January 2018 16 ART & ENTERTAINMENT The Tattoo Project Cedarville students share the stories behind their tattoos by Naomi Harward F rom my experience, most people have some reason or other for getting tattoos. Sometimes it’s purely artistic expression. Sometimes it’s simply to rebel. But, more often than not, the designs people get permanently “branded” onto their bodies have something to do with some aspect of their life. They tell a story. As a project for one of my classes this semester, I spent about month chatting with some students here on campus. All of them come from different walks of life. Each of them had their own reason for getting tattoos and their own views on getting tattoos. My mind was blown by some of the stories I had heard, and I was intrigued by all of the various backgrounds these people came from. The more people I met, the more excited about the project I became. And the more excited I was to share those stories with you. So here is “The Tattoo Project:” a compilation of stories shared from various students whose lives share (at least) one common theme. Tattoos. Gabe: “Reve[a]l” The ‘a’ is in brackets, because, if you take out the ‘a,’ the rest of the letters spell “revel.” To revel is to dwell on something. Surround yourself with it. That’s the goal of our lives — to dwell on the things of our faith. Whether it be that personal time with the Lord in the morning, or just the Gospel and it’s faithfulness. And then to reveal that to other people. So, to revel — and then — to reveal. Every summer at camp, I’ve been in the mountains in some capacity. At the end of every summer I would commemorate it by climbing a mountain. As you look out over an expanse like that, it’s kind of like looking out over all of the things that happened that summer. I got to look back and see that God was faithful, and that he did a lot of things. And that’s something I was grateful for. Why a tattoo? This is a very artistic way to make a memory of all these things that I don’t want to forget. I didn’t want to hang something up in my room. I’m a very sentimental person, but this is something that’s kind of low-maintenance, and it’s always a part of me like the experience was. Should tattoos always have a meaning? I’ve encountered many different people, through being a volunteer chaplain in the jails, and working with addicted populations now in my internship. And at that camp this summer — it’s a missions camp, so we interact with a lot of very broken people. And I just see all the tattoos. Most of them have had very little thought going into them. If I’m going to get a tattoo, it has to be purposeful, so I can look back on it and remember something. For other people, if they’re willing to put that on their bodies for a long time, I think that’s up to them. But my personal philosophy is that it has to have a meaning. Gabe Cyrus is a senior social work major at Cedarville University. Keegan: “Mt. Fuji” It’s something I’ve been wanting for almost seven years. I came up with the design idea when I was in Okinawa, Japan, after I had climbed Mt. Fuji. It was one of the biggest events of my life. There is so much beauty in Japan, in their art. But also just the beauty of Mt. Fuji itself. You look at nature, and how God has worked everything, and Mt. Fuji is one of those things that you look at it and you’re like, “Wow … ” I requested to be stationed in Japan [with the Marines]. I had wanted to go to Japan since I was a teenager, when my friend introduced me to anime. I loved the element of culture that I saw. I wanted to experience it for myself; I thought it would be fun, and it was. I would go back in a heartbeat. I would live there. Should all tattoos have a deep meaning? I don’t know that I would go so far as to say you have to have some very deep meaning behind a tattoo that you get. Though, I think when you have something that you’re going to put on your body permanently, then it should be more than just “I think this looks nice.” Definitely having a deeper meaning behind getting it will allow you to be more firm in your decision that this is what you want. But as far as ethically or morally, I don’t think it’s wrong to get a tattoo for artistic reasons. I think every tattoo has some kind of artistic value to it. My tattoo has a lot of deep meaning to me, but it’s also artistic. Keegan D’Alfonso is a junior journalism major at Cedarville University. He also served five years in the Marines before attending CU.