Tattoos: A Form of Art or a Huge Dilemma?


It is unquestionable that one of the most popular forms of body art is in the form of tattoos. The percentage of the population that have tattoos has risen dramatically. In fact, according to a Statista article 25 percent of the United States population now says that they have more than one displayed somewhere on their body. However, stereotypes regarding tattoos are still prevalent in today’s culture. So, what exactly does the general population think about this form of body modification?

A first-hand point of view

Many have found a personal passion through the art of self-expression that tattoos offer.

Jenny Kesler, president of Dead Rockstar is one such individual and has found a career through the art of tattoos.

Dead Rockstar is one of numerous tattoo and body modification parlors within Fargo, North Dakota. The shop promises “expert body piercing, fine body jewelry, and professional tattooing.”

Kesler has dedicated her life to the art of body art for the past 16 years and has nothing but positive things to say regarding the experience.

“I can assure you that people truly love what we do. While tattoos obviously aren’t for everyone, it is very rare that we experience customers who regret their decision to get a tattoo,” Kesler adds.

Dead Rockstar is a professional parlor that must conform to safety protocols in order to remain in business, including licensed artists and a sterile environment.

What do students think?

North Dakota State is one university that prides itself in serving a diverse range of students, each with their own form of self- expression.

However, when it comes to tattoos, reactions often vary depending on the student’s major and career goals.

For example, Lindsey Pouliot, an undergraduate student majoring in English and pre-law says that her future career did not stop her from receiving a few tattoos. However, it did influence her decision to be tatted up on parts of her body that can easily be covered, such as her ribcage.

“I’ve always been told to have them hidden. I plan on running for office someday, so unless there is a huge societal change I will continue to hide my ink,” Pouliot declares.

JuliAnn Lukach, an art major, has received differing advice. For the field of art, she says that it all depends on which route a student is planning to take with their career.

“There’s no question that art is one of the most leftist fields there is, however, I am personally planning on becoming a museum curator. I have a tattoo, but it is easily hidden because they can still be seen as unprofessional,” adds Lukach.

All tatted up

Tattoos once held a very negative connotation, one that many related back to criminals and gang members rather than everyday members of society. However, in nearly every profession there will be people with body art in modern society.

Gretchen Dobervich, Representative of District 11, is one such individual who has nothing but positive things to say regarding tattoos. “I was around back when tattoos were only supposedly for gang members, and I am around when they are becoming more mainstream. Personally, I love the fact that more people are recognizing them as a form of self-expression.”

Dobervich adds that she personally has three tattoos, and that she has always seen her ink as a form of permanent symbolism of what is most important to her. In regards to the workplace, she admits that she typically has the tattoos covered, but it has always been a conversational piece among both local Democrats and Republicans alike.

Another tattoo enthusiast is Cassie Earles, a Valley City local. Earles currently has 21 tattoos and plans to continue to utilize her body as a canvas. “I love the story you can tell without saying a word. Personally, all of my tattoos have some sort of personal meaning,” she adds.

However, there are still numerous individuals who have received negative criticism in regards to sporting their tattoos in the workplace.

Alex Slade, an electrician for H&H Oilfield Construction in Williston, North Dakota says that while his workplace doesn’t care too much about tattoos, he has been warned that if he ever goes to a professional facility they would expect him to cover up any body art.

Additionally, Renae Slade of Williston adds that when she worked in a local hospital, staff were required to have any tattoos fully covered with band-aids.

What do employers really think?

While many have received positive criticism for their tattoos, this is not to say that all professional facilities approve of the art.

Candace of Express Employment Professionals says that while the temp agency is not allowed to discriminate against any client, they have noticed that some of the companies they serve have strict policies and guidelines they expect employees to follow.

“Fargo is still a conservative place in that regard. Many of our companies are more professional, such as law firms or banks, so they will hold employees to a higher standard.” Said Candace

Ron Dockter, principal of Dickinson High School shares his experience of hiring an educator for the school that may have tattoos.

“I always say there are two things you can’t take back: words and first impressions.” He adds that while it may not always be right, tattoos can often leave a negative first impression, especially if they are on a part of the body that cannot be covered.

Gail Dockter, a Social Worker in Dickinson, North Dakota says that she may be a bit biased when it comes to tattoos simply because she actually has one. However, she has not noticed that tattoos have ever affected a client’s possibility of finding work, but agrees that first impressions are impactful.

While tattoos have become a popular form of self-expression, it is clear that they impact individuals in different ways and can leave a lasting first impression that can stick with someone for their entire life.

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