internationally top-rated Schulich School of Business at York University, said overall, tattoos are embraced more in some fields and less in others.

"Mainstream society has indeed become more accepting of tattoos and thats especially true in some industries such as more creative industries and arts where tattoos may be seen as a sign of ones creative identity," Hideg said. "Moreover, tattoos are more common and more accepted in blue collar versuswhite-collar jobs.

"As such, tattoos are still not widely accepted in particular in white collar professional jobs and occupations," Hideg added."White collar professions are also more conservative and in more conservative spaces tattoos are less accepted."

The sporting of tattoos was and is generally regarded as habits of counterculture expressionism, and perhaps as such,the exhibiting of tattoos has never gained much of a foothold in the business world.

Now tattooing professionally for six years and operating his shop at 2339 Bristol Road for the previous three, Thomas said he has tattooed individuals from a wide range of professions, including nurses, teachers and law enforcement officers.

For him, the professional and mainstream worlds are slowly embracing employees with tattoos.

"It is now a new era and a new world that continues to get more advanced and grow. So it isn't thathaving tattoos are 'OK,' it's just became more acceptable," Thomas said. "If I were [before] a judge and walked in with a tattoo on my neck, I know what it does and looks likefor me, especially to older.

"But there's not many [instances] like that anymore; now, people are more open to tattoos because of style, character and one's own free will."

Fellow tattooistDon "Don Juan" Salleroli, the owner and lead artists of Floating World Tattoos in Philadelphia, agrees, but adds that tattoos that display hate and criminal activity are and should be considered taboo.

"Mainstream society has certainly become more accepting of tattoos in general, but there are some narrow-minded people that look down upon them, not realizing that a tattoo is not going to change your work performance in any way shape or form," Salleroli said. "Obviously if you're wearing something lewd or some kind of blatant anti-Semitic tattoo, that would be a case where I as an employer wouldnt hire you, but as for artistic tattooing, I believe you should be able to have it with no judgement by anyone."

Still, the lingering stereotype applied to tattooed individuals is hard to shake, especially when tattoo collectors are now embracing bolder designs and getting inked on parts of the body such as the face, forehead and on a bald head that were once off-limits to all except those in thehardest of hardcore tattoo circles.

Salleroli, a veteran artist who has dozens of tattoos and has inked thousands of clients from his shop on South Street, said he still has to deal with the shock, awkward glances and second looks he receives.

"I think you will always have people that associate tattooing with criminals or sailors or a million other stereotypes.Ive had people clutch their purses when I get on an elevator or walk by them on the street, and Ive been followed in stores by security guards," Salleroli said. "But I just laugh to myself and think how narrow-minded people can be.

"I chose to tattoo myself so Im willing to deal with narrow minds, and quite frankly I just try and be a normal courteous person and not really let it bother me."

Helping the cause, Salleroli said, is that pop culture has embraced tattooing by literally "bringing it into your living room" with several television shows and reality TVprograms that focus on the word of tattoos.

"Tattooing used to be mystical and almost magical and dangerous to me growing up;when I got into tattooing it certainly wasnt mainstream at all," Salleroli said. "And Ive watched it change over the years, and its definitely not mystical or dangerousanymore, but I still find it to be magical and amazing."

Hideg and other leaders ofbusiness programs say more students with tattoos are enrolling in business and law programs, but those fields aren'tnecessarily pivoting towardtattoo acceptanceat the rate of society on the whole.

Andrew R. Timming, professor of human resource management and interim director of theDepartment of Management, International Business, and Entrepreneurship at RMIT University, said he is noticing a loosening of societal norms regarding tattoos.

"Universities are seeing more and more students with visible tattoos, although these tend to be concealablewith a long sleeved shirt," Timming said."It is rare, but not unheard of, to see students with tattoos on the face and hands. Generally speaking, there is an increase of visible ink at both universities and within the workforce."

Angela Hall, associate professor of theSchool of Human Resources andLabor Relations at Michigan State University'sCollege of Social Science, saidin some of theprofessions in which tattoos were historically taboo, like law enforcement, "we are increasingly seeing more" workers with visible tattoos.

"I believe that the reason is two-fold. First, we are seeing more millennials in the workforce. In fact, millennials are now the largest age demographic in the U.S. workforce," Hall said."This generation does not share the same attitudes toward tattoos as those from previous generations. Second, there has been more of an overall societal acceptance of tattoos."

Hall though, noted thestigma of tattoos is hard to break, especially when they are judged by older eyes or looked at through the scopeof illegal behavior.

"Having the wrong type and/or excessive tattoos can be associated with the stereotypes of being from a lower class and/or being related to criminal activity," she said.

Timming mostly agreed, but added the caveat that the world of tattooing itself has counterculture roots.

"Even front-line retail employees can display tattoos these days. However, there will always be certain genres of tattoos, including those with explicit sexual or offensive imagery, that will always be frowned upon," Timming said. "Tattoos still signal a risk-taking and anti-social personality, but these perceptions are changing rapidly. Gone are the days when tattoos were only displayed by delinquents and deviants."

Jonathan Warnerworks as a paralegal in Philadelphia and has "more than a dozen" tattoos. Hesaid the general workforce doesn't mind tattoos, but that in his arena of law and jurisprudence, tattoos can telegraph a sense of negatively and lawlessness.

"My tattoos never get in the way, but I often cover them up with a long-sleeved button-down. And that works for me, since in my job I never wear short sleeves. I also have a tattoo on my neck that I cover. I know what I bring and my worth, but I don't want a client or my bosses to get the wrong idea or impression," Warner said. "I guess there has to be a line; one can express themself, but I'd give pause before getting a tattoo on my face or on a shaved part of my head.

"But I will never knock anyone who does decide to get that [type of work] done; just that if you are getting those types of tattoos, you have to accept what comes with it, including the reaction from so-called mainstream society."

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention, now in its 23rd year, runs Sept. 10-12 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where it is expected toe bring in thousands of patrons, dozens of tattoo artists doing on-the-spot tattoos (reservation required formost) and a handful of special appearances by renown tattoo aficionados.

Renown tattoo artists joining host Villian Arts Tattoo for the three-day affair will be"Skizzy" Scott Barker, Vegas Dixon/Ladies of Ink Tour, Aaron Diaz,Aaron Reyes Antonio, Ali Kat, Alicia Thomas and many others.

Friday's session will feature performances and appearances byMagic Brian,James Maltman, theSnow Cone Burlesque, Captain and Maybelle Sideshow and will close with a performance by burlesque performer and instructorAngelica Lavalier.

Saturday's lineup includesMagic Brian,James Maltman,Captain and Maybelle Sideshow,Magic Brian,James Maltman, Snow Cone Burlesque,Captain and Maybelle and closes once again with Angelica Lavalier.

Magic Brian,James Maltman andCaptain and Maybelle will close out the convention on Sunday. There will also be various tattoo prizes award for tattoo of the day.

"I am looking forward to attending this convention in particular, because I started attending just as a fan of tattoos and culture," said Jacob Stallion, and independent tattoo artist from Bensalem. "There is always something for everyone. Not everyone likes burlesque, but everyone there likes tattoos, and it will be good to see other artists and talk with them and exchange ideas."

Stallion said newbies are welcomed at the convention, but should be prepared for some possible sensory overload.

"It can be intimidating for a first-timer to absorb the sights and sounds; it is a little 'in your face,'" Stallion said. "But everyone there will be on the vibe. It will be a glorious time for our world."

Pandemic precautions will be in place, including astate-of-the-art automated escalator handrail sanitation system and a touch-free bathroom system and an upgraded HVAC system that goes well beyond industry standards at the convention center, said Kelvin Moore, the regional general manager for ASM Global,the agency contracted for the general management of the convention center.

"We worked closely with the Philadelphia Convention and VisitorsBureauin developing a plan to think ahead as best as anyone could for what the building would need to have to welcome people back and make them feel safe," Moore said, noting that the convention center has already hosted several high-profile events, including the ballot count for the most recent presidential election and various Grand Jury seatings. "During the shutdown, we were able to demonstrate our capabilities to the local health department, and the Department of Health reviewed our plan andtrusted our plan...we have hospital-grade health and safety protocols, and we feel very confident in our infrastructure and capital improvements."

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Tatted in Testimonies: Growing number of Christians using ink to proclaim their faith – The Messenger09.04.21

Roger Chilton, the 46-year-old co-pastor of Matthews Table, grew up during a time when tattoos were associated with rebellion and antisocial behavior.

I strategically put it on the upper part of my arm so if I wore a T-shirt you wouldnt see it, said Chilton, recalling his first tattoo a cartoon character at age 18.

In 2006, Chilton became a Christian, which led him to faith-based tattoos that he considers visual expressions that represent my passion for Jesus that I choose to put on my body.

Chilton, whose most recognizable tattoo is of the Last Supper on his right forearm, said 80% of his tattoos have come since becoming a Christian.

Over the years, I decided that tattoos could tell my story and provoke conversations in the community and with people who werent Christians simply by asking me about my tattoo, Chilton said. And that would create conversations where I could testify to them.

Although the art of tattooing has been around since Biblical times, its the Old Testaments Book of Leviticus 19:28 that reads, Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord, that is often cited to condemn those who have inked any parts of their body.

Jordan Wilson, a 33-year-old youth pastor for His Church, estimates that 25% of his body is covered with tattoos.

Wilson said Leviticus 19:28 is often quoted out of context, especially when the verse before it forbids the trimming of sideburns and beards.

Back then, people were tattooing themselves for their pagan gods and that scripture was talking to a certain people, certain priests to not tattoo for pagan gods, Wilson said.

Chilton and Wilson, along with fellow Christians Cody Cantrell and Tyler Robbins, are a growing number of believers who use ink to proclaim their faith while also using it to share the Gospel to anyone who questions a tattoos meaning or the artwork itself.

Wilson said most of his tattoos are faith-based or tell a story about his spiritual walk.

For example, Wilson has five tally marks on one of his forearms, which represent every year since becoming sober and a follower of Christ.

A lot of times people will say, I like your tattoos, and that gives me an opportunity to say, Thanks. Its about Jesus. And that will spark a conversation, Wilson said. And other people will ask, What does that mean? and that will give me a wide-open opportunity to witness to that person.

Cantrell, 34, was raised by an old-fashioned mother who steered him away from thinking tattoos were OK.

I remember saying that I would never have a tattoo and if I did it would never be visible, Cantrell said. And now, I have a whole sleeve.

And every tattoo contained within the sleeve on his right arm, Cantrell said, is symbolic of his spirituality and claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Among Cantrells tattoos are Jesus pierced hands holding a dove and the words Thy will be done that represent his spiritual journey.

Cantrell said he has one tattoo that simply says redeemed, which frequently draws attention and questions.

Theyll say, What does that mean to you? and Ill say, I was dead; maybe not physically dead, but I was dead on the inside, and when God redeemed me I wanted something to represent that. I dare say it holds me accountable in a way. I have these tattoos, and its something to uphold.

Robbins, 32, came from a conservative Baptist family who viewed tattooing as out of character for a Christian.

Its always your body is a temple and a tattoo might be a slight against God, Robbins said.

Robbins said it took coming out of addiction and becoming a true Christian that changed his view about believers and tattoos.

For example, Robbins has the words empty tomb written in Hebrew on one of his biceps.

Its an expression of love I have toward Christ, Robbins said. Its a way I can glorify God.

As tattoos have become more sociably acceptable, there is the expense that varies and that can run into hundreds of dollars depending on size and how elaborate the design is.

As a church pastor, Chilton said he understands why someone might question spending money on a tattoo.

Men and women 20 years older than me would probably talk more about stewardship steward your finances or your attention toward things that would be better used. I get that. But those same people have WaveRunners and summer homes. So how you spend your money is the only thing that gets questioned has been my experience.

And despite tattoos becoming more of the norm even within the church, Chilton said there will always be those who will judge a person by his or her appearance alone.

Unfortunately, people still do view and judge someone with tattoos, but some of the greatest people Ive ever met and know are covered head to toe in tattoos, Chilton said. Hopefully, tattoos being more acceptable is a sign of the times that we as a society are realizing its not whats on the outside but whats in the inside that really matters.

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El Paso artist Pablo Hernandez to share work inspired by Indigenous past at Casa Ortiz – El Paso Times09.04.21

El Paso artist Pablo Hernandez to share work inspired by Indigenous past at Casa Ortiz

Painter and tattoo artist Pablo Hernandez will be one of the artist featured at Casa Ortiz upcoming group show "An Overwhelming Chemistry."

Gaby Velasquez, El Paso Times

After being a tattoo artist for about 10years, native El Pasoan Pablo Hernandez is scaling back on the ink art to dedicate more time to painting.

Hernandez, who has been drawing and painting since he was in elementary school, will be the featured artist for theFirst Friday celebration from 5 to 11p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, atCasa Ortiz, 10167 Socorro Road in Socorro.

"I've been tattooing since I was 20 or 21 and have been dedicating myself to tattooing and oil painting. But I recently left my job in Santa Fe because I wanted to pursue oil painting full time and I'm starting to get into murals," he said.

Hernandez, 30, who stills works on tattoos at Red Skull Tattoos in El Paso, said tattooing was becoming too much of a 9-to-5 job.

"Santa Fe is a big art community and it felt good to be able to make a living at painting. But my foot in the door was going to this tattoo shop. I'm grateful for it because it was good income and a lot of fun, but I felt like I completely put what I went over there for in the back seat and it didn't feel good," he said.

"I guess I realized that marking people permanently on skin has to be meaningful and I haveto be completely in it if I wantto make it a good experience for them they are going to remember me and the experience every time they see their tattoo," he added.

Hernandez said he is going to be more selective in tattoo jobs so that he can devote more time to painting acrylics.

The work that he is featuring Friday will showcase his interest inMesoamerican history and Indigenous people.

"I really liked the COVIDquarantine because I was indoors all day painting," he said. "Usually, I stay up all night, trying to finish a painting."

Some of his pieces reflect the Virgen de Guadalupe and her origins, as well as various Indigenous gods.

"Apparently, the way she was created was almost like theSpanish trying to absorb the religion of the Mexica, the Aztecs. They pretty much told them you have to worship a Catholicgod, but you can make your own version so the Virgen de Guadalupe is what came from that," he said. "She's supposed to be known as the first mestiza."

In the painting, the dark virgin is blocking the sunand is painted in way that makes the rays behind her shinier thanthe rest of the work. The work also includes swords piercing through a jaguar to symbolize the warriors andSpaniards.

Hernandez believes that part of his interest in his heritage is a bit like that scene from "Selena" in which Edward James Olmos' character, who plays Selena's dad,tells his children they are not Anglo enough for the Anglos and have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans.

"Painting this is like discovering myself and my roots. I think we all share that common story where we are not really from here or Mexico ...," he said. "We're more like a bridge, being from El Paso. This is a place where many Mexican immigrants have come and blossomed and prospered. And then I feel like a lot of us are forgetting where we come from, so we have to be that bridge between the two."

Hernandez said heplans to continue living in Santa Fe and cometo El Paso periodically for tattoo work.

More: Casa Ortiz art gallery in Socorro celebrates artists at First Friday event

More: Here's your updated guide of things to do in the El Paso area in 2021-22

Mara Corts Gonzlez may be reached at 915-546-6150;; @EPTMaria on Twitter.

What: First Friday art celebration featuring artist Pablo Hernandez

Where: Casa Ortiz,10167 Socorro Road in Socorro

When: 5 to 11p.m. Friday, Sept. 3. Live acoustic set by Adrian Bautista will start at 7:30 p.m.; followed by Hayley Lynch and Manny Lozano jazz duet and The Other Half

Details: Other artists will include Alejandro Moreno, Angel Cabrales, Christin Apodaca, Miguel Bonilla, and Ricardo Chavarria.

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Can the military boost recruitment by allowing more tattoos? – Military Times09.04.21

Congress wants to know if tattoos and piercings are keeping too many potential recruits out of the military.

On Wednesday, during debate over the annual defense authorization bill draft, members of the House Armed Services Committee unanimously approved language which would mandate a new report on whether tattoos and body modification for potential enlistees have become a deterrent to meeting recruitment goals.

The research, which would be due in March 2022, would include the exact number of potential enlistees per year that are denied access to the military due to tattoos and body modifications and comparison of military rules to private-sector policies.

The measure passed without opposition. It still has to survive negotiations with the Senate later this year before it becomes law.

But the move recognizes changing cultural norms and emerging demographics of the country, and the challenges that presents to recruiters, according to committee members.

A 2015 Harris poll found that about half of millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) have at least one tattoo, and at least a third of all Americans have gotten one.

Rules regarding tattoos or piercings vary from service to service, but most prohibit offensive imagery or tattoos on the face, upper neck and hands.

Military officials have noted in recent years that recruiting has gotten more progressively difficult. Defense Department studies have shown that up to 70 percent of Americans between 17 and 24 are ineligible for military service due to obesity, mental-health issues, past drug use, or insufficient education.

Pentagon officials have also pushed to expand their pool of recruits from non-traditional sources as they try to attract individuals with high-tech skills for cyber operations.

The committees language also asks the military to consider the benefits of offering tattoo removal as an incentive to meet recruitment goals.

The provision is one of hundreds of policy issues including a 2.7 percent pay raise for troops in the annual authorization bill draft, which is expected to come up for a full House chamber vote in the next few weeks.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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Watch a Mom React to Seeing Her Son Without His Face Tattoos – menshealth.com09.04.21

Drew got his first tattoo when he was 18, and never looked back. Now 29, he has more than 100 tattoos which cover his entire face and body. "The reaction I get when I'm out in public is mostly stares, but I don't care," he says. "The number one assumption people make is that I've been in jail for a long time... I've been rejected from jobs because of my tattoos. But now I model because of my tattoos, and I'm proud of them."

In a new episode of Transformed, Drew agrees to have all of his ink covered up, to see what he would look like without his tattoos. It's also a surprise for his aunt Jackie, who raised him and who he sees as a mother. "When I first started getting the tattoos, she didn't like it at all," he says. "She thinks I'm messing up my face."

Makeup artist Jill uses an airbrush to apply an even base layer of makeup to Drew's entire body, starting with his face. Then she does a series of touch-ups to ensure that the makeup matches his natural skin tone. All in all, the process takes around four hours.

"It's so not me, you know?" Drew says, once he sees the final result. "It takes away my pizzazz, my juice, my sauce." With the tattoos completely covered, there's only one thing left for Drew to do; show his aunt Jackie his new, fresh-faced look.

"This looks good," she says. "I prefer you looking like this... You know I never liked your tattoos." She adds that she wishes he could stay like this, as he reminds her of the boy she used to know. Drew admits to not being shocked by her reaction, but after washing off all the makeup, states that he definitely prefers the way he usually looks.

"I'm a confident person by nature," he says, "but the tattoos just give me a little more power."

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Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company Opens up in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace | Shop-Eat-Surf – Shop-Eat-Surf.com09.04.21

Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company has officially opened up shop in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The move comes as their ten-year lease expired at the Paradise property fka Hard Rock Hotel.

In addition to the convenient location, just off the strip, the shop boasts a fresh new look and feel. The 1080 sqft. space offers a consultation bar, 4 tattoo stations, including one that mimics Carey Harts personal workshop, and a retail area near the storefront where you will find the latest Hart & Huntington apparel and accessories along with select brands.

Hart & Huntington opened the worlds first casino tattoo parlor in Las Vegas in 2004 which was the site of A&Es top rated tattoo reality series Inked which chronicled the shops talented tattoo artists as they went through the ups and downs of running a highly successful business on the strip.

Founded by motocross legend Carey Hart, Hart & Huntington Tattoo is not your typical tattoo shop. Created out of a desire to provide a tattooing experience that lives up to consumers expectations, Hart & Huntington Tattoo offers a clean, safe environment that operates with the highest health and safety standards and is staffed with the best in the business. With five high profile locations under its belt and Harts name on the door, the concept has become a top destination attraction in Las Vegas, NV. Orlando, FL. Nashville, TN. Niagara Falls, Canada and Noosa Heads, Queensland Australia.

The Orlando-based company plans to open more corporate locations and has also developed a licensed opportunity for qualified partners to share in the growth of this compelling tattoo/retail experience.

We have refined our business system to make sure we are expanding with a retail model that is adjustable for specific markets and conditions, said Hart & Huntington co-owner Chris Turck.

Some locations may require more tattoo stations where others need a larger merchandise footprint. Finding the right balance between the two revenue channels is key for us. Clearly there is still a great demand for tattoos. Vacation spots like Vegas, Orlando, Nashville, Noosa and Niagara are host to millions of people looking to get some body art as a sort of lifelong souvenir of their visit. Im excited to share our incredible brand through the opening of more shops.

About Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company

Hart & Huntington Tattoo is the tattoo/retail concept founded by motocross legend and entrepreneur Carey Hart. After opening the first ever tattoo shop in a casino, the company expanded into making quality clothing for men and women, influenced by action sports, music and tattoos. The INK ROCK MOTO lifestyle of innovative individuals who set their own rules. For more information, please visit

About Carey Hart

Carey Harts motorcycle legacy is indelible and deserved. From his achievements in Freestyle Motocross to his more recent philanthropic work, he has etched his name into motorcycle culture. In 2000, Hart revolutionized the sport of Freestyle MX, when he became the first person to land a backflip on a 250cc motorcycle in competition. Not only did this completely change the landscape of the sport, but it was also the catalyst to Harts legacy and career.

In 2004, he segued his passion for motorcycles into his passion for tattoos, opening Hart and Huntington Tattoo Co. Shortly after, Carey and the Las Vegas shop became the central character/theme of the A&E reality show Inked. 2008 saw Hart return to his two-wheeled roots when he launched Hart and Huntington Racing as a team owner/manager. In 2013, he joined forces with Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael and formed RCH Racing. RCH competed in both the AMA Supercross and outdoor AMA Motocross championships, winning the latter in 2016. Most recently, Carey has been drawn back into motorcycle culture by the allure and style of the V-twin platform. Hes found success and satisfaction with the Hot Bike Tour, designing and building custom V-twins. This newfound fascination also initiated Good Ride. Good Ride is a 501(c)(3) organization that puts on a series of charity rallies, that raises funds for various charities close to Careys heart.

With monumental championships, achievements, and accolades under his belt, Carey sites his family life as one of his greatest accomplishments. Along with his wife Aleciaan influential performer in her own rightand their two children Willow and Jameson, the Harts have committed their lives to pursuing passion and philanthropy whenever and wherever they can.

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I miss behaving badly in sin city Sydney. I want to get a face tattoo at 2am – The Guardian09.04.21

As we drag our sorry, miserable existences through week 11 of lockdown, I am plagued by intense cravings to be really, really bad in Sydney.

Not bad as in attend a superspreader anti-lockdown protest. Specifically, I want to jump in a time travel machine to 2002 and dance till dawn at a Mad Racket party at Marrickville Bowling Club. (Oh merciful Lord, send me back to one such glorious night. At the end of it I swear on my grandmothers grave to hop back into the time machine and dutifully serve out the rest of this lockdown sentence.)

I want to be bad in ways Ive never wanted to be bad before, because Sydney is usually such a delicious place to be really bad. I want to go on a three-day beer bender with a pack of rugby league players in Cronulla.

I want to conduct an open-secret affair with a disgraced politician in the overpriced restaurants of Paddington. I want to lose all my money at the track. I want to get a face tattoo in Kings Cross at 2am.

For the record, I support lockdown restrictions. I am simultaneously committed to doing my bit to save lives while being one sourdough starter away from completely losing my mind.

Im so tired of being a good girl toiling away at my stay-at-home lockdown hobbies. Screw your air fryer. Screw your cryptocurrency bets.

If I pass another Friday night doomswiping Tinder as I swig on alcohol-free tinnies, I will take a hammer to my phone.

I feel like a kid stuck in a really long and boring car ride griping in the back seat: Are we there yetttttttt? But in this scenario, Im also Mum in the drivers seat, having to devise elaborate ways to amuse myself lest I go batshit crazy.

Its come to this: I want something anything to happen. To me, not by me. Im thirsting for the organised chaos unique to big cities and the pre-lockdown Sydney we knew and loved. The city that could always be relied upon for a weekend of unscripted drama or unmapped adventure.

I want to go out for a quiet bevvy or two and wind up seven hours later at Establishment bar surrounded by coked-up investment bankers. I want to do burnouts in Liverpool. I want to seal the deal with Chinese developers at Golden Century a three-decade old Sydney institution that, like my sanity, may not survive this lockdown.

When the Italian city of Siena locked down, residents took to their balconies to sing in solidarity. In other locked-down Australian cities they circulate wholesome inspo memes and scrawl on the pavement in chalk: #WereInThisTogether #WeCanDoThis.

But Sydney? We split the city in two by slapping down harsher restrictions on the citys less well-off western half and then collectively added Crime Stoppers to our phone favourites.

I have a love-hate relationship with Sydney. When I lived in Beijing and London, Sydney seemed like the arse end of nowhere. When I lived in Darwin, I saw how repulsively overpriced and congested Sydney was.

Over the years Ive spent a lot of time in different parts of Australia and seen my hometown through their eyes: a crass, indulgent, corrupt sin city.

And you know what? Theyre right. Our city is bad. In fact, its the baddest bitch in town. Its all the districts of Panem. Its Botox meets baklava. And I wouldnt have it any other way.

To all my bad Sydney sinners: I miss you. Lets have a quiet bevvy or two on the other side.

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Gregory Sotos tattoos reveal another side of the Tigers bullpen virtuoso – The Athletic09.04.21

It is hard to begin a Gregory Soto story any other way. Think Soto, and you think of the flame-throwing fastball, the emphatic strikeouts and the frightening wild pitches, the dreadlocks and the fist pumps and the general theater of watching one of baseballs best emerging relief pitchers.

Soto, who is 26, commands an imposing and entertaining presence, no doubt. He arrived at this years All-Star game pitching with a shining silver glove with his stats sewn into the back of the leather. He had colorful cleats, studs in his ears, a thick chain around his neck, a flair and fashion fitting of a dynamic bullpen presence.

But as Soto blossoms into the Tigers go-to leverage relief pitcher no, A.J. Hinch still isnt using the word closer we are also slowly learning more about the man behind the image.

And so if you want to know Soto, what he carries in his heart, what drives him down to his soul, look no further than the ink that covers his right arm and much of his body. His tattoos are another part of the image. They also serve as a roadmap into the deeper parts of what makes Soto tick.

Tuesday in the Detroit Tigers dugout, Soto held up his forearm, pulled up his sleeve and showed off the markings that help make him who he is.

Sotos first tattoo was his 4-year-old sons name, Yadiel. He has the name tattooed in large, striking letters across the outer part of his right forearm. He says it is the one that means the most to him. Family and faith are common themes.

On Sotos right shoulder, he has a tattoo of his mothers face, complete with her name, Yomari.

Near his right biceps, Soto has Psalm 23 tattooed in Spanish.

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