Story and Photos by Eleni Bow
The body is a canvas, and art is meant to tell a story. While this ink differs from that of a traditional painting, it still has the power to evoke emotion, memory and hiraeth.
Over the course of the 21st century, tattoos have become increasingly popular and more normalised and accepted in society. Workplace regulations regarding the hiding of tattoos have been relaxed, and the public’s perception of tattoos has evolved from taboo to mainstream.
Students and staff around Delta have been making the commitment with permanent body art.
Miss Alicia Fuller, who teaches art at the high school and middle school, is passionate about expressing herself and her experiences.
It was Mother’s Day, 2017. Miss Fuller had gotten a call while she was taking photos of her son, Axl, as he played with chalk. She found out her mother had been in a car accident, but thankfully she had no major injuries. However, the hospital wanted to keep her overnight for observation. This caused her mother to be unable to celebrate the holiday and see her family.
“It was really one of those Mother’s Days that you remember,” she says. “I was really lucky to still have her, and it makes you appreciate being a mother even more.”
Nearly a year later, Fuller got a tattoo of the photo she had taken of Axl before she received the call to immortalize the moment.
Aside from personal memories, Fuller also has pieces of cultural importance. Along with the tattoo of Axl on her arm, Fuller has some of the works by her favorite artist, Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.
Munch’s most well known work is The Scream, which has resided on the inside of Fuller’s left arm since 2014. Fuller says she appreciates the piece because of its use of color.
“When you look up the stories behind his artwork, and where he got his ideas, you realize that there’s a lot of paranoia behind his paintings and why he created them,” she says.
The Scream isn’t the only piece by Munch that Fuller has on her, though.
Just above her tattoo of Axl resides a copy of Munch’s The Sick Child, which depicts a mother taking care of her daughter suffering from tuberculosis. Fuller had gotten this one done in 2013 to show off “a mother’s undying love.”
For the last three years, sophomore Madalynn Bullock had the aspiration of getting a tattoo of her own. Finally, on July 18 of this year, she got one for her birthday.
Bullock’s middle name, Lou, is shared with her cousin and great-grandmother. She wanted a way to always represent it. The name is written in cursive on her wrist, complemented with a tiny heart.
The middle name is so special to the family that Bullock plans to give it to her daughter some day. Bullock plans to get more tattoos soon.
Family is important to senior Hailey Johnson, too. In 2015, Johnson lost her grandfather.
“My grandfather Danny was a loving, giving and admirable man who loved his grandchildren very, very much,” she says. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him.”
Johnson knew she wanted to have something to always remember him by, so for her 18th birthday last year, she decided to get a tattoo dedicated to him.
Her work features a giant cross adorned with roses. “I also had the date included that he went home to Jesus,” she says.
Johnson says she chose to have the tattoo done on her left upper arm so it would be “very near to my heart.”
Whether it be for family, remembrance or keepsake, tattoos are there to remind those of life’s moments.